What is the cigarette lighter in a car actually called?

You know how some cars have the cigarette lighter thing in them? Is that really the proper name for it? What is the cigarette lighter in a car actually called?

Melanie Mergen · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Many older cars included electric lighters to provide a simple way for drivers to light their cigars or cigarettes. These were indeed called cigar or cigarette lighters.
How it works: Traditional car cigarette lighters harness a small current of electricity to heat a small coil of nichrome wire gradually. Once the wire glowed red hot, a cigarette or cigar could be pressed against it and lit.
You won’t find cigarette lighters in most new vehicles, however.
Electrical ports in most newer vehicles have been repurposed since smoking started to decline. These DC connector outlets are used to power electrical accessories, such as:
  • Phone chargers
  • GPS systems
  • Bluetooth accessories
Nowadays, these outlets are more commonly referred to as 12-volt sockets or 12V auxiliary power outlets.
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