Shorting out the cigarette lighter


My son has a 95(?) Intrepid that was my dad’s. The first thing that he did upon receiving it was to throw out the cigarette lighter, so he could use the hole for all his miscellaneous iPod / phone / game chargers.

Then one day someone dropped a marble in the hole. The marble is just about exactly the diameter of the hole. So no more charging. We’ve tried from time to time to remove the marble to no avail. So he’s been without his charging devices.

However, recently when we took the car in to have the horm fixed, we were told that the reason the horn does work is that it’s on the same fuse as the cigarette lighter. And the cigarette lighter is shorting out because apparently the marble has enough metallic content to conduct the electricity from the bottom to the side of the cigarette lighter. So now it’s much more urgent to solve this problem.

Short of rolling the car, we’re at a loss as to how to get the marble out. It hasn’t stuck to anything sticky we’ve tried. It’s too big to get anything beside it.



get a stick of hot glue. Warm the end up with a lighter and stick it on the marble and wait a minute or two for it to harden. It should come right up. I’m assuming you already tried various kinds of tape.


Surely some kind of glue would adhere to the marble – unless it has a lot of finger oil or other dirt on it. Try using a cotton swab to clean the marble with alcohol or paint thinnner. Then put a big dab of some glue like 5-minute epoxy (maybe a 2-part mix) on the end of a pretty strong stick, and hold it against the marble. (Glues like “Crazy Glue” would be bonding only at the contact point. Epoxy glue will fill in the gap between the stick and the marble around the contact point and give a better bond. But be careful not to get glue on the inside of lighter socket.) You’ll have to hold the stick in place until the glue cures. Perhaps a piece of masking tape over the opening of the lighter socket would work. Poke a hole in the tape and slide it onto the stick before you put on the dab of glue.

By the way, unless the marble is a steely, I find it hard to belive that the marble itself is shorting out the lighter.


rripstop’s idea of hot-melt glue might work. It’s pretty easy, so if you have it on hand, try that first. (I would have guessed that hot-melt glue would not stick to glass or steely marbles so well. I’ll be happy to learn otherwise.)


Why not just remove the lighter and dump the marble out?


the hot glue is a great idea.

if that doesnt work try a vacuum cleaner, and find a smaller tube to duct tape to the end of the hose to suck the marble out.


i would think the marble got wet (soda) or something to short out the fuse.

also, since the lighter was chucked out, dimes are a really bad thing too. they fall into the lighter socket, and short out too. and they are really hard to see in the hole. they shine just like the inside of the socket, and you dont even notice they re there.


So dripping hot glue into the cigarette lighter isn’t bad? Can it leak through to other parts of the car? Can it cause ‘further’ damage. I tend to think it won’t stick to the marble. Maybe I’ll try it with a marble on a desk first, but I have a feeling it won’t work.

May be if I surround the marble with the glue…but then I would think it would be difficult to get out?

I don’t know if this will work, but I’ll see if it sticks to another marble first.



i think you missed the idea on the hot glue.

he suggested heating up the end of a hot glue stick, not getting it to the dripping point, and sticking the glue stick in the hole, touching the sticky end on the marble.

dont drip hot glue into the hole!!

just the end of a hot glue stick touches the marble.

you can buy a pack of hot glue sticks at your local hardware store for about $5.00. you DONT need the ‘hot glue gun’ though, since you are going to ue the stick itself to hold on to.


Why are you guys over complicating this issue? It is a 5 minute job to remove the lighter recepticle dump the marble and any thing else out and re-install the recepticle.


Unless it’s a ball bearing and not a regular marble, then no the marble is not shorting out the cigarette lighter socket. Marbles are glass. Glass is a real good insulator. Of course, the marble and attempts to extract it might have damaged the socket in some way to cause it to short out, but the marble itself is unlikely to be conductive. Not counting “steelys.”


I agree with Dartman, remove the lighter housing and remove the marble. I agree with others that I don’t think it is the marble that is shorting it out. While I had the lighter disconnected I would replace the blown fuse to see it stays good. I would also inspect the lighter on the inside to see if there is anything else in it. If it is dirty I would flush it out with hot running water and allow it to dry before you reinstall it.


Some of those drawers are hard to remove! I like a little super glue on a stick.