How do I reattach my car cigarette lighter socket?
September 9, 2017 9:20 AM   Subscribe

The cigarette lighter in my car has detached from its faceplate, and the faceplate itself has detached from the dashboard. Do I glue this? With what? Do I need a clamp? Heat it up and hope it fuses back? Or just duct tape everything?
posted by kerf to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
pictures would help.
posted by theora55 at 9:21 AM on September 9, 2017

Yeah - a lot depends on whether the wires have disconnected underneath. Does it still work despite being detached?
posted by aecorwin at 9:27 AM on September 9, 2017

Response by poster: The wires all work. It's functional. This is about connecting the plastic back up.
posted by kerf at 9:43 AM on September 9, 2017

Again, without pictures it is impossible to say. The clips retaining the assembly may be broken, so it needs gluing. Or the sprung tabs may just need pulling out a bit and shoving it back in. It's impossible to say without pictures.

We don't even know what car it is, to be able to make educated guesses based on internet pictures. So show us the problem.
posted by Brockles at 9:57 AM on September 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

All cars are different. If you ask in a general forum, you're probably going to get general answers.

Find an online forum for people who do home repairs on cars like yours. If you ask in the right place, you might find five or ten people who all have had the same problem with the same lighter in the same car, and they will be able to tell you exactly what didn't work and what did. Be prepared to post photos. "This happened" + picture files attached.

If you are into repairing your own car in general, buy a repair manual for the exact make and year of car you drive, and then give the manual to whoever buys or inherits the car from you. If you do buy such a manual, you can also use it as a record of all work done -- put a date and a note on the appropriate page. "Replaced by mechanic, January 2015" and so on. But this may not help much with this particular problem.

There's always the auto parts store. You go into the store with the broken bit and the make/model memorized or written down -- or you drive the car up to the place if you can't take the part out -- and you ask the person there what to do. In this case, they might recommend a procedure and sell you the appropriate adhesive. On a slow day, someone at the store might even help you do the work.

Or you can pay a few bucks to have a mechanic do a proper job for you while you sip coffee somewhere.
posted by pracowity at 12:00 PM on September 9, 2017

Best answer: Let me guess, you put a plug into the socket, it stuck, you gave it a little umph, and the socket came out of the dash.

The problem may have been a design "feature" in some newer cars. The accessory sockets were designed to not allow cigarette lighters to work in them. The sockets in my car (Honda Element) have some tabs in them that prevent a lighter from working. The only problem is these tabs also also prevent some plugs from being inserted, lock in some others, and just don't work with others.

I fixed mine, detailed here. It was about a 30 minute job.

Without pictures it's hard to advise. If the just slid out, you could just slide it back in. If the part broke and you don't care what the fix looks like, a little thick super glue would probably work fine. If you want it to look perfect and the parts are broken, you can get replacements from a dealer, dash parts are usually screw/snap together. Last resort is let the dealer fix it, but you're trading money for time and convenience.

We need pics to be more detailed.
posted by Marky at 1:15 PM on September 9, 2017

I had this happen once, I just superglued it back together. It lasted a couple of years, then the superglue came apart so I put a bit more on. That lasted until I eventually sold the car.

I'd say just put a few dabs of superglue on there and don't worry too much about it. Maybe use epoxy if you feel like having it probably never fall apart again is worth the trouble of mixing up a bit of epoxy. This doesn't have to be a big deal.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:52 PM on September 9, 2017

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