What Is Accessory Power Outlet In Car

Have you ever wondered what that little thing in your car that you can plug things into is called? It’s called an accessory power outlet, and it’s pretty useful!

So, what exactly is an accessory power outlet in a car? Well, it’s a small socket that provides electrical power to charge or operate devices like your phone, GPS, or even a portable DVD player while you’re on the go.

Whether you need to charge your devices or power something like a cooler or air compressor, the accessory power outlet has got you covered. Let’s dive in and learn more about this handy feature in your car!

what is accessory power outlet in car

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What is an Accessory Power Outlet in a Car?

An accessory power outlet, also known as a cigarette lighter socket or a car power outlet, is a standard feature found in most vehicles. It is a 12-volt DC power socket that enables drivers and passengers to power or charge various electronic devices while on the go. Originally designed to be used with cigarette lighters, these outlets have evolved to accommodate a wide range of devices, including phone chargers, GPS units, portable air compressors, and more. In this article, we will delve deeper into the features, uses, and benefits of accessory power outlets in cars.

The Evolution of Accessory Power Outlets

In the early days of automobiles, the cigarette lighter socket was mainly used for lighting cigarettes. However, as technology advanced and the demand for electronic devices increased, car manufacturers realized the need for a versatile power outlet that could charge and power a variety of devices. This led to the development of the modern accessory power outlet that we see in vehicles today.

The introduction of accessory power outlets revolutionized the way people use their cars. Instead of relying solely on the vehicle’s battery for power, drivers and passengers could now conveniently charge or use their electronic devices on the go. This advancement opened up a whole new world of possibilities and convenience for car owners.

Benefits of Accessory Power Outlets

1. Convenience: Accessory power outlets provide a convenient way to charge electronic devices while driving. Whether you need to charge your smartphone, power a GPS unit, or use a portable vacuum cleaner, these outlets make it easy to keep your devices powered and functional on the road.

2. Versatility: These outlets are designed to accommodate a wide range of devices, making them highly versatile. Whether you need to power a small gadget or a larger appliance, as long as the device uses 12-volt DC power, it can be connected to the accessory power outlet in your car.

3. Accessibility: Accessory power outlets are usually located in convenient places within the vehicle, such as the center console, dashboard, or in rear seats. This ensures easy access for both the driver and passengers, allowing them to use and charge their devices without any hassle.

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Using Accessory Power Outlets Safely:

While accessory power outlets are incredibly useful, it’s important to use them safely to avoid any electrical issues or damage to your devices. Here are some tips to ensure safe usage:

  1. Only use devices that are compatible with the voltage and current provided by the power outlet.
  2. Avoid overloading the outlet by connecting too many devices at once.
  3. Regularly inspect the outlet and its wiring for any signs of damage or wear. If you notice any issues, have it checked by a professional.
  4. Never leave devices unattended while charging.
  5. Unplug devices when not in use to prevent unnecessary power drain.

The Future of Accessory Power Outlets

As technology continues to advance, the future of accessory power outlets looks promising. With the rise of electric vehicles, we can expect to see more powerful outlets that can charge larger devices and even provide power for appliances such as mini-fridges or camping equipment. Additionally, wireless charging capabilities may become more prevalent, eliminating the need for cables and further enhancing the convenience of using accessory power outlets in cars.

Key Takeaways: What is an Accessory Power Outlet in a Car?

  • An accessory power outlet in a car is a socket that allows you to power various electronic devices.
  • It is usually located in the front or center console of a car.
  • You can use the accessory power outlet to charge your phone, connect a GPS device, or even power a small cooler.
  • It is important to avoid overloading the power outlet to prevent damage to your car’s electrical system.
  • Always use the appropriate charger or adapter for your device and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Faqs for What Is Accessory Power Outlet In Car:

1. How does an accessory power outlet in a car work?

An accessory power outlet in a car, also known as a cigarette lighter socket, is a power source that allows you to charge or power electronic devices and accessories. It operates on the vehicle’s electrical system, drawing power from the battery. When you plug in a device, such as a phone charger or an air compressor, it completes a circuit and enables the transfer of electricity.

The outlet typically provides 12 volts of DC (direct current) power, which is different from the 120 volts of AC (alternating current) power you get from a standard home outlet. This means that certain devices might require a power adapter or converter to be able to use the power from the accessory outlet.

2. What can I use the accessory power outlet for?

The accessory power outlet can be used to charge a wide range of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, GPS devices, and portable music players. You can also power accessories like dash cameras, portable refrigerators, and tire inflators. Additionally, some car models may have specially designed accessories, like heated massage seats or mini-fridges, that can be powered through the accessory outlet.

It’s worth noting that the amount of power an accessory outlet can provide varies from one vehicle to another. Some outlets may have a lower power output, which means they may not be suitable for powering certain high-energy devices. Always check your vehicle’s manual or consult with a professional if you’re unsure about the power limitations of your accessory outlet.

3. Can I plug a regular household electrical device into the accessory power outlet?

No, you cannot plug a regular household electrical device directly into the car’s accessory power outlet. As mentioned earlier, the outlet in the car provides 12 volts of DC power, while household devices require 120 volts of AC power. Plugging a household device into the car’s outlet without the proper adapter or converter can damage both the device and the car’s electrical system.

If you need to power a household device in your car, you would need to use a power inverter. A power inverter converts the 12 volts of DC power from the car’s outlet into 120 volts of AC power, allowing you to use household devices safely. Just make sure to choose an inverter with the appropriate wattage for the device you want to power.

4. Can I use the accessory power outlet when the car is turned off?

In most cars, the accessory power outlet remains active even when the car is turned off, as long as the ignition is in the “accessory” position or the car is in “park.”

This allows you to charge your devices or power accessories even when the engine is not running. However, it’s important to be mindful of your battery’s charge level and not drain it excessively by using the accessory outlet for a prolonged period with the engine off.

If you’re unsure about your specific vehicle’s power outlet functionality, consult your owner’s manual or reach out to the car manufacturer for more information.

5. Can I install additional accessory power outlets in my car?

In many cases, you can add additional accessory power outlets to your car. There are various aftermarket options available that can be installed in different parts of your vehicle, such as the dashboard or the center console. Some of these options may require professional installation, while others can be easily installed by following the provided instructions.

Before adding new power outlets, make sure to consider your car’s electrical system’s capacity. Adding too many outlets or power-consuming devices without proper consideration can overload the system and potentially lead to electrical issues. If you’re not confident in your abilities or are unsure about the electrical capacity of your vehicle, it’s best to consult with a professional installer.


So, to sum it all up, an accessory power outlet in a car is like a fancy electrical socket. You can use it to power devices like your phone charger or a portable cooler. Just remember to be careful and not overload it with too many things plugged in at once!

Moreover, it’s important to note that not all cars have accessory power outlets. They are usually found in the front of the car, near the dashboard, or in the center console. So if you haven’t seen one in your car, don’t worry, it’s not there!

Overall, accessory power outlets are handy features that make it easier to charge or power your devices while on the go. Now you’ll know what to look for the next time you need to plug something in!

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