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How to Remove Something Stuck in my Car Lighter

by Kurt Schanaman

Automotive cigarette lighter sockets are prone to abuse, as children may insert foreign objects while at play; burnt cigarette tobacco may stick to the lighter coil and become lodged in the electrical contacts of the socket; and electronics' power adapter parts may break off, remaining lodged in the socket. With just a handful of tools, foreign objects may generally be removed, as long as some safety precautions are taken before removal of the item.

Step 1

Find the fuse box in the car and locate the fuse or breaker that services the cigarette lighter. Use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove the fuse or breaker completely from the fuse slot.

Step 2

Remove the lighter from the receptacle and shine a small flashlight into the receptacle. Analyze the location of the foreign object and make note of any space around the object which would permit the jaws of the pliers to grab it. If there is insufficient space to admit the pliers, try the tweezers, which can fit into more restricted space. Failing that, form a small hook on the end of a piece of wire and manipulate the object. This should allow the object to be removed with the pliers or tweezers.

Step 3

Wipe down the inside of the lighter socket with a damp paper towel after the object is removed.

Replace the cigarette lighter fuse or breaker in the vehicle's fuse box, and then insert the lighter back into its socket.

Tip

  • Replace the lighter if part of the lodged object melted to the heating coil in the lighter itself. Lighter sockets are standard-sized in all automobiles, and a new lighter can be purchased cheaply from any automotive parts store. Only the removable portion of a lighter will generally need to be replaced, and not the receptacle, as the receptacle sleeve itself doesn't get hot enough to melt an object. If the entire receptacle does need replacing due to damage from the lodged object, obtain a service manual for your vehicle, and follow instructions for replacement of the lighter receptacle.

Items you will need

  • Small flashlight
  • Long needle-nosed pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Piece of wire, 4 inches long or pair of tweezers
  • Paper towel

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