car ignition lock

How to Hotwire a Car in an Emergency Situation

In Electric by Magnus Sellén3 Comments

car ignition lock

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.

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

1. Remove the plastic cover of the steering column

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws under the steering wheel. Here you should find the wiring harness connection for the ignition lock. You have to consult the car’s wiring diagram to identify the cables.

2. Figure out the wiring harness connector

On one side of the wiring harness, you will find lights, wipers, and ignition cables. We are interested in the bundle leading to the ignition lock, which contains the ignition, battery and starter cables. Depending on the manufacturer’s manual, one of these wires will be for the ignition lock, another for the starter, and the other ignition cables.

Make sure you have the correct circuit diagram for your car and look for the ignition wire, the 12V+ battery wire, and the starter wire.

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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.

car hotwire

3. Strip the insulation

You will need pliers for this. Use the sharp part of the pliers to pull off the battery and ignition cables one inch or 2.5 cm. Wrap the two wires together with insulating tape. The insulated wires should not be short, as they are the ones that power the ignition parts.

4. Turn on the car’s electrical components

When you attach the ignition cable and the battery cable, you should see the electrical components in the car come to life. You can turn on the radio. To start the car, you must go further and get a spark from the starter wire. This is the part that is a little dangerous.

5. Strip the starter wire

To start the engine of the car, you must first strip the starter wire 1.3 cm or half an inch. The wires are charged, so you must be extremely careful when handling the wires. What you are looking for is a spark. Let this starter wire be exposed to the battery wire. Do not try to twist the wires.

6. Ignite the engine

Now that you have the spark, the engine should come alive. Turn it up for a few seconds so that it doesn’t stop immediately. If the engine works properly, you can now release the starter wire. If you want to stop the engine, identify the ignition wires and disconnect the battery wires.

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.

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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.


The hot-wiring of a car should be used only in emergency circumstances as it will ruin your keyhole. A faulty keyhole opens your car for theft. The process is more complicated for cars that ignite through complex electronic devices. The alarm system is also complex and does not allow you to easily remove the car cables.

Hot wiring should only be used for emergencies and for a car for which you have a title. Otherwise, it will be treated as car theft if you are caught stealing a car that does not belong to you.

In modern cars, you need to access the central computer systems. This requires that you have a thorough knowledge of computer systems and wiring. However, in cars manufactured before the 1990s, the procedure is much simpler.

You should pay attention to safety, as you run the risk of getting sparks from the loose wires. Do not leave the wires in contact with the metal parts of the car. If you try to short-circuit your car, make sure that it is parked in the neutral position for cars with manual transmission or in the parking gear for automatic cars. When performing the exercise, the emergency brakes should also be applied. Note that hot wiring your car can damage some of the components if done incorrectly.

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

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3 thoughts on “ How to Hotwire a Car in an Emergency Situation ”

  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

  4. Due to a very high demand and high ammount of comments, you have to wait for some time for your car questions to get answered. If you want to get fast answers from a certified master technician you can ask your questions here:
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