If you have watched movies about car theft, you have seen thieves break into a car and start it without a key through a set of wires.
While we do not advocate car theft, the ability to hot-wire your car will prove useful if you lose your car keys.
Newer cars use an immobilizer, which means you need the chip in the key near the ignition to start your car. So in newer cars, hot wiring will not work. Always check to see if your car is equipped with an immobilizer before trying to hotwire it.
There are still ways to bypass the immobilizer, but you need a lot more knowledge to do that kind of thing.
How to Hotwire a Car
Total Time: 5 minutes
1. Remove the plastic cover around the steering column
First, you need to remove the plastic cover around the steering column to reach the ignition switch. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws under the steering wheel. Here you should find the wiring harness connection for the ignition switch.
2. Locate the ignition switch plug
Check the ignition switch’s backside, and you are going to find a connector going to the ignition switch. You can either remove the connector to short the wires or cut the wires to short them.
3. Figure out the ignition switch wirings
This is the most important part of making a successful hotwiring. You have to find out which connector is doing what. You can find the wiring diagram marked on the ignition lock on some cars, but most often, you have to check a wiring diagram to know which wire is going where.
You need to figure out the battery+, ignition, and starter motor wires. The battery cables are normally red, while the starter is yellow, and the ignition cables are brown. You should always confirm this with the owner’s manual, though.
Remember that if you don’t find the correct wiring diagram and put the wrong wires together, you can burn expensive parts like engine control units and even put your car on fire.
4. Cut & Strip the battery, starter, and ignition wires
Once you have located the starter, ignition, and battery+ wires, it is time to strip them – if you don’t choose to short them in the connector instead.
5. Twist the ignition + battery cable
Begin by twisting the ignition and the battery+ cable together. There should be a slight spark when you connect them, but if there is more than that, you have for sure found the wrong wires.
6. Check if the ignition is turned on
Once the ignition and battery+ wires are connected, you should hear the ignition in your car turn on, and you should, in most cars, also hear the fuel pump starting. If nothing happens, you probably found the wrong battery+ or ignition cable.
7. Hold the starter + battery cable together
After you are sure that the ignition is on, it is time to make the engine turn around to start. To do this, hold together the starter motor cable and the battery+ source for a couple of seconds until the car starts. When the car starts, you need to remove these two cables from each other, but keep the battery+ and ignition cables twisted together.
8. Break the steering lock
The last step is to break or release the steering lock if your car is equipped with one. This can be really tough in some cars, and you really need some muscles for this.
However, after you have broken the steering wheel lock, you should have a functional car.
To shut off the car, remove the ignition and battery+ wires from each other, and the car should die immediately.
- Wire Stripper
- Wiring diagram
Drilling of lock pins
This method should only be used in emergency situations.
The other method to gain access to your car is to drill the lock pins. The purpose of this method of starting the car is to turn on the ignition with a screwdriver instead of a key. Place the drill bit on the keyhole until it is 60 percent covered. Orient yourself on the length of the key and drill into the keyhole until small metal pits come out. Each keyhole has two parts of the spring.
Note that this method will destroy your keyhole. Remove the drill and use a screwdriver to turn on the ignition. Now that all the pins are broken, you don’t need to press the screwdriver so hard. The engine will come to life. Be aware that once you have broken the keyhole, anyone can steal your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it actually possible to hotwire a car?
Many cars, especially older ones, can be hotwired. With this procedure, which involves bypassing the ignition system, it’s possible to start the vehicle without using a key. This, however, is illegal in most states and may be considered theft. Moreover, trying to hotwire a car can be dangerous, as it can cause damage or injury. In addition, hotwiring a newer car is almost impossible, as these have advanced security systems, such as immobilizers and anti-theft alarms.
What is the easiest way to hotwire a car?
To hotwire a car, you’ll first have to gain access to the ignition switch and the wires connected to it. This involves removing plastic trims surrounding the key lock, which may be on the steering wheel column or the dashboard. With that done, you’ll have to figure out what each of the wires does, and then connect the battery and ignition wire by twisting them together. This, if done correctly, should illuminate the dashboard, like when you turn on the ignition. Lastly, to crank the engine, press the starter motor wire against the positive one. Once the engine is running, disconnect these two wires.
How can I start my car without a key?
If your car doesn’t have an immobilizer or other anti-theft devices, you could start it without a key. One way of doing this is by overriding the ignition lock by hotwiring the wires behind it. To do this, you’ll have to figure out which wire does what and then correctly connect them together. Alternatively, you could drill out the ignition lock and then use a screwdriver to turn on the engine.
What does hotwiring a car mean?
Hotwiring a car is a specialized procedure that starts the engine without using a key. It accomplishes this by bypassing the vehicle’s ignition system. To do this, you will have to locate the wires connected to the ignition switch and join them together in the correct way to turn on the engine. But you should be aware that hotwiring can be dangerous, as it may cause damage to the car’s electrical system. And in case you haven’t know, this is how car thieves usually steal vehicles.
You’ve probably seen many movies where the character breaks into a car and starts its engine by messing up with some wires under the dashboard. And when watching it being done on the screen, this car-theft method looks easy.
While we’re not suggesting you should get involved in any illegal activities, there are situations where hotwiring your car might be necessary. To do this, you’ll have to gain access to the wires leading to the ignition switch and connect them correctly. Or alternatively, you could drill out the ignition lock and then use a screwdriver to turn on the engine.