How to Replace a 2002 General Motors Buick LeSabre Cigarette Lighter


The 2002 Buick LeSabre came equipped with such amenities as standard tilt steering, power doors and windows, genuine leather wrapped steering wheel, wood trim and a cigarette lighter or 12-volt outlet. Cigarette lighter elements can go bad over time, and cigarette lighter outlets are used for electronic accessory charging. Replacing the cigarette lighter on a 2002 General Motors Buick LeSabre is a relatively task.

Things You'll Need

  • 8mm open-end wrench
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • New cigarette lighter components (socket, lighter element)
  • Open the hood of the LeSabre. Remove the negative battery lead from the battery, using an 8mm open end wrench. Tuck the battery lead or the end of the battery cable down to the side of the battery, so there is not chance of the battery reconnecting during this project.

  • Enter the Buick's passenger compartment. Working from the passenger side of this vehicle makes the project easier, as you do not have the steering wheel to contend with for workspace. Open the bottom panel at the center of the dashboard, which is the ashtray. Remove the two Phillips head screws from the hinges of the ashtray, which are mounted upward from beneath the dashboard. When you are finished, the entire ashtray panel will be loose. Do not pull the panel outward as there are electrical connectors attached.

  • Remove the inner skin or body of the ashtray from the outer paneling, using a flat-head screwdriver to gently pry the two pieces apart. The outer trim paneling on the ashtray should slide toward you, while the inner body of the ashtray is pushed back toward the dashboard. Separating these two elements will give you clear access to the inner components of the cigarette lighter outlet.

  • Turn the inner body of the ashtray upside down, and visually inspect the connections to the lighter outlet --- note the tabs holding the lighter outlet into the dashboard as well as the electrical connector to the end of the lighter. Remove the electrical connector from the lighter by pulling it free with your hand. Use needle-nose pliers to assist you if necessary.

  • Push the locking tabs inward on the sides of the lighter outlet, while simultaneously putting slight pressure to push the outlet out of the front of the ashtray assembly. Remove the old lighter outlet from the vehicle completely.

  • Install the new lighter outlet into the mounting hole in the inner body of the ashtray. Turn the ashtray housing upside down to view the aft end of the lighter outlet. Push the outlet into the ashtray body until it clicks into place, meaning it is locked in. Attach the electrical connector to the rear of the outlet by simply pushing the connector on with your fingers.

  • Turn the ashtray body right side up and slide the inner body of the ashtray to the interior panel cover. The cover will slide inward toward the dash and will lock itself in place on the inner ashtray assembly. Use your hands to reassemble the ashtray with the panel, as tools can cause damage to the exposed interior panel.

  • Realign the ashtray with one hand, then start the two mounting screws into the bottom of the dashboard with your free hand. Tighten the ashtray mounting screws until they are snug. No torque is needed on these screws, as applying torque can break the assembly. Install the lighter handle or heat element of the lighter into the lighter outlet.

  • Reconnect the negative battery lead to the battery, and tighten the lead with an 8mm open-end wrench. Turn the lead until it is snug, then turn the wrench another 1/4 turn. This "snug-and-a-quarter" method of tightening a part is used when torque is not necessary or when torque will damage the part.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not attempt this project with the negative battery cable attached to the battery.

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  • Photo Credit David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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