Hotwiring is the process of bypassing the ignition point to unlock a car and drive it out. It is usually possible with vehicles manufactured up to the mid-90s. Unlike older models, makers of newer models hide away all the wiring units.
It is good practice to ensure you follow the manual when tampering with the wiring system. If you misplace your keys and don’t know how to hotwire a car, do not worry. We have provided simple and easy ways on how to hotwire a car step by step.
3 Ways to Hotwire a Car
Before going into detail, it’s important to provide a list of the three proven methods to bypass the ignition. These are:
- Power the dashboard
- Drill a hole in the lock area
- Tamper with the wire under the steering
It is crucial to discuss these methods one after the other. The aim is to help you understand how to hotwire a car in an emergency.
Power the Dashboard
Step 1: Find the Red Coil Wire under the Hood
The plug and coil wire are built at the rear of cars with V8 engines. For four-cylinder engines, you will find it on the right side, close to the middle of the engine. Six-cylinder engines have them on the left side near the center of the engine.
Step 2: Connect the Jump Cable
Connect a jump cable to the positive terminal battery terminal to any of the positive terminal on the coil. Another alternative is to link it to the red wire leading to the coil. This action will power the dashboard and the engine will start at once.
Find the starter solenoid located on the right-side fender near the battery if you are using a Ford car. GM cars have it on the starter somewhere under the steering wheel.
Step 3: Unlock the Steering Wheel
Insert a flat screwdriver between the column and the wheel and push. The idea is to push the lock pin out of the way, so push as hard as you can if you want it to work. Eventually, the lock pins will either shatter or trigger an alarm, and you will see the solenoid beneath.
Step 4: Join the Solenoid to the Battery Positive Terminal
On top of the solenoid, you will find a small wire while the battery cable is located below. Disconnect the wire of the ignition switch from the solenoid with the help of an insulated screwdriver.
Connect the battery positive terminal to the connecting point of the ignition switch. This connection will allow 12 volts to flow from the battery and activate the solenoid. The engine will make a starting sound and come alive if done well.
Tamper With the Wire under the Steering Wheel
Step 1: Take Away the Plastic Covers of the Steering Column
Here is another method of how to hotwire a car to get the desired result. With the help of a screwdriver, unscrew the steering column. Remove the cover to gain access to the panel.
For older car models, you may choose to break the lock pins. This is done by putting a flathead screwdriver in the keyhole and hit with a hammer. It may be challenging to do by hand unless the car model has a built that allows it.
Step 2: Locate the Right Bundle of Wire
Once the plastic cover is out of the way, you will see bundles of electrical cables. This process shouldn’t intimidate you as long as you’re able to recognize the right roll of wire. There are usually three bundles, and all you need to do is locate the wiring harness connector.
The wiring harness connector is the wire that leads to the battery, ignition, and starter. It links further to the steering column, which you know is the starting area. Read the car manual carefully to recognize the differences among the wires in the panel.
Remove the wire bundle from the ignition, battery, and starter. One of these supplies power to the ignition switch, the others are for the starter and ignition wires. You will find wires of different colors, but reading the manual will help you identify them correctly.
In some case, the ignition is brown, the starter wire yellow and red is usually the color for the battery. Always refer to the manual to avoid making costly mistakes. Be careful while you move the wires as this can get you electrocuted.
Cut off an inch of the insulation on the battery wires and join them together. Cover them with insulation tape to keep them from touching the surrounding metal of the car. This connection will provide power to the ignition section, which will enable the vehicle to start.
Step 3: Connect the On/Off Wire to the Battery
At this point, the dashboard and other components are showing signs of electric power running through them. If you aim to listen to the radio, you can do so at this stage. But if you want to drive the car out of your garage, you have to bridge the starting wire.
Sparking the starting wire is dangerous, so you need to take all necessary precautions. Peel off the wire of the ignition and hold them carefully, making sure they don’t spark without your consent. Touch the bare wire on the battery wires and let it spark, but avoid the temptation to twist it around.
The car will start immediately, and you can drive it out at that moment. If you want to know how to hotwire a car fast, this may be an easy way.
Step 4: Rev the Engine a Few Times
Once the car starts, rev the engine a few times to encourage it to run steadily. Remove the starter wire and drive on if that is what you want. When you are done, you can simply stop the engine by disconnecting the battery wire from the ignition wire.
Essential Using the Steering Column Method
Even though this method looks easy and fast, always remember the following tips.
- You need electrical tape, a screwdriver, a pocket knife, and safety gloves.
- If you are not the owner of a car, don’t attempt to break in. False entry will trigger an alarm, and you wouldn’t like to be linked to car theft.
- Check the owner’s manual to ensure you can bypass the steering column and gear selection before using this method.
Neglecting this vital advice can cause severe damage to the steering column and shifting mechanism.
Drill a Hole in the Lock Area
Have you ever wondered how to hotwire a car with a screwdriver? This method is the first, although you may use any suitable technique based on your car model. Now, let’s explain the steps on how to hotwire a car by drilling a hole in the lock area.
Step 1: Place the Drill Right on the Keyhole
Take a drill and place it on the keyhole, and allow it to drill inward. Keep in mind that the purpose is to shatter the pins and make it easy to unlock with a screwdriver. You use this method when you have truly lost your car keys.
The drilling should not be longer than the length of the key. There are two sections for every lock pin, and they come before a metal spring. Drill a little, and then remove the drill and drill again to allow the pieces to fall in line.
2. Put in the Screwdriver
This time, you don’t have to push in the screwdriver deeper because the pins have already fallen apart. Turn the screwdriver clockwise just like a key and start the engine. Even though this method seems cool, anyone with a screwdriver can get in and drive away with the car.
Losing car keys is an experience most car owners dread most, but that doesn’t have to remain a nightmare. You can bypass the steering column, drill the keyhole, or power the dashboard to bring your car back to life.
Whether you read this article or watched the how to hotwire a car YouTube on this page, remember these important facts.
- Get all materials and safety gears ready
- Use the hotwiring methods that suit your car model
- Take necessary precaution to avoid electrocution
- Consult the owner’s manual for guidance
Have you ever lost your car keys or have some questions regarding how to hotwire a car without damaging it? Feel free to use the comment section, and let’s discuss it together and make suggestions.