What Are Map Lamps?


A map lamp is a small light you use in your car to provide you with a small focused beam of light. A map lamp costs anywhere between $10 and $50, depending on varying features. No matter what lamp you choose, they all provide you with an additional light in your car.

Reasons to Use a Map Lamp

  • Your car comes with an overhead lamp, but an overhead lamp is not the best solution in every circumstance. For example, if you are driving and your passenger needs to look at a map for directions, an overhead lamp may interfere with your vision. Also, on those long car rides your passenger may want to read, and a map lamp is a perfect solution for this. A map lamp is also a solution for when your children fall asleep in the car, and you pull over to get something to eat. You want to see your food but don't want to wake your kids, so use a map lamp.


  • There are two types of map light, one that is preinstalled in your car and one that is portable. Some of the newer cars have a preinstalled map lamp located on the underside of the rear view mirror. The other type is a portable map light that plugs into your cigarette lighter or uses a small battery. The portable map light has a flexible arm with the light on the end, or a clip-on feature that clips onto your visor.

Light Color

  • You may think of the practical purposes for a map lamp, and for this you would want the typical white light map light. You also have the option of choosing a map lamp that uses a blue light, so this be practical and also provide a different mood in your car.

Specifications of a Sample Map Lamp

  • Although there are different specifications for different map lights, this will give you an idea of the specifications of a typical map light that plugs into a cigarette lighter. The lamp uses a single 12-volt/5-watt halogen bulb. The arm of the lamp is 6 1/4 inches long and the overall length is 11 3/8 inches.

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  • Photo Credit Map or Atlas with keys image by steven Husk from Fotolia.com
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