Driver's Guide

How to Start a Car Without a Key or Hot Wiring

How to start a car without a key or hot wiring

You want to start a car without a key or hot wiring if you can’t find the key. Perhaps, you also don’t want to damage the ignition section or get a professional involved.

Fortunately, this publication reveals some methods you can get your car to start with no key or hot wiring.

When should you start a car without the key or hot wire?

How to start a car without a key or hot wiring

There may be instances when starting the car without a key is essential. Due to security concerns, automakers often make this procedure more difficult. They just don’t want a burglar to steal your car. Here are a few instances:

a. Misplaced car key

You want to start a car without a key if you misplaced or lost the key.

b. Faulty ignition switch

The majority of the car’s electronics and wiring are located around the ignition switch. The ignition switch is activated when the key is turned, and electricity travels from the battery to the starting motor to start the engine.

The ignition coil and ECU are both powered by the ignition switch. You can decide to use the red coil wire approach to start your car if it turns out that the ignition switch is damaged.

How to start a car without a key or hot wiring

Most modern cars nowadays don’t need a key to start the engine. The techniques listed here will get you started quickly even if you have no key or hotwire.

1. Start the engine with the red coil wire method

This method works if you are certain that you are as knowledgeable as a technician and possess professional-level abilities.

  • Find the red coil wire by opening the hood of the car.
  • Proceed to connect the battery’s positive terminal to the red coil wire using a jumper starting cable. The positive terminal of the ignition coil is located on the red coil wire.
  • The starting solenoid can then be found by opening the plastic cover below the steering wheel. The starting solenoid should then be attached to the battery’s positive terminal.
  • While using a screwdriver, locate the ignition switch wire and connect it to the solenoid’s positive terminal.

The ignition switch should get 12 volts from the battery. From there, the car will be able to start.

2. Use a hammer/drill and screwdriver

This is another way to start a car without a key or hot wiring. Meanwhile, you must be very careful so as not to damage the ignition switch.

The lock pins of the ignition switch may be damaged if a screwdriver and hammer are used, and the ignition switch of the car can get permanently disabled.

However, if you are using a drill, you will need to drill a nearly two-thirds-inch-wide hole in the ignition switch’s inner flaps.

After completing this, you should then take the drill out, put a screwdriver in the drilled hole, and try to start the vehicle.

You can even start the car by using a piece of flat metal rather than a screwdriver. Use a screwdriver and a hammer if you don’t want to use a drill or don’t have access to one. Simply place the screwdriver into the ignition switch and lightly tap it till it passes.

3. Start the car without a key fob

If your key fob stops working and your car has a keyless entry, you will not be able to start the car. Modern cars are equipped with the ability to be started without a key fob. Imagine your smart key isn’t working and it is either broken or the battery has been discharged. Does your car still start without the key fob? Before you get started, you need to unlock the car door manually.

Here is how to start your car without a key fob:

  • Hold the key fob near the door handle and try to open the door if the battery is low. It could work because the key fob’s battery sometimes has some life remaining in it.
  • You can use the mechanical key if your key fob features one. It can be hidden in the key fob assembly and majorly used for emergency purposes. With this key, the doors can be opened.

There are still opportunities to start the car even if the key fob’s battery is dead. The key fob doesn’t need a battery to start the car since it has a passive radio frequency chip. The signal will be automatically detected by the sensors, allowing ignition to take place.

The start button should be immediately next to the key fob. The RF chip will be picked up by the sensors, and the car will then start.

4. Try hot wiring the ignition

For older cars, the hotwiring technique is the best option. The hotwiring method involves getting around the battery wires and ignition switch.

  • The plastic covering on the steering column must first be removed. You may have to remove two little screws to access the wire connector.
  • Since you will be touching live wires directly while using this technique, it is a good idea to wear protective or insulating gloves. Keep an eye out for the battery cables, which are often red. Typically, the ignition wires are brown and yellow.
  • Make a small cut in the battery cables’ insulation.
  • Repeat the process with the ignition wires.
  • Twist together the battery and ignition power wires to form a connection.

You should be able to start the car as soon as you make the connection.

Types of car keys?

As car keys became more convenient to use, additional security elements are also included, making it more difficult for criminals to steal cars.

Ordinary key

The conventional key is used in the majority of vehicles from an earlier generation of cars and it is comparable to padlock keys and door keys. The particular and distinctive shape of these keys makes them the only ones that will fit into the vehicle door, boot lid, and fuel tank cap.

The conventional key provides the least level of protection since it is simple for any locksmith to duplicate.

Smart key

Keyless starting is a benefit of smart keys for vehicles. When the key is brought close to the door, the receiver in the car contains a proximity sensor, so it immediately unlocks and the ignition is switched on by pressing a button.

The smart key can be programmed with a variety of options. They can turn on and off devices like the audio and air conditioning.

Digital key

The door locks, ignition, and other characteristics of cars with digital keys are managed via a smartphone app. This type of key is the most secure since it can operate every aspect of the car.

Remote-controlled ordinary key

By using an internal remote control, you can remotely lock and open your car door. Additionally, the key is linked to an alarm system that can be used to locate the vehicle in a congested parking lot and deter burglars from attempting to break into a locked door.

Chip key

A radio frequency chip on this key transmits a signal to the car’s receiver through radio waves. It has an immobilizer built in that stops the ignition from turning on until the proper signal is transmitted to the receiver. Sometimes, even automakers run short of semiconductors to make these keys. An example is Toyota who had to apologize to customers due to shortage.


Can a car run without the key fob?

Yes, the engine will continue to operate without the key fob. Meanwhile, you cannot restart the engine without the key fob after it has turned off.

How do I turn the ignition on to start my car without the key?

Remove the electronics from the plastic cover that is located underneath the steering wheel. Then, pound or drill a screwdriver into the ignition flaps until it is firmly in place. The screwdriver should then be turned in the same way as a car key. The car will start after all this has been completed.

Where can I start a car without a key?

The starter, which is located on the engine block beneath the hood, is the best method for starting a car without a key. It has two cords that connect to it, one of which needs to have a handle. Turn the other cord or crank while pulling this handle to start the engine.

Do I need to use a battery to start a car without a key?

Searching for the keyless entry button on the driver’s side of the dashboard is the simplest approach to determine if your car has a keyless entry system. If there is no button, you do not have a keyless entry system.

Can a car be easily hotwired?

In general, it is easier to hotwire older models of vehicles than newer ones. Instead of using straightforward cables to connect the battery to the ignition switch, modern cars contain more complex electrical circuitry. It’s advisable to leave getting your car started with a key to the pros if you don’t have the necessary knowledge to hotwire a car.

Can a thief steal a car without a key?

A thief can use an RF repeater to replicate the key fob’s signals if the vehicle has an RFID key fob. By pushing the engine start button, they will be able to start the keyless vehicle and the doors will be unlocked.


There are a few options for starting the car if you have misplaced your key and it is an ordinary, conventional key. One of the techniques used is using a hammer or drill to force a screwdriver into the ignition hole. Another method known as the red coil wire method involves connecting the battery to the solenoid and ignition coil to start the vehicle.

But as technology has developed, car keys have become more sophisticated. The only method to get into your vehicle if you lose your key fob or smart key is to speak to the authorized dealership about getting a new key.

Smart keys have the benefit of being very secure, making it exceedingly impossible for criminals to enter the vehicle, much alone start it. The drawback of these keys is that due to the intricate electronics and technologies inside of them, they are rather costly to repair.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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