How to Hotwire a Car 3 Best-Known Cheats

hotwiring a car

How to Hotwire a Car? You must have seen various techniques for starting a car by some wiring at the car dashboard. But very few of you know, this technique is called hotwiring the car.

So, are you looking for “how to hotwire a car?” If yes, then stick to this post. And we promise, with the end of this post you are gonna know all the small details of hotwiring a car.

However, if you have keys and your car won’t start, check our dedicated post Why Won’t My Car Start- 11 Basic Reason Along With Solutions.

But before jumping to the post, a disclaimer here. This post is for educational purposes only and we are not promoting any illegal activity.

In this post of “how to hotwire a car?“, we are going to talk about the basics of hotwiring a car which includes important tools, methods, precautions, and frequently asked questions related to hotwiring a car.

So let’s start with the introduction section.

What is Hotwiring a Car?

Hotwiring a car is nothing but a process in which the engine of a motor vehicle starts without using a car key.  As stated earlier, you may have seen it in many TV shows and movies or during a vehicle theft.

The process of hotwiring a car is not only used by the thieves, but they are often used by the car owner when they lose their car key or in an emergency.

But the process of hotwiring in newer model cars is a bit harder than in the old vehicle of the 1990s or earlier. In today’s modern vehicles, they have electronic and computerized locking systems that automatically shut down various parts of the car’s system such as turning off the power of fuel pumps, sparkplugs, and crank sensors.

That’s why if you are googling “how to hotwire a car?” for your modern car, then it might not work in your case.

Important note: Before you try to hotwire your own car, you need to take some precautions or be aware of your personal safety and risk to the vehicle. Because there is a possibility that the wiring system deteriorates during hotwiring.

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Unlocking a Car Door Without a Key

Unlocking a Car Door Without a Key

The very first step to hotwire a car is to open the car’s doors without a key. There are several methods for unlocking it. But, one thing not that common is, there is a wide variety of locking mechanisms that vary widely in different car models.

Today’s models have a power lock remote control mechanism to open them but for older model cars, it opens manually. So, it is quite easy to open such cars. Here are some methods for unlocking a car door without a key. These are as follows:

Use a Coat Hanger

Take a hanger, bend it, and make a hook that easily goes inside the car window stripping and open car from inside. Now, you have to find the locking mechanism, but it takes some time. Therefore, keep calm.

Use your phone flashlight to locate the car’s locking mechanism. Because it can be helpful for you to find out where your hanger is.

Use Your Shoestring

Before using this method you should clearly know that this method only works on a single type of locking mechanism that is unlocked by pulling upwards.

Take the ends of the shoelace on both hands and tie a small loop in the middle. Then try to place it around the locking mechanism and hook it around the lock. Then tighten the loop and pull the unlock string up.

Use a Strip of Plastic

This method is much easier than a shoelace. To unlock the car door you can use a plastic strip. However, this method only works if you have an upward locking mechanism instead of sideways.

So, take a long plastic strap that is folded in half and slips through the crack of the door. Also, you will need a set of plastic wedges to open the door.

Use a Long Rod or Slim-Jim

Take a long rod and bend it like a curved shape or you can use the slim-jim tool. Now, insert it between the window and the weather-stripping to grab the lock rod.

However, you also use the screwdriver to open the car door slightly to get some room to insert the slim-jim tool. Now, slide the rod into the gap and pull the button to unlock the door.

Note: Be careful when using this method to open your car door as it may permanently damage the glass or paint. Even in rare cases, it may permanently bend your car closing doors.

The Hail Mary— Tennis Ball

Surprisingly, but true— using a tennis ball you can unlock a car door. In this process, you have to make a hole in the tennis ball and place it over the keyhole.

After that, you have to push harder. Meanwhile, the pressure created in the ball travels through the keyhole and forces the locking mechanism to unlock.

Take Help from Police/Security Assistance

The best and easiest way to unlock your car door without a key is by calling the Department of Public Safety. They usually open the door using a car opening toolkit. Therefore, when you have no other possibility or don’t want to try the above methods for opening the door, call the authorities.

With this, our major section before “how to hotwire a car” ends here. Now, if you already have a toolkit then it is good. But if not, try to grab tools that are listed in the next section.

Tools Required for Hotwiring a Car

Tools Required for Hotwiring a Car

Here are some important tools that are required for hotwiring a car:

  • An electrical tape
  • Wire stripper(cutters)
  • Pliers
  • A sledgehammer
  • One flathead screwdriver
  • Insulated gloves
  • And of course, a car with proof of ownership so that you can really manipulate it

So, you grab your equipment, now its time to get things done. And its time to transcribe the recipe of how to hotwire a car?

What wires do you use to Hotwire a Car?

Locate the battery, ignition, and starting wire bundles from there. The battery cables are nearly always red, whereas the ignition wires are brown or yellow. Only the two battery wires need to be stripped of their insulation and knotted together (at least an inch below).

Methods on How to Hotwire a Car for Beginners

In this section, we are going to discuss three common ways of how to hotwire a car. But these methods undoubtedly work in older cars but generally fails in new models car that has an automated security system.

These methods can also explains you on how to hotwire an old car.

  • Hot-Wiring the Steering Column
  • Drilling the Lock Pins
  • Powering the Dash

Method 1: Hotwiring the Steering Column

how to hotwire a car? Hot wiring the steering column

The very first method in “how to hotwire a car” is to enter the car. For this, you can use any of the above-listed methods to open the door of the car.

Remove the plastic cover

You must first enter the car and remove the plastic cover on the steering column so that you can easily reach the electrical panels.

But it is very difficult or impossible to break the locking pin by hand. So, for this, you can use a flattened screwdriver in the keyhole to free it.

Find out the wiring fittings

After removing the panels, you are now seeing a lot of wires. At that time, the first thing you should do is—don’t frighten. Particularly, there are three bundles of wires that includes:

  • Wires that control one side of lights, and other indicators. 
  • Wires that control wipers and warmers. 
  • Wires related to ignition, battery, and starter. 

Pull out the ignition, starter, and battery wires

The primary source for the power supply to the ignition switch is ignition and starter wiring. Typically, the ignition and starter wires are brown and yellow in color.

But these colors may also depend on the manufacturer. For identification and accuracy, read the owner’s manual or look online.

Strip Ignition wire with the battery wire

Now, you have to use a sharp blade to cut an inch of both ignition and battery wires. Then wrap the two wires together. When you attach the wire, you see that the electrical components of the car are starting to work.

However, you will need another spark from the starter wire. But this process is a bit electrocution. To start the car, you should strip it.

The wires are fully charged, so you have to be careful when handling the wires even you are wearing rubber gloves. Connect the starter wire to the battery wire to obtain a spark. You just have to touch and strip the wire and don’t try to bend both wires.

Ignite the Engine

After sparking, the engine will be started.  Wait for a few seconds, till the car engine working properly. And when you want to stop it, you have to recognize the ignition wires and disconnect with the battery wires.

And with this, our first method on how to hotwire a car ends here. If you want to try other methods too, stick to us till the end.

Method 2: Drilling the Lock Pins

Method 2: Drilling the Lock Pins | how to hotwire a car

In the second method of how to hotwire a car, we are going to use the drilling technique. As stated earlier you can use any of the above-listed methods to open the door. Once, you’re inside your car, you can now start the drilling at the keyhole.

Drill the Keyhole

This method is much easier than a hot-wiring steering column. But it might be too noisy than the hotwiring steering column method. Here you need a few things like a screwdriver and a drill. In this, you have to drill the metal keyhole up to a two-third inch.

The main objective here is to pull the locking pins down using a screwdriver. In each lock pin, there are usually two sections, so you will have to drill it more than once. You must remove the drill each time to check whether or not, the screwdriver fits in it.

Meanwhile, try not to over-drill the passage because if the screwdriver loses enough, it may fail to open the lock.

Put the screwdriver the same way as you put your key

When you feel you drill enough to the length of the key, you now insert a hand screwdriver into the keyhole. However, do not insert the flattened screwdriver deeply as it might damage the wiring beneath it.

Now, you can use it in the same way you use your car keys. Simply turn the screwdriver clockwise to turn the engine on.

Warning: This method will permanently destroy your keyhole and anyone can easily steal your car. So, watch the necessity of the situation and do accordingly.

And with this warning disclosure, our second method on how to hotwire a car ended. But if you don’t want to spoil your ignition keyhole then check our third method on how to hotwire a car.

Method 3: Powering the Dash

Method 3: Powering the Dash

Powering the dashboard is also a common hotwiring technique to start a car engine. But in this method, you need to do extra efforts as compared to the other two techniques of how to hotwire a car. So, without wasting any time, let’s dig into the process of this hotwiring technique.

Open the car hood and find out the red coil wire

This method requires a little more thinking than drilling the lock pins. Here you first have to open the hood and find out the red coil wire. Generally, both the red coil wire and the plug are located at the back of almost all V8 engines.

Power the Dashboard with Jumping Cables

Now first, you have to bend the cables. Connect a wire to the positive terminal of the battery with the positive end of the coil (or you can say, the red wire to the coil). Once you have done this process, your car’s dashboard power-up which only requires the engine to start.

Find out the Starter Solenoid

Here you have to find the starter solenoid. For this, you may have to do some research through the car manual or follow the general rule. As, for instance, on cars of General Motors, this is usually under the steering wheel. On the other hand, in Ford cars, it is usually found near the battery.

So, if you have either of these cars then it would now easy for you. But if you’re dealing with other types of cars, you must have to check the car manual.

Unlock the Steering Wheel

And after that, you have to unlock your steering column. To unlock it, you must insert a flat-head screwdriver into the top of the steering column. Then you have to push the lock pin away from the wheel. After doing this, you should easily identify the solenoid.

Connect the solenoid to the positive battery terminal

Now, remove the ignition switch wire from the solenoid, and using an insulated screwdriver, shorten the solenoid’s positive port on the terminal, where the ignition switch is connected. Finally, if you do all the things in the right way, your car will start.

With this, our three common methods of how to hotwire a car end here. But, before refreshing your thoughts, we have listed down some precautions that you should follow during hotwiring a car.

Precautions While Hotwiring a Car

If you are performing hotwiring in your own car, then you may have to take some precautions because it is dangerous for you and also for your motor vehicle. These are some precautions that you should take before hotwiring a car. 

  • You have full proof evidence that you are the owner of the car otherwise it is a crime, which might lead you behind the bars.
  • Wear an electrocuted insulating gloves for protection as there is a possibility of getting an electric shock. 
  • While performing hotwiring a car, the car must be in a neutral position.
  • To turn off the vehicle, remove the twisted battery and ignition wires.
  • Do not leave the naked wires. You should properly insulate the wires with insulating tapes.
  • There is a steering lock feature for anti-theft protection. So, first, remove the ignition key barrel from the steering column. You need other specialized equipment to do this.

How to start a car without a key or Hot wiring

Using hotwiring to start a car without the keys is an excellent option. It’s a method of evading the car’s on-board ignition mechanism. For the most part, it works with vehicles built after the mid-1990s. Removing the plastic cover from the steering column is a simple matter of doing.

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General FAQs

How to hotwire a car with a screwdriver?

Firstly you have to get a flat screwdriver and place it in the top center of the steering column. After that, you have to find a locking pin that you have to push out from the steering wheel. When you find the solenoid, connect it with the positive battery terminal, and eventually, the car will start.

How long does it take to hotwire a car?

It takes about three minutes if you have all the equipment and you have a good knowledge of hotwiring a car. But, if you are doing it for the first time, it might take a bit longer.

Can you unlock a car door with a tennis ball?

Yes, you can. Make a hole in the tennis ball and take the tennis ball to the car door and place it above the keyhole. After that, you have to press as hard as possible, so that the air pressure of the ball travels through the keyhole and forces the locking mechanism to unlock.

Is it hard to hotwire a car?

Old cars can easily be hotwired. But it also depends on company to company and car to car. In the newer model of the famous motor company, they have a chip in their key fob that is necessary to start the ignition process. In short, it depends on the security system that is installed in the car.

How to hotwire a car with a chip key?

The chip key is the components of a new car model. And without that unique chip, the car doesn’t start. So, it is nearly impossible to hotwire a car with a chipped key.

How to Hotwire a car without Tools

Once the engine has been started, remove the stripped end of the brown wire and tape the other end. A few concluding thoughts. Hotwiring a vehicle should only be done in an emergency. It is illegal to own the tools needed to hotwire an automobile; follow this instructions with caution. A car’s CAN bus system is a collection of the vehicle’s on-board computers that allows them to communicate and cooperate to perform all of the vehicle’s necessary functions.


Hotwire means a process in which the engines of vehicles start without using any actual car key. This process is typically used only in an emergency. However, it is also used by some professional thieves to steal cars.

Nevertheless, the process is a bit complicated for first-time users. But, we had discussed all the common techniques on how to hotwire a car. Besides this, these techniques might not work in new model cars because of their advanced security system.

Altogether, these are the three most popular ways on how to hotwire a car such as heating the steering column, drilling lock pins, and powering the dash. But the easiest way to hotwire a car is by drilling the lock pins.

While the most important thing you should consider is that your car should be in a neutral position. And if you don’t do it correctly, your car can easily get damaged.

So, with this. we conclusively listed all the vital information on the topic “how to hotwire a car?”. But, these are some of the most frequently asked questions that users usually search on Google.

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