Home TroubleshootingElectrical How To Hotwire A Car – Don’t Read This If You’re A Thief

How To Hotwire A Car – Don’t Read This If You’re A Thief

by Kelvin Yates

Transportation is essential in a survival situation. Perhaps you were attacked and misplaced your keys, or maybe you were fleeing for your life, and they fell down the drain. Maybe your car simply ran out of gas. Whatever the cause, hotwiring an abandoned vehicle and claiming it as your own could be a viable option. You’ll need to know how to hotwire a car for this to work.

Hotwiring a car may appear to be something only seen on TV and in movies, but if you have an older vehicle from the mid-1990s or earlier, you can do it yourself in an emergency. Modern cars, on the other hand, have electronic locking systems, and the majority of their wiring isn’t readily available, so this isn’t an option.

Thus, if you’re trying to figure out how to hotwire a car with a chip key, you’re going to have a hard time. Before you attempt to hotwire your vehicle, keep in mind that if you don’t follow the right procedures, your safety and the safety of your car are at risk.

Hot Wire A Car

The procedure of hotwiring a car is when the engine of a vehicle is started without the use of a car key. As previously indicated, you may have seen it in a variety of TV dramas and movies, as well as during a vehicle theft. Hotwiring a vehicle is a technique utilized by criminals and car owners who have misplaced their keys or are in an emergency.

However, hotwiring in current model cars is more complex than in older vehicles from the 1990s or earlier. Electronic and computerized locking systems are found in today’s modern vehicles. They automatically shut down various sections of the car’s system, such as fuel pumps, spark plugs, and crank sensors. That’s why, if you’re looking up “How to hotwire a car?” for your modern vehicle, it’s possible that it won’t work.

Start Car Without Key

To make your car’s engine run properly, insert the key into the ignition and turn it. The motor starts because the energy generated by the battery is directed to the ignition. The motor is powered; thus, it starts the car and turns the engine over. So, if you lose your key and need to hotwire a vehicle, you try to make the electrical circuit yourself without using a key.

Open Car Door Without A Key

The first step is to open the doors without a key before knowing how to hotwire a car. Unlocking it can be done in a number of ways. However, one thing that isn’t so common is that different car models have a wide range of locking systems.

Modern types include a remote control mechanism to open them; however, earlier models must be opened manually. As a result, it is rather simple to open such vehicles. Here are a few ways to open a car door without a key.

Open A Car Door Without Using A Key

1. Make Use Of A Coat Hanger

Make a hook out of a hanger by bending it inside the car window stripping, and opening the car from the inside. You must now locate the locking mechanism, which will take some time. As a result, remain composed.

Locate the car’s locking mechanism with the flashlight on your phone. Because knowing where your hanger is can be beneficial to you.

2. Make Use Of Your Shoelace

You should be aware that this method only works on a particular sort of locking mechanism that is unlocked by pulling upwards before utilizing it. Take both ends of the shoelace and tie a little loop in the middle with both hands. Then try to loop it around the lock and place it around the locking mechanism. Then draw the unlock string up and tighten the loop.

3. Use A Plastic Strip

This procedure is far more convenient than tying a shoelace. A plastic strip can be used to unlock the car door. This solution, however, only works if you have an upward locking mechanism rather than a sideways locking mechanism. So, fold a long plastic strap in half and slide it through the door’s crack. To open the door, you’ll also need a set of plastic wedges.

4. Use A Slim Jim Or A Long Rod

You can either bend a lengthy rod into a curved shape or utilize the slim-Jim tool. To grip the lock rod, place it between the window and the weather-stripping. You can also use the screwdriver to slightly open the car door to make a place for the slim-Jim gadget. To unlock the door, slip the rod into the gap and pull the button.

5. Tennis Ball — Hail Mary

Surprisingly, but true, you can unlock a car door with a tennis ball. You must first drill a hole in the tennis ball and then lay it over the keyhole. After that, you must exert great effort. Meanwhile, the ball’s pressure travels through the keyhole, causing the locking mechanism to unlock.

6. Make Use Of An Inflatable Wedge

This approach works the same way as the screwdriver method, but instead of a metal object, it uses air to open the door. You can open the car in under a minute with this gadget. What are the advantages of this procedure over the screwdriver? There is no paint damage. What’s the downside? This device might be rather costly.

7. Seek Assistance From The Police Or Security Services

Calling the Department of Public Safety, police, or local sheriff’s office is the best and easiest option to unlock your car door without a key. They commonly use a car-opening toolkit to open the door. As a result, call the authorities if you don’t have any other options or don’t want to try the previous approaches.

This concludes our primary portion prior to “how to hotwire a car.” If you already have a toolset, that’s great. If not, try grabbing some of the tools recommended in the next section.

Tools For Hotwiring A Car

The following are some Essential tools for hotwiring a car:

Of course, you’ll need a car with confirmation of ownership so you can truly manipulate it.

So you’ve gathered your tools and are ready to go to work. The next step is to learn how to hotwire a car.

Specific Tools How To Hotwire A Car

How To Hotwire A Car

In this part, we’ll go over three main methods for how to hotwire a car. However, while these tactics may work in older cars, they frequently fail with an automated security system in newer models.

  1. By Hot-Wiring the Steering Column
  2. Using Drilling the Lock Pins
  3. By Powering the Dash

How To Hotwire A Car, Method 1: By Hot-wiring The Steering Column

The first step in learning “how to hotwire a car” is to go inside the vehicle. You can do this by using any of the ways given above to open the vehicle door.

1. Remove The Protective Plastic Cover

To get to the electrical panels, you must first go into the car and remove the plastic cover on the steering column. However, breaking the locking pin by hand is extremely difficult, if not impossible. You may free it by inserting a flathead screwdriver into the keyhole.

2. Locate The Wire Connectors

You can now see a lot of wires after removing the panels. The first thing you should do at such a point is to remain calm. There are three wire bundles in particular, which include:

  1. Wires on one side control lights and other indicators.
  2. Wipers and warmers are activated via wires.
  3. Ignition, battery, and starter-related wires.

3. Remove The Cables From The Ignition, Starter, And Battery

Ignition and starter wires are the principal sources of electricity for the ignition switch. Ignition and starter wires are usually brown and yellow in color. These hues, however, may vary depending on the manufacturer. Read the owner’s manual or seek online for identification and accuracy.

4. Strip The Ignition Wire Along With The Battery Wire

Now you must cut an inch of ignition and battery wires using a sharp blade. Wrap the two wires together after that. When you connect the cable, you’ll see that the car’s electrical components begin to function. You will, however, require a second spark from the starter wire. This procedure is similar to electrocution. You should strip the car before starting it.

Because the wires are fully charged, even with rubber gloves on, you must use caution when touching them. To get a spark, connect the starter wire to the battery wire. Simply contact and peel the wire. Do not attempt to bend both wires.

Battery Wire How To Hotwire A Car

5. Start The Engine

The engine will start after the spark has been ignited. Wait a few moments for the car engine to start up properly. When you wish to turn it off, you must identify the ignition wires and detach them from the battery wires.

Our first approach on how to hotwire a car comes to a close with this. Stick with us until the conclusion if you want to try other approaches as well.

How To Hotwire A Car, Method 2: Using Drilling the Lock Pins

The drilling technique will be used in the second approach of how to hotwire a car. As previously indicated, you can open the door using any of the ways described above. You can now begin drilling at the keyhole once you’re inside your automobile.

1. Keyhole Drilling

A hot-wiring steering column is far more difficult than this procedure. However, it is possible that it will be noisier than the hot wiring steering column technique. A screwdriver and a drill are required for this project. You’ll need to drill the metal keyhole up to two-thirds of an inch for this.

The fundamental goal here is to use a screwdriver to pull the locking pins down. There usually are two portions in each lock pin, so you’ll have to drill it twice. Each time you check whether the screwdriver fits in the drill, you must remove it.

2. Place The Screwdriver In The Same Location As Your Key

Insert a hand screwdriver into the keyhole once you’re satisfied that you’ve drilled enough to the length of the key. However, don’t go too far with the flattened screwdriver because it could damage the wiring underneath. You may now use it just like your car keys. To start the engine, simply turn the screwdriver clockwise.

How To Hotwire A Car, Method 3: By Powering the Dashboard

A typical hotwiring approach for starting a car engine is to power the dashboard. However, compared to the other two methods of how to hotwire a car, this method requires more effort. So, without further ado, let’s look at how this hotwiring technique works.

1. Locate The Red Coil Wire Under The Hood Of The Car

Drilling the lock pins requires a little more care than this procedure. You must first open the hood and locate the red coil wire. Almost all V8 engines have both the red coil wire and the plug placed at the back.

2. Jumping Cables Are Used To Power The Dashboard

You’ll need to bend the cables first. Connect the positive end of the coil to the positive terminal of the battery with a wire or the red wire to the coil. After you’ve completed this procedure, your car’s dashboard will power up, requiring only the engine to start.

Jumping Cables

3. Determine The Starter Solenoid

You must locate the starter solenoid here. This may necessitate some research through the manual or the application of a general guideline. This is normally under the steering wheel in cars made by General Motors, for example. In Ford cars, on the other hand, it’s frequently found near the battery.

So, if you own one of these vehicles, it should be simple for you. However, if you’re working with a different type of vehicle, you’ll need to study the owner’s manual.

4. Unlock The Steering Wheel

Then you’ll need to unlock your steering column. A flat-head screwdriver must be inserted into the top of the steering column to open it. The lock pin must then be pushed away from the wheel. After that, you should be able to quickly identify the solenoid.

Steering Wheel

5. Connect The Battery’s Positive Terminal To The Solenoid

Remove the ignition switch wire (for more insight, check out our guide on ignition wire to starter solenoid) from the solenoid and shorten the positive port of the solenoid on the terminal to which the ignition switch is connected with an insulated screwdriver. Finally, if you complete all of the steps correctly, your car will start.

Here are our three most frequent methods for how to hotwire a car. But, before you refresh your memories, we’ve compiled a list of safety considerations to take before hotwiring a car.

How To Hotwire A Car, Method 4: Using A Relay Bypass

In modern cars with advanced security systems, traditional hotwiring methods might not always work. A relay bypass method can help in these cases.

1. Understand The Relay

Relays in cars are used to activate the starter. First, identify the starter relay, often located in the car’s fuse box.

2. Extract The Relay

Gently remove the relay from the socket. You can usually do this with a pair of pliers, ensuring you don’t damage any other fuses or relays nearby.

3. Bypassing The Relay

You’ll notice that the relay has several pins. Two of these pins control the switch; the others are the control circuit. Connect a jumper wire to the switch pins. When you touch these pins with the jumper, you’re effectively bypassing the relay and manually closing the switch.

4. Turn The Engine On

With the relay bypassed, the starter should activate, and the engine will crank. Remember to disconnect the jumper wire immediately after the engine starts.

How To Hotwire A Car, Method 5: Push Start (Manual Transmission Only)

This technique is an old-school method and works exclusively with cars having manual transmissions.

1. Get The Car Moving

Place the car in second gear and keep the clutch pressed down. It’s ideal to have someone push the car, but if you’re on a hill, you can let gravity help.

2. Gain Some Speed

Once the car gets moving and gains some momentum (around 5-10 mph), quickly release the clutch.

3. Start The Engine

Releasing the clutch abruptly will cause the engine to turn over, potentially starting it. Once the engine is running, press the clutch back in to avoid stalling.

Car Won’t Start After Hotwiring

If you’ve completed all of the instructions and properly connected everything, but the car still won’t start, it’s time to switch to a different vehicle. If it doesn’t start, it could signify one of the following:

The Battery Has Run Out Nothing works when the battery is dead, just like starting a car with the keys.
The Head Gasket Has Blown Misfiring can be caused by a blown head gasket. The engine will not start if enough cylinders are misfiring.
It’s Running Out Of Gas Perhaps the previous owner abandoned the car because they ran out of gas.
It’s Still Too New If the car has a security system or is too new, you won’t be able to hotwire it even if you follow all of the steps exactly.
You’ve Crossed Your Wires Double-check everything to be sure you haven’t crossed your wires in any way.

If the first car you try to hotwire won’t start, don’t get too worked up. It’s possible that anything is wrong with it.

Precautions To Take When Hotwiring A Car

If you’re doing your own hotwiring in your automobile, you’ll need to take certain precautions because it’s risky for both you and your vehicle. Before hotwiring a car, you should take the following steps:

  • You have complete proof that you are the owner of the vehicle. Otherwise, it is a crime that might land you in jail.
  • Because there is a chance of obtaining an electric shock, use electrified insulating gloves for protection.
  • The car must be in neutral when hot wiring is being performed.
  • Remove the twisted battery and ignition cables to switch off the vehicle.
  • Do not leave the cables exposed. Insulating tapes should be used to properly insulate the wires.
  • Anti-theft prevention is provided with a steering lock feature. So, take the ignition key barrel out of the steering column first. This will necessitate the use of additional specialist equipment.

Can You Damage A Car By Hotwiring

Yes, the car will suffer some damage as a result of the hotwiring. If you were in an emergency and had to hotwire your car, here is some advice on the type of repair work you should expect after the issue has been resolved. Because you have to cut and strip cables, the wiring is the first and most evident damage.

Chipped Key

The ignition system, on the other hand, will be harmed. The ignition switch is damaged if you shove a screwdriver into the keyhole. The next point to mention is the steering wheel lock system, which you had to disable to steer the car. This is more or less what you will need to get repaired if the hotwiring operation is done correctly.

As long as there are no short-circuiting or melted wires, a mechanic who is familiar with wiring repair should be able to bring your car back in working order. Hotwiring, contrary to popular belief, does not harm the engine when done correctly.

Hot-Wiring a Car: Need-to-Know Facts

  1. Most newer car models have safety measures that prevent hot-wiring, but older models up to the mid-90s are good candidates for hot-wiring.
  2. Hot-wiring a car without the owner’s permission is illegal, and breaking into a car can set off an alarm if it is equipped.
  3. Serious damage to the car’s steering column and shifting mechanism can result from hot-wiring.
  4. The plastic cover on the steering column can be removed by releasing the clips or screws.
  5. The wiring harness connector is usually a roil of electrical wires, which can be intimidating, but it’s essential to recognize the right bundle to proceed.
  6. The battery, ignition, and starter wire bundle should be identified, and one of these will be the primary power supply for the ignition switch, one will be ignition wires, and the other will be the starter.
  7. You should strip about 1 inch of insulation from the battery wires and twist them together, connecting the ignition on/off wire to the battery wire, and sparking the starter wire to start the car.
  8. You can detach the starter wire once the engine starts, but you need to break the steering lock before driving the car.
  9. You can break the steering lock by popping off the metal keyhole or cranking the wheel hard to either side.
  10. Powering the dashboard is essential if you want to start the engine, and you can connect the solenoid to the positive battery terminal to activate the solenoid, and the starter should crank the car.

Hotwire A Car: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some popular FAQs:

What Wires Go To Ignition Switch

Generally, most cars will have a 4-pin layout to wire in the ignition switch, which you’ll have to learn in how to hotwire a car. These terminals are usually labeled as BATT, which connects the ignition switch to the battery. We then have ST, which connects to the starter solenoid. Next, there’s IGN, which is the default terminal for your car’s ignition and other accessories. Finally, there’s ACC, which connects to and powers your car’s accessories, such as the radio, lights, etc.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key

If your car is newer and has an immobilizer, you’ll have to bypass that first. But once that’s done (or if you have an older car, which is generally easier to get past), you can begin with turning it on. The first technique that you can try is the hotwire a car method as we’ve explained earlier. Another trick would be to call your nearby locksmith to turn it on for you. Otherwise, you could brute force it using a screwdriver or drill, and put pressure on the ignition tumbler (aka the keyhole).

How To Start A Car Without A Key

Besides learning how to hotwire your car, there are other techniques that you can apply here. Alternatively, you might consider the aforementioned drill and screwdriver method. In doing so, you’re essentially disabling and tricking the locking pins to let you start a car without a key. However, this might damage the ignition tumbler (keyhole). Another technique would be trying to find a red coil wire under the hood, powering the dashboard, and shorting the solenoid switch to make it crank your car.

Ignition Switch Wiring Passlock Bypass Diagram

Pass-Lock was GM’s proprietary anti-theft system, and it’s known to be riddled with issues. So, if you need to bypass a faulty Passlock system, you’ll need to understand its wiring diagram. First, disassemble the steering column, and find a 3-wire ribbon cable, with the colors white, black, and yellow. You can then turn the ignition key to the RUN position (not starting your car). Strip a portion of the yellow wire, contact it with exposed copper on the black wire, and measure the resistance going through them.

Chevy Ignition Switch Wire Colors

With Chevrolet’s ignition switches, there are three colors to worry about for the primary wires to lead into them. There’s a RED (10-gauge) wire for the battery, connecting the ignition switch to the alternator and fuse panel. Then, we have a PINK (12-gauge) wire, which is the default ignition wiring that leads to the ignition switch and fuse panel. Finally, there’s a BROWN (12-gauge) wire which behaves as the accessory feed from the ignition switch to your in-car electrics.

How To Hotwire A Car With A Screwdriver

To begin, take a flat screwdriver and insert it into the upper center of the steering column. Following that, you must locate and remove a locking pin from the steering wheel. Now connect the solenoid to the positive battery terminal once you’ve found it, and the car should start.

When It Comes To Hotwiring A Car, How Long Does It Take?

If you have all of the necessary tools and know-how to hotwire a car, it will take you around three minutes. However, if this is your first time, it may take a little longer.

Is It Possible To Open A Car Door With A Tennis Ball?

Yes, you certainly can. For that, you have to make a hole in the tennis ball and carry it to the vehicle door, which should be placed over the keyhole. Then press as hard as you can so that the ball’s air pressure flows through the keyhole and compels the locking mechanism to unlock.

Is It Difficult To Hotwire A Vehicle?

It’s simple to hotwire an old car. However, it varies from company to company and car to car. The newer models of the well-known automobile manufacturer include a chip in their car key that is required to initiate the ignition procedure. In short, it is determined by the security system installed in the vehicle.

Is It Possible To Hotwire A Car Using A Chipped Key?

A chipped key is part of a new automotive model. The car will not start without that chip. As a result, hotwiring a car with a chipped key is almost impossible.

Is It Illegal To Use A Hotwire In My Vehicle?

There’s nothing wrong with hotwiring your own car in an emergency. But it’s against the law to do it with someone else’s car. However, because hotwiring is frequently utilized in an auto theft, it’s best to have your driver’s license and proof of vehicle ownership on hand when hotwiring your vehicle. Another factor to consider is that hotwiring necessitates a certain level of expertise. If done incorrectly, the vehicle may sustain costly damage. To prevent liability if something goes wrong, it’s advisable not to try to hotwire someone else’s car.

How To Hotwire A Car: In Conclusion…

The term “hotwire” refers to a method of starting vehicles’ engines without the use of a physical key. This procedure is usually only done in an emergency. Some professional criminals, on the other hand, utilize it to steal cars.

The process is, however, a little cumbersome for first-time users. We had gone over all of the common methods for how to hotwire a car. Aside from that, owing to the enhanced security systems in newer models of cars, these approaches may not work.

Overall, the three most common methods on how to hotwire a car are hotwiring the steering column, drilling lock pins, and powering the dash. Drilling the lock pins is the simplest technique to hotwire a car. While the most crucial factor to remember is that your vehicle should be neutral. It’s also easy to damage your car if you don’t do it right.

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