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Automotive Electrical Connectors: Power Up!

rear facing console

Cars have become more and more complex through the years. We’ve gone from simple AM/FM radios with cassette players to full-blown infotainment systems composed of CD players, XM radio, navigation and other power intensive features. Chances are you’re using a lot of auxiliary power each day. If that’s the case, you still may not have enough outlets to connect your smart phone, music player and other electronic devices. The solution is automotive electrical connectors, what can easily be installed by you.

Connection Basics

Only the newest passenger vehicles are outfitted with USB ports, an auxiliary audio input port and 12-volt outlets. Go back just a few years and most of these connectivity points are absent.

Even some new vehicles don’t have enough connection points, especially in minivans and SUVs where second- and third-row seated passengers are simply out of luck. Automotive electrical connectors are a simple and easy way to power up your entire vehicle.

Getting Connected

Automotive outlets in a pickup truck. Photo courtesy of Matt KeeganHow many accessories do you need to connect? Most automotive electrical connectors come with one, two or three connection points. Opt for the latter and you’ll be able to connect up to three accessories at one time. That’s enough to serve one row of passengers.

Electrical connectors are easy to mount, and in minivans and SUVs, as well as in some cars, the ideal place is on the rear facing console. If your console includes an open storage area, then mount the assembly inside of that. Typically, you’ll need a drill and bits along with a screwdriver to accomplish this task. Make use of the included instructions and hardware to complete your work.

Once mounted, you’re ready to connect the two wires. The black wire is grounded and connects to the back of the supplied circuit breaker; the red wire connects to a 12-volt outlet. Use the 12-volt outlet nearest your mounting point to connect or run your wiring through the center console or underneath carpeting to connect it to the 12-volt outlet up front.

Power Considerations

One thing to keep in mind: the added strain connectivity can have on your car’s battery. Most batteries are designed to last three to five years and can handle the added strain. However, if your battery is old, consider replacing it before you install the connector. The last thing you want is a weak battery knocked out by an additional power source.

Check out all the electrical system products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on automotive electrical connectors, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Matthew C. Keegan

Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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