How to wire a cigar lighter

Written by raul avenir
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How to wire a cigar lighter
A 12-volt lighter can light a cigar as well as a cigarette. (auto lighter image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com)

A 12-volt lighter inside your vehicle is a device commonly used to light cigarettes as well as cigars. A 12-volt lighter typically has its own built-in wiring, but there are times when you might need to install new wiring for an additional lighter receptacle or to replace the lighter's defective wiring. Wiring a lighter is not a complicated project, but it must be done correctly to avoid short circuits inside your vehicle. Knowing how to complete the task can save you some cash.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Diagonal pliers
  • 12-volt auto wire (gauge 16) coloured red and black
  • Wire straps
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire connectors
  • In-line fuse (12-volts, 10 amperes)
  • Electrical tape

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off the vehicle's engine. Open the bonnet and disconnect the negative terminal of the battery with a wrench. Place the terminal clamp away from the positive terminal and do not allow the negative terminal to come into contact with the positive terminal. Locate the lighter receptacle behind the dashboard.

  2. 2

    Pull out or remove the lighter receptacle from the dashboard by depressing the metal clips on both sides of the lighter receptacle, or unscrewing the nut from the threaded sleeve. Unplug the connectors of any attached wires from the rear of the receptacle.

  3. 3

    Strip off 1/2 inch of insulation from the tip of a red and a black wire, using a wire stripper. Crimp a wire connector onto the tip of the red and black wires, using regular pliers. Plug the connector with attached red wire (positive) onto the terminal mounted at the centre of the receptacle at its rear. Plug the connector with attached black wire (ground) onto the terminal mounted on the receptacle's metal housing.

  4. 4

    Insert the free end of the wires through the hole on the dashboard where the lighter is installed and run the black and red wires to the vehicle battery. Route the wires through paths taken by other wires passing through a hole in the wall separating the engine from the dashboard, but make sure the hole has rubber grommets. Avoid running the wire across or near the engine or other engine parts that are subjected to high temperatures. Secure the wire by using wire straps to attach it to other cables along the route or onto fixed objects.

  5. 5

    Cut the red wire about 6 inches from its free end to be able to insert an in-line fuse holder along the wire, using diagonal pliers. Strip off 1/2 inch from each end of the red wires, and black wire. Splice one end of the fuse holder wire to the red wire coming from the lighter, and splice the other end of the fuse holder wire to the red wire leading to the battery. Wrap the spliced wires securely with electrical tape. Snap open the in-line fuse holder and install a 10 ampere fuse inside the fuse holder.

  6. 6

    Unscrew the locknut on the positive terminal clamp of the battery with a wrench. Crimp the end of the red wire, using regular pliers, to a ring terminal that will slip onto the bolts on the positive battery terminal clamp. Slip the crimped ring connector with red wire onto the bolt on the positive terminal clamp. Replace the locknut to tighten the clamp together with the ring connector.

  7. 7

    Hold the negative battery clamp that you disconnected in Step 1, and unscrew its locknut with a wrench. Crimp the end of the black wire, using regular pliers, to a ring terminal that will slip onto the bolt on the negative battery terminal clamp. Slip the crimped ring connector with black wire onto the bolt on the negative terminal clamp. Replace the negative terminal clamp onto the negative terminal post on the battery. Replace the locknut and us a wrench to tighten the clamp together with the ring connector.

  8. 8

    Replace the lighter receptacle into the dashboard. Insert and press the lighter plug into the receptacle to test the connection.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not leave any car appliance plugged into the 12-volt receptacle of your vehicle whenever you are away from your vehicle. Doing so may discharge the 12-volt battery.

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