On most newer cars it is not easy to access the wiring, the steering column is often equipped with all kinds of safety measures to prevent the car from being started without a key. But with older cars (until the mid-1990s) it is often possible to start without a key, very useful if you have lost your keys. Be very careful when working with the wiring and read the owner's manual for specific instructions on the color codes and wiring for your type of car. Quickly skip to step 1 to learn how to start your car without a key.
Method 1 of 3: Starting the car from the steering column
Step 1. Enter the car
Only if the car is yours and if you can prove that you can smash the glass. But watch out, your car alarm could go off.
- This method only works on cars from the mid 90's or older. With newer models, a lot of time has been spent on security, and starting without a key is only possible if you are an expert. For example, if you try it on a 2002 Honda Civic, the alarm will go off and the starter mechanism will be blocked, preventing anyone from being able to start the car.
- Check in the user manual whether the steering column can be disassembled. This method can cause permanent damage to the steering column.
Step 2. Remove the plastic housing from the steering column
The housing is usually held in place by a few hidden clips or some Phillips head screws. Remove the clamps or screws and then remove the housing.
On some old cars, you can turn the ignition without a key by hitting it in just the right way with a flathead screwdriver. Then you can turn the screwdriver to start the car. It is very difficult, but not impossible
Step 3. Distinguish the different bundles of wires
If you have removed the panel from the steering column you will see all kinds of wires running. Don't be discouraged, but learn to recognize the right bundle. There are usually three main bundles of wires to distinguish:
- The wiring of the levers on one side of the steering column, such as light and turn signal.
- The wiring of the levers on the other side, such as wiper or heated seats.
- The wiring connected to the battery and ignition switch
Step 4. Push aside the battery and ignition lock bundle
One of these wires is the ignition switch power supply, another wire is contact wiring and another wire is for starting. The other colors depend on the manufacturer. Read the user manual or look online to distinguish the different colors.
Sometimes the contact wires are brown and the starter wires are yellow, the battery wires are usually red. But the only way to know for sure is to read the manual. Be careful, you'll be electrified if you connect the wrong wires
Step 5. Strip the battery wires about one inch and twist them together
Put some tape around them and make sure they don't touch metal parts. By wiring these wires together you supply power to the ignition, which allows the engine to run after the car has been started.
Step 6. Connect the ignition switch to the battery wire
Now you see the lights on the dashboard light up. If you did this to be able to listen to the radio you are now done. If you want to drive the car you have to connect the starter wire, and that can be dangerous.
Step 7. Strip the starter wire about 13mm, but be very careful
Now you have to be careful that the wires don't make contact accidentally, keep everything under control. Hold the stripped end of the jumper wire against the end of the battery wires. Do not try to tighten it, but spark the ends to start the car.
Step 8. Press the accelerator pedal
Once you've managed to start the car, you can give it some throttle to prevent the engine from stalling and having to start over.
Once the engine is running, you can remove the starter wire and start driving. If you want to turn off the engine, simply disconnect the battery wires from the contact wires and the engine will stop
Step 9. Break the steering lock
The steering wheel lock has probably been activated by now, which means that you can only steer after you have broken the steering wheel lock.
- With some models you only have to break off the metal keyhole, this releases a spring and the lock is broken. If you've already rammed a screwdriver into the ignition because you have a car from the 70s or 80s, the steering wheel lock is probably already broken.
- With some models you just have to put a lot of force. Move the handlebars hard in either direction, as if you were trying to loosen the handlebars. You can also attach a hammer to the handlebars and use it as leverage to apply more force. If the steering wheel lock breaks you will probably be able to hear it. Then you can finally drive.
Method 2 of 3: Drilling out the ignition switch
Step 1. Place a drill on the keyhole, approximately 2/3 from the bottom
In this method, you try to disable the ignition, after which you can start the car with a flat screwdriver instead of the key. This is often done with cars whose keys have been lost.
Step 2. Drill to approximately the length of the wrench
Each lock pin has two parts, followed by a spring, so drill it a few times, each time taking the drill out of the lock so that different pieces of the lock fall into place.
Step 3. Insert the screwdriver into the lock, in the same way as an ignition key
You don't have to insert the screwdriver deeply, because the pins are already broken anyway. Turn the screwdriver about a quarter turn to try to start the engine.
Warning: this method will break your ignition, after that anyone can start the car with a screwdriver or a strong nail
Method 3 of 3: Powering the Dash
Step 1. Open the hood and try to locate the red coil wire
Both the ignition coil and the spark plug wires are located at the rear in the case of V8 engines. On four-cylinder engines, they are usually located on the right side, next to the center of the engine. On engines with six cylinders, they are often on the left.
Step 2. Get out your jumper cables
Put one red clamp on the positive battery terminal and the other red clamp on either the positive side of the coil, or on the red wire leading to the coil. In this way the dashboard gets power, and it has to if you want to start the engine.
Step 3. Locate the solenoid
The solenoid is usually on the starter motor. Some cars have it under the steering wheel.
Step 4. Break the steering lock
Press a flat head screwdriver into the center at the top of the steering column, put pressure between the steering wheel and the steering column. The aim is to print steering lock from the steering wheel. Don't worry, you can use some power right now.
Breaking the lock will not trigger the alarm, and now you can find the solenoid under the steering wheel
Step 5. Connect the solenoid to the positive battery terminal
You will see a small wire on the top of the solenoid and the positive battery wire below it. Remove the ignition switch wire from the solenoid and, using an insulated screwdriver, short out the positive terminal of the solenoid to the terminal where the ignition wire connects.
This will supply 12 volts to the solenoid directly from the battery. Now the solenoid is activated and the engine will start
- You can damage your car beyond repair if you try to start it without a key.
- Do not leave the contact wires connected after the engine has been turned off. This can damage the ignition switch and drain the battery.
- Cars with a computer chip in the ignition cannot be started without a key.
- Most cars will set off an alarm if you don't do it right.
- Use this knowledge responsibly.
- Wear insulated gloves.
- If the contact wires become loose while driving, the engine will switch off and you will drive without power steering and power brakes.
- Use this information never to steal a car.