car ignition lock

How to Hotwire a Car in an Emergency Situation

In Electric by Magnus Sellén3 Comments

car ignition lockIf you have watched car theft movies, then you have seen how thieves break into a car and start it without the keys through a set of wires.

While we are not advocating for car theft, the ability to hotwire your car will come in handy when you lose your car keys.

Newer cars use an immobilizer system, which means that you need the chip inside the key close to the ignition lock to start your car. This means that hotwiring will not work in newer cars. Always check if your car is equipped with an immobilizer before trying to hotwire it.

There are still ways to go around the immobilizer, but you need a lot more knowledge to do these kinds of things.

Before you can start removing the wire, check the owner’s manual for a wiring diagram.

1. Remove plastic covering steering column

Using a screwdriver remove the screws underneath the steering wheel. Here you should find the wiring harness connector for the ignition lock. You will need to consult the car’s wiring diagram to identify the wires.

2. Wiring harness connector

On one side of the harness, you will find lights, wipers, and ignition wiring. We are interested in the bundle that goes to the ignition lock, that contains the ignition, battery, and starter wires. Depending on the manufacturers manual one of these wires will be for the ignition switch, another for the starter and the other ignition wires.

Make sure that you have the correct wiring diagram for your car and locate the ignition wire, the 12v+ battery wire, and the starter wire. 

The battery wires are usually red while the starter yellow and the ignition wires brown. You should always make sure to confirm with the owner’s manual.

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car hotwire

3. Stripping insulation

You will need pliers for this. Using the sharp part of the pliers strip the battery wires and ignition wires off one inch or 2.5 cm. Use an electrician tape to wrap the two wires together. The insulated wires should not short as they are the ones that provide electricity to the ignition parts.

4. Car’s electrical components turn on

When you attach the ignition on/off the wire and battery wire you should see the electrical components in the car coming to life. You can turn on the radio. To start the car you will need to go further and get a spark from the starter wire. This is the part that is a bit dangerous.

5. Strip the starter wire

To fire up the car’s engine you will first need to strip the starter wire 1.3 cm or half an inch. The wires have a charge on them so you need to extremely careful when you are handling the wires. What you are looking for is a spark. Let this starter wire be exposed to the battery wire. Do not attempt to twist the wires.

6. Firing the engine

Now that you have the spark, the engine should roar to life. Rev it for a few seconds so that it does not immediately stall. If the engine is working fine, you can now disconnect the starter wire. When you want to switch off the engine, identify the ignition wires and unfasten the battery wires.

Drilling lock pins

This method should only be done in emergency situations.

The other method to get access to your car is to drill the lock pins. The aim of this method of starting the car is to use a screwdriver to turn on the ignition instead of a key. Position the drill on the keyhole until it is 60 percent covered up. Using the length of the key as your guide, drill your way into the keyhole until you have small pits of metal coming out. Every keyhole has two parts of the spring.

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Note that this method will destroy your keyhole. Remove the drill and use a screwdriver to turn on the ignition. Since all the pins are now broken, you do not have to push the screwdriver that deep. The engine will roar back to life. Note that once you have destroyed the keyhole any person can steal your car.


Hot wiring a car should be used in dire circumstances as it ruins your keyhole. A faulty keyhole opens up your car to theft. The process is more complicated in cars that are running through complex electronic gadgets. The alarm system is also complex and it will not allow you to easily dismantle the car wires.

Hot wiring should only be used for emergency situations and for a car that you have a title. Otherwise, it is treated as car theft if you are caught doing it on a car that is not yours.

In modern cars, you need to interfere with the central computer systems. This necessitates you to have extensive knowledge of computer systems and wiring. However, the process is simplified for cars made before the 90s.

You should observe safety as you run the risk of sparks from the loose wires. Do not leave the wires in contact with the metallic parts of the car. When attempting to hotwire your car ensure that it is parked at neutral for manual cars or at parking for automatic cars. The emergency brakes should also be applied when performing the exercise. Note that hot-wiring your car may damage some of the components if done wrong.

  1. Yes it was very informative, I wish to know though I have been hot wiring my car and constantly changing a module. Last night it refused to start. I am not sure if it is the module again or more damaged has been done.

    Car is Jetta 3.

  2. Hay I’m Allen monteith I have a 07 Ford F-150 I got my truck stolen almost a hr ago and got the truck back but not the only key I had had someone take the transponder out to try and bypass it thay came back with it broke all up iv read about all PATS coconuts all have to be from the same codes so I was wondering what all do I need to change for my truck to run again thanks

  3. Good evening everyone. I ask about my car hyundai starex vgt I lost the key now I find a locksmith to make other key to start the my car. But I put it on and start the car is not starting. Can u help me. The mechanic said maybe the I need a new immobilizer transponder chip

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