Does a Tesla Have a Cigarette Lighter?

*This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Does a Tesla have a cigarette lighter? Not exactly, but every Tesla has at least one 12-volt outlet that many call a cigarette lighter. These low-voltage outlets are handy and can power many gadgets, including cigarette lighters.

If you want to find your outlet or add a cigarette lighter to your Tesla, you’re in the right place. This article has all you need to know about Tesla cigarette lighters and 12V power sockets.

Table of Contents

    Cigarette Lighter Outlet vs. Tesla 12V Power Socket

    Cars from years ago came from the factory with a cigarette lighter in a 12V outlet. When you pushed it in, the lighter warmed up like an electric stove so you could light a cigarette. To the surprise of no one, they called these cigarette lighter outlets.

    As cigarette use went down, car makers like Tesla left out the actual lighter. But they kept the 12-volt power socket since it is still useful.

    Every Tesla car has at least one of these low-voltage power outlets.

    Where Is the Tesla Cigarette Lighter?

    It’s easy to find one of the many USB outlets placed throughout Tesla interiors. Every Tesla also has a cigarette lighter outlet in the center console.

    When you do find it, don’t expect to find a cigarette lighter.

    Tesla 12-Volt Power Socket Location for Different Models

    Here’s where you can find the 12-volt power socket for each Tesla model:

    • Model S: The front section of the center console, underneath the cup holders. Has a square cover made of rubber.
    • Model X: The same place as the Model S, plus some have a second outlet in the rear storage area on the driver’s side.
    • Model 3: Inside the center console’s rear section under the armrest. On the vertical wall toward the front with a circular cover made of plastic.
    • Model Y: The same place as the Model 3, plus a second 12-volt outlet in the rear storage area on the driver’s side.

    Can You Install a Cigarette Lighter in a Tesla Model Y?

    If you’re fed up with not having a cigarette lighter in your Tesla, I have great news. You can install a cigarette lighter in your Tesla Model Y and any other Tesla car.

    Before you do, consider these quick fixes to light your cigarettes:

    How To Install a Cigarette Lighter

    Here is how to replace your 12-volt outlet and install a cigarette lighter in a Tesla:

    1. Buy a suitable cigarette lighter replacement for your Tesla.
    2. Disconnect the 12-volt battery by opening the frunk and pulling off the plastic shroud under the windshield.
      1. If your Tesla was made before November 2021, you have a lead acid battery and you need to remove the negative terminal.
      2. Newer Tesla cars use a lithium battery and to disconnect it, you must unplug the battery’s connector.
    3. To remove the old 12-volt outlet without breaking it, pull out the center console by prying the trim pieces off then unbolting each component. You might find this post with photos or this YouTube video useful.
    4. Unscrew the ring on the back of the outlet housing.
    5. Cut the old wires and solder or connect the new cigarette lighter outlet to the existing wires. If you are unable to distinguish the wires, you might need to briefly connect the battery and test the wires using a voltmeter, looking for the 12-volt supply and a ground wire.
    6. Mount your new lighter. It is often necessary to make small changes in the hole. Rubber grommets or epoxy can be useful.
    7. Replace the center console and reconnect the 12-volt battery.

    Instead of replacing the existing outlet, you can add an extra, with or without a cigarette lighter, in a location of your choosing.

    The easiest way to add another outlet is to attach a new circuit to the 12-volt system by:

    • If you have a lead-acid 12-volt battery, you can add terminals directly to the battery posts. Measure the battery’s posts and crimp terminals of that size to your new wires. Leave the negative one off during installation.
    • If you have a newer Tesla with the 12-volt lithium battery, the connector is sealed and you need to splice into the system in another location. People have used the wires running to the dome light and other sources. The ODB-II port also has 12-volt power. Depending on the device you are installing, you might need to use a voltage regulator since the lithium battery runs closer to 16V.
    • Once you have the wires connected to the power source, run the appropriate gauge wires to the desired outlet location. You might need to remove trim pieces and pull up carpet or upholstery to do so, common techniques for any aftermarket electronic installation.
    • Then mount your new 12-volt cigarette lighter in your desired location and connect the new circuit.

    As you can imagine, installing these aftermarket electronics can be tricky. Only go this route if you know what you’re doing, otherwise, hire a professional to tackle it. Stereo installation shops are usually happy to help with other 12-volt electronics, such as cigarette lighters.

    Is It Safe To Connect a Cigarette Lighter Socket To the 12V Outlet?

    Using any electrical outlet comes with some risk, especially if you add a heating element. This risk increases when used in the enclosed center console.

    Adding a cigarette lighter to your Tesla’s 12V outlet does pose some fire danger. To keep yourself safe, do not store the cigarette lighter in the outlet and watch it while in use.

    Additionally, before you use anything in the outlet, make sure it’s within the power ratings of the outlet. 

    For example, the Tesla owner’s manual specifies the following ratings:

    • 12A continuous draw with 16A peak, equivalent to 144 watts continuous draw.
    • 16V actual power supply rating since November 2021. The low-voltage battery switched from lead-acid to lithium-ion.

    What Other Gadgets Can I Possibly Plug Into the 12V Power Outlet?

    12V power outlets are versatile and can power a variety of low-powered devices, such as:

    • Portable air compressor: Great for reinflating tires.
    • Small AC power inverters: Add a three-pronged 110V outlet.
    • Extra USB outlets: Charge more devices at once.
    • Small electric coolers: Keep food chilled on long road trips.
    • WiFi storage expanders and media servers: High-tech solution to manage data and media.

    Before using any device, verify it does not exceed the rated specifications.  Nearly all 12V outlets are meant for low-power items.

    Power inverters are one item in particular that can be very taxing on a 12V outlet. Be careful and don’t expect to power any heavy-duty devices.

    Our Verdict

    You can insert a lighter into the existing socket or replace the outlet with a cigarette lighter. It might also be worth adding an extra 12-volt outlet of your choice by tapping into Tesla’s low-voltage system.

    Once you find your Tesla’s outlet or you install a new one, you can light cigarettes, charge gear, or power small items. They’re great for air compressors, low-watt AC power inverters, and other devices.

    Leave a Comment