Ever find yourself wondering about what is the cigarette lighter in a car called and if it actually has a proper name? Originally, this plug was designated to provide drivers a simpler way to light their cigarettes or cigars, thus the name.
That being said, throughout the years, its functions have expanded and it started to receive a new name: automobile auxiliary power outlet. Now, in case someone else asks you what is a car cigarette lighter called, you have the correct answer to give already. Along the way, it is no longer used exclusively for lighter. This outlet serves as DC connector that comes standard in majority of vehicles nowadays, to provide various accessory items with electrical power. That’s why it’s also commonly referred to as a 12V auxiliary power outlet or 12-volt socket.
These days, auxiliary power outlets are compatible with plenty of useful extensions, which include adapters, laptop chargers, mobile phones’ portable charger, and 12-volt inverters for various appliances. Moreover, some accessories of cigarette lighter socket have additional features like timer switch or automatic power on and off.
Now that you know the answer of what is the cigarette lighter in a car called, you should know that sometimes cigarette lighter socket is different from accessory socket, despite these two terms typically used interchangeably between one another. It may seem complicated, but it’s actually simpler than you might have imagined. To put it simply, a cigarette lighter socket is definitely an accessory socket, but the opposite is not always the case. It is because—even though they’re both work with 12-volt plugs—there are minor different standards between these two. The receptacles of newer accessory socket models are not compatible with cigarette lighters. The reason being purpose of cigarette lighter’s initial design was not to supply power to accessories.
Another thing that adds confusion to this is how vehicle manufacturers ship their products that have cigarette lighter socket with plug. This causes people to assume that the feature is not a cigarette lighter even though it does. If one of the two sockets is positioned in the dash and there is no another one that’s labeled clearly as an accessory socket then there’s a high chance that it is a cigarette lighter socket that doesn’t have lighter component. Hopefully, all these explanations can satisfy your question of what is the cigarette lighter in a car called and other details about it.