How To Hotwire A Car

No key to start a car but is there any way I can turn on a car

If you have misplaced your car keys or even the ones that you have maybe jammed so that they may no longer be able to start your car, you should not worry.

You could always try an alternative method of starting the car which is hot wiring it and you could be able to use the vehicle as you normally did.

This is a simple way of solving your headaches and should start the car within the shortest time possible.

If your type of vehicle was manufactured with the 1990s technology or before that, you will have an easy time hotwiring the vehicle.

For instance, a challenge that you may face is the steering wheel lock that will only enable your vehicle to move in a straight line once you have successfully hotwired it.

Here’s how to hotwire your car through the following steps:

  1. Place Screwdriver Into The Vehicle’s Keyhole
  2. Remove The Screws On The Steering Column Cover
  3. Spot The Different Bundles Of Wires
  4. Cut The Insulation Off The Wires You Are Focused On
  5. Slice A Piece Of Insulation From The Wire That Connects To The Starter Motor
  6. Cover The End Of The Live Starter Wire

Unlike in the movies, where hotwiring a car seems to be a simple task that takes less than 2 minutes; it is not as easy as it seems.

You will be able to notice that hotwiring a car might take some time depending on the model and year of the vehicle in question.

For some models of vehicles that are fitted with computers and electronic systems that work for the locking and security of the vehicle, hotwiring them might be a little complicated.

However, if you are well-versed with a working procedure, you will be able to hotwire it successfully.

Understanding The Basic Of Hot-Wiring A Car

In a normal situation where you have the car keys of the vehicle, placing the ignition key into the ignition and turning it generates an electrical circuit.

The circuit runs from the battery to the ignition and then to the motor starter, which is then powered.

After the powering of the motor starter, the engine gets turned over and the vehicle will start.

Therefore, hotwiring a vehicle simply creates a shortcut that generates the electrical circuit that runs from the battery to the engine of the vehicle through the ignition system-it’s just that the car keys are absent when you do this.

What Should You Do Before Hotwiring A Car?

Before you proceed to start hotwiring a car, some preparations are needed so that you have the least challenges when starting the vehicle.

For starters, the vehicle has to be parked in a safe position-with minimum distractions and also with less traffic from other motorists.

A flat packing area will also be ideal to give you an easy time when you want to hotwire the vehicle.

The vehicle has to be in neutral gear and the hand brake should be activated to avoid any inconveniences. You will also have to gather all the tools that you want to use to start the vehicle.

A flat screwdriver, a drill, and also a wire stripper will be needed. A masking tape to cover the now naked wires will also be needed.

The masking tape will be used to cover the starter wire that is a live wire and might electrically shock you when it comes into contact with your body.

Insulated gloves will also protect you from unprecedented electric shocks.

Before you start the process of hotwiring the vehicle, you should use the flat screwdriver and see if it can start the vehicle.

This will work in some models of vehicles but in others, you will have to do more than that for the vehicle to start.

Take the screwdriver and force it into the keyhole of the vehicle and through to the ignition system and this might just start the vehicle.

6 Steps To Hotwire Your Car {Learn Each Section Deeply!}

In a normal situation where you have the car keys of the vehicle, placing the ignition key into the ignition and turning it generates an electrical circuit.

The circuit runs from the battery to the ignition and then to the motor starter, which is then powered.

After the powering of the motor starter, the engine gets turned over and the vehicle will start.

Therefore, hotwiring a vehicle simply creates a shortcut that generates the electrical circuit that runs from the battery to the engine of the vehicle through the ignition system-it’s just that the car keys are absent when you do this.

You will be able to hotwire your vehicle through the following steps as discussed into depth!

1. Place Screwdriver Into The Vehicle’s Keyhole

As you begin the task, you will have to place the screwdriver into the keyhole that is on the ignition system of the vehicle. This is also referred to as the ignition tumbler.

You will want to turn the screwdriver and check if the vehicle can start by doing just that.

For some models of vehicles, they should be able to start after you just do this-the engine starts and you will be able to drive the vehicle away.

However, most vehicles are advanced and you will have to do more than that to start them.

2. Remove The Screws On The Steering Column Cover

You can then use the screwdriver to remove the screws that are over the steering columns cover.

The screws are easily visible on either side of the steering column. You should be able to use the screwdriver to unscrew the screws on the steering column cover.

After the screws have been undone, you should be able to see the access panels.

The access panels have to be removed and this can be done through simply pulling them off and out of their position.

After that, you will see a bunch of wires that are connected to the ignition system of the vehicle.

3. Spot The Different Bundles Of Wires

The interconnected wires are in three bundles and with separate coloring systems.

One bundle is for the car lights, one bundle for the wipers and warmers of the vehicle and the last bundle is associated with the battery and ignition of the vehicle.

Your concentration will be on the last bunch of wires which are those connected to the battery and ignition of the vehicle.

The last bunch of wires will comprise of wires that are connected to the battery of the vehicle, the starter motor and the ignition system of the vehicle.

Through the owner’s manual, you should be able to separate either type of wires and what they are connected to.

You should be able to figure out the wires that are connected to the ignition system and that are connected to the battery of the vehicle.

In most cars, the battery wires are red and you should get to know the color of the ignition wires-although there is no single or conventional universal color for that (the color varies from one manufacturer to another).

4. Cut The Insulation Off The Wires You Are Focused On

If you have a wire stripper, you will use it to cut off the insulation that is on each end of either the wires-the ignition and the battery wires.

You will then take those now exposed ends of the wires and twist them together using your fingers.

If you have done everything right until this point, the ignition will turn on. Similarly, the radio or stereo and the car lights will be turned on.

5. Slice A Piece Of Insulation From The Wire That Connects To The Starter Motor

The next step after twisting together the wires of the battery and the ignition is to locate the wire that is associated with the starter motor.

There is a wire that connects to the starter motor and that is the one you are searching for at this point.

Once you find it, slice off a piece of the insulation on one of its ends.

After that, take the end of the wire and place it so that it touches the end of the other two that of the battery and the ignition of the vehicle.

You should not twist the wires because the wire that is connected to the starter wire is a live wire.

If you have done everything appropriately, the vehicle’s engine should be able to start almost immediately.

6. Cover The End Of The Live Starter Wire

Once the engine of the vehicle has started, you want to cover the end of the live starter wire- an electrical tape will work to have that covered.

This will prevent it from coming into contact with your body or any electrical component of the vehicle as this will cause an electrical shock and in a severe case when it is not controlled it is a fire hazard.

After you have completed the above steps, it is recommended that you rev the engine several times so that it does not stall out when you are on the road you wouldn’t be able to start over.

Another idea is to use a drill to drill the keyhole and destroy the locking pins and then start the vehicle with a screwdriver.

If you want to switch off a car that you hotwired using the above steps, you should simply untwist the wires you twisted together-those of the ignition and the battery of the vehicle.

Some cars, however, are designed with a steering wheel lock system and this locks the direction of the vehicle so that it is only able to move in a straight path.

The above steps will work for the vehicle models that were manufactured before the year 1990.

This is because after that year vehicle manufacturers developed the use of computers and electronic systems to lock the vehicles with immobilizers and other anti-theft devices that are difficult to bypass.

For such, dealing with them is sort of complicated.

If you use the above 6 steps to hotwire your vehicle, you should be cautious.

This is because dealing with the various wires on the vehicle presents a risk of electrocution to you. This will happen if in some way, you short the wires and electric sparks are formed.

You will not only be putting yourself at risk from the electric shocks but also might damage the wiring of the vehicle.

Another precaution that you need to take is to activate the neutral gear of the vehicle and place it over the emergency brake to avoid any accidents.

If you try either of the ways of starting the vehicle and it still won’t start, then there might be something wrong with it.

You should, therefore, test either of the components to check if they are in good working condition.

Some of the issues that will cause the vehicle not to start to include:

  • The battery of the vehicle is dead
  • The head gasket is already blown up
  • The vehicle is out of gas
  • The vehicle has an advanced security system that can’t be bypassed through the method you are using
  • You crossed the wires inappropriately

You can also follow this video:

Hotwiring A Car With A Jump Starter

If you are unable to hotwire the vehicle through the above means, you can try to hotwire it using a jump starter.

However, this is a little complicated procedure when compared to the other types of hotwiring the vehicle.

You will start by opening the hood of the vehicle and then connecting the red coil wire to the positive terminal of the battery. The dashboard lights should be turned on.

On the other hand, the negative clamps of the jumper cables will be connected to the negative terminal of the battery and the other will go to the starter solenoid of the vehicle you want to hotwire.

The vehicle should be able to start if you have done that properly.

Related Questions

Is It Possible To Hotwire A Car?

Yes, you can hotwire a car if you are unable to start it the normal way. For instance, you might have replaced your car keys and are unable to find the spare keys for the car.

Also, the lock tumbler may have jammed such that even if you had your car keys, they would not work to start the car-it may need too much work and time to unjam the lock tumbler.

Hotwiring a car is not as simple as you may see actors perform in movies or shows, rather it is a step by step procedure that may take some time.

There are various ways of hotwiring a car so you should settle to use one that fits your convenience.

For instance, if you have the required set of tools for a given hotwiring method, then you can opt for that.

However, you should know that it is against the law to hotwire a vehicle that is not yours as that will be considered as a form of theft.

Hotwiring capabilities of a vehicle are also determined by the year and model of the vehicle.

While some hot wiring methods may be fruitful for some models of vehicles, it won’t work when you try them on others.

Therefore, for you to hotwire a vehicle, you should consider its make, model, and year so that you use a fruitful hotwiring procedure.

Can I Hotwire A Keyless Car?

For the keyless cars, with push-button technology, hotwiring a car might not be possible.

While hotwiring may work for many car models designed with old technology, it may not work for the car types that have push-button technology.

It may not work altogether because of the highly advanced security systems.

Some of these types of cars, the push-button type, are designed with immobilizers which when triggered stops the car from starting.

At that point, it would be a bigger headache starting the car altogether.

Is It Illegal To Hotwire My Own Car?

No, it is not illegal to hotwire your car. If you have misplaced your car keys or are having difficulties starting your car, you are allowed by law to hotwire the car and use it as you normally do.

You can also hotwire the car if you have received permission from the car owner who might be having similar challenges with starting the vehicle.

They may also be away with the car keys and would want you to use the vehicle; at this point hotwiring the car will be permitted by law.

However, if the vehicle does not belong to you, you would be in hot soup as far as the security authorities are concerned.

It may be considered as theft if the vehicle’s registration details are not in your name yet you are found to be hotwiring the vehicle.

If at all you were found hotwiring a vehicle that isn’t yours, you will be charged for property damage and theft of property.

Can I Really Start A Car With My Screwdriver?

Yes, you can start your car using a screwdriver.

This is possible provided the car has a keyhole, you will also need a drill for this task. The tip of the drill is inserted into the metal keyhole about 75% into the keyhole.

This will work to destroy the manly lock pins that are in the interior of the keyhole.

Since there are numerous sections of lock pins, the tip of the screw has to be removed and inserted severally for the results you want.

You will then be able to pull out the screwdriver after you are sure that the lock pins have been broken.

The next step is putting in the screwdriver, just as you do for the car keys. The vehicle should be able to start normally as it used to before.

Can I Hotwire A Car With A Transponder Key?

For the cars that use a transponder key, hotwiring them might not be possible altogether.

The transponder key was introduced more than 20 years ago and for such vehicles, hotwiring them may not be as simple as you see in Hollywood movies or shows.

Such types of cars are designed with a proximity detection of some FOB that forces the computer within them to cut the circuit.

Their security systems are also highly advanced in that they are designed with an anti-theft system that will make it difficult to hotwire the vehicle.

You might succeed in the car but an immobilizer will stop the car from moving even a yard.

For such models of vehicles, if you are unable to find the original keys you would have to start the car the long way.

The ECU in the vehicle will need some reprogramming and this process is specific to the model of vehicle that you own.

Nonetheless, if you do not have a specialized tool for the hotwiring nor do you have an electronic way of starting the vehicle, it won’t start.

How Long Does It Take To Hotwire A Car?

The hotwiring process for a normal car should not take much of your time before the car starts and you can use it normally.

This could be done through the installation of a performance chip to the ECU systems of the vehicle. This could cut out the security systems in place and the car would be able to start and move.

You could also just do away with the ECU installed for the vehicle and a series of other processes.

This would take much of your time but will be effective in starting the vehicle. This is for the models of vehicles that were manufactured before the early 90s.

After that, new car models were designed with passive immobilizers that made it difficult for someone to hotwire just any car they wanted to; this was implemented for security purposes.

For such vehicles, there is a reader that is around the ignition barrel which is triggered by a signal from a chip found in the car keys.

Therefore, if the car was not started with its original key, there would be no chip from the car keys, thus lack of a signal, and hence the vehicle will not start.

Therefore, for the latest models of vehicles, hotwiring a vehicle is not the simplest of tasks. It will probably take close to 30 minutes before you can bypass the car and start using it.

Otherwise, the ECU sends signals that will jam the working parts of the vehicle starting from the spark plugs and the providers of power that are needed for the crank sensor and also the power that is needed for the fuel pump of the vehicle.

What Happens If I Hotwire A Car?

If you hotwire a car, you will be using the shortcut to ignite the car so that it can start.

This is because you don’t have the car ignition keys or that even the ignition keyhole is jammed and you don’t have any other way of starting your vehicle.

What happens is that you will be using a shortcut to start the different components of the vehicle.

When you hotwire a car, you will be enabling the ECU of the vehicle to start working without being necessarily triggered by car keys.

For some vehicles, hotwiring them might be a simple car but for the latest types of vehicles, it is not such an easy task as they are designed with highly advanced security devices.

For such vehicles, hotwiring may ignite the vehicle but an immobilizer will stop it from moving a distance of a yard.

In a normal situation where you have the car keys of the vehicle, placing the ignition key into the ignition and turning it generates an electrical circuit.

The circuit runs from the battery to the ignition and then to the motor starter, which is then powered. After the powering of the motor starter, the engine gets turned over and the vehicle will start.

Therefore, hotwiring a vehicle simply creates a shortcut that generates the electrical circuit that runs from the battery to the engine of the vehicle through the ignition system-it’s just that the car keys are absent when you do this.

What Color Wires Hotwire A Car?

In some vehicle models, the ignition wires can either be brown and the starter wires are yellow. For the battery wires, they are usually red.

However, these colors vary from one car model to another and this might make it a little tricky if you are not aware of the appropriate and respective colors to focus on.

Therefore, to be on the safe side, it is recommended that you consult the owner’s manual so that you know the respective colors.

This is because the coloring of the wires varies from one vehicle manufacturer to another as well as the model of the vehicle in question.

If you are not sure of the exact colors, you might mix them up and this will cause electrocution; which is the last thing you want to deal with.

Conclusion

You no longer have to be inconvenienced whenever you lose your car keys or when the lock of your vehicle is damaged.

Thanks to the discussions above, you can easily start the car if you can’t find the car keys or if the ones you have are jammed.

The article discusses the various methods that you can utilize to hotwire your car and you should be able to choose one that suits you.

However, you should know that it is against the law to hotwire a vehicle that is not yours until you have permission from the owner to do so.

Sources:

1. CarTreatments.com – https://cartreatments.com/steps-to-hotwire-a-car/
2. Ask a Prepper – https://www.askaprepper.com/hot-wire-car-shtf-pictures/

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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