How to Start a Car Without a Key [Turn Ignition Without Key]

If you have misplaced your car key, is it possible to start your car? How to start a car without a key? How to turn the ignition without a key?

There are different techniques to make your car engine start even without a key. One method is by using a screwdriver and a hammer. Another way is by hotwiring, and another method is by using the red coil wire. Of course, the method you use depends on the type of car key that you have.

Read on to learn more about how to start a car without a key. I will also discuss other related topics, such as the different types of car keys and the issues encountered by each key type.

How to Start a Car Without a Key

how to start a car without a key

Three ways to start a car without a key are as follows:

  1. Screwdriver and Hammer or Screwdriver and Drill
  2. Hotwiring
  3. Red Coil Wire

Let’s discuss each one of them:

1. Screwdriver and Hammer or Screwdriver and Drill

The Screwdriver and Drill Technique is the easiest and most common technique to turn your car’s ignition without a key. However, when applying this, you have to be careful not to damage the ignition switch.

This technique is ideal when you need to disable the lock pins. However, it will permanently damage the vehicle key mechanism. With this technique, you will have to drill the keyhole from where the inner flaps start. It should be roughly ⅔ inches.

Then, remove the drill and the locking bits. You can now try starting the vehicle by inserting a screwdriver head.

If you don’t have a screwdriver, you can try any key or any flat piece of metal that will fit. This is expected to start your vehicle successfully.

If you don’t have a drill, you can use a hammer to carry out this technique successfully. To do this, you have to insert your screwdriver into the keyhole. Then, start hammering. This technique is expected to break the locking pins in the ignition.

2. Hotwiring

Another way to start a car without a key is by hotwiring it. The Hotwiring Technique is ideal for vehicles manufactured in the ‘90s. It refers to the process of bypassing the ignition system. 

To apply this technique, you must get rid of the plastic cover of the steering wheel column. It has screws on both sides. So, you have to make sure that you remove them first. Doing so will allow you to access the ignition system.

Wear your protective or insulated gloves before you proceed with the next step. Also, have a keen eye for identifying which are the starter and battery wires. Typically, the battery wires are the red ones. But, at the same time, the yellow and brown wires are for the ignition.

Cut a tiny insulating of the battery wires at the end. Then, cut the power wires too that are coming from the cylinder. Finally, connect the battery wire end with the power wires by twisting them together.

3. Red Coil Wire

The Red Coil Wire Technique is for people who have adequate technical knowledge about cars. For example, if you’ve got the skills of a professional mechanic, you could start your car without a key.

To do this, you have to get under the hood to search for the red coil wire. First, grab hold of the jump starter cable. Then, run in from the battery’s positive terminal to the red coil wire. This wire is also known as the positive side of the coil.

By this time, the dashboard is expected to have already gotten some power. So continue this technique by opening the steering wheel to find the starter solenoid. This solenoid should then be connected to the battery’s positive terminal.

Take out the ignition switch wire from the solenoid switch-short the positive post of the solenoid using a screwdriver to where the ignition switch is attached.

Using the Red Coil Wire Technique allows you to apply 12 volts to the battery automatically. This process activates the solenoid and allows the starter to crank the car.

How to Start a Car Without a Key Fob [Starting a Keyless Car Without Its Smart Key]

how to turn ignition without key

Let’s say you own a keyless car and, unfortunately, its smart key started not to function. It either got damaged, or it needed battery replacement. Can you still start it even without the smart key?

Yes, you can start your car by bypassing the ignition switch. To start a car without a key fob, you can manually unlock your door and start the car engine with a dead battery smart key:

1. Manually Unlock the Door

If your smart key has a drained battery, you can still check if it can still open the car doors. First, hold your smart key right beside the door handle. Then, try opening the door. In some cases, doing so still allows the smart key to function as the battery is still left with some energy.

However, if such a technique fails, remember that every smart key has a corresponding mechanical key that you can use for emergencies. This is hidden in the key assembly. So, pull it out and use it to unlock your car doors.

2. Start the Car Engine Using a Dead Battery Smart Key

A smart key with a dead battery is still capable of starting a car engine. The key fob is equipped with a passive radio frequency (RF) chip. Therefore, it does not require any battery to detect the sensors and the immobilizer circuit.

To make this technique work, you have to place the fob right beside the start engine button. Then, the start engine will automatically detect the RF chip. Of course, this is expected to make the engine start.

Ensure not to lose your smart key because it will be impossible for you to operate your car without it. So, if you’re curious about how to start a car without a key fob, this is not possible.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do if the smart key gets lost. Instead, you need to contact the authorized car dealership to have it replaced.

A smart key has many features. So, it is understandable that it definitely comes with a hefty price if you need it replaced.

The cost of a smart key depends on several factors. One of which is the brand, and another one is how complicated its programming is, among others. In general, the price range is between $50 and $400.

Again, how to start a car without a key. How to turn the ignition without a key? Three ways to start a car without a key are the screwdriver and hammer or drill method, hotwiring method, red coil wire method.

Different Types of Car Keys

how to start a car without a key fob

The developments in the automotive industry have always included the evolution of car keys. Enhancements have been made to make keys more practical to use. But, most importantly, they now play a big role in making your car more secure. Impressively, the latest car key technology is capable of minimizing vehicle robbery.

The different types of car keys include the following:

  1. Traditional Key
  2. Remote-controlled Traditional Key
  3. Transponder Key
  4. Rolling Codes Transponder Key
  5. Smart Key
  6. Digital Key

Let’s briefly discuss each one of them:

1. Traditional Key

The traditional key is the most common key type among older vehicle versions. It looks somewhat similar to door keys, padlock keys, and locker keys, among others. This key type does not have any other feature but to unlock the car doors, the trunk, and even the gas tank cover.

Unfortunately, traditional keys are easy to copy. Therefore, among all key types, this one provides the lowest security to your vehicle.

2. Remote-controlled Traditional Key

A more high-tech type of car key is called the remote-controlled traditional key. This time, you can unlock or lock your car doors even from a distance. It is also connected to your car’s alarm system, which you can activate or deactivate using the key.

3. Transponder Key

The transponder key, also known as the chip key, was introduced in the ‘90s. It was developed to provide a more secure way to access the car. Its design somewhat resembles the traditional key design. But it features a built-in signal emitting chip linked to the receiver of the ignition coil.

Both the key transmitter and the receiver feature a similar code. These codes are transmitted every time the car is accessed or turned on. The engine will successfully turn on when the codes match. Otherwise, it will not start.

4. Rolling Codes Transponder Key

The rolling codes transponder key is a more sophisticated chip key. Each key is not assigned a single code, just like its first version of the transponder key. This time, each key generates a new code every time it is used.

Such a feature prevents the keys from being cloned. This is because nobody can predict the next code to be generated.

Also, you can’t start a car if its key doesn’t have a chip. So, there’s no need to worry anymore about car keys getting cloned. Even if the fake key has the same shape as the authentic key, the car will fail to start as the fake one doesn’t have the original chip.

5. Smart Key

If your car features a smart key, then it features a keyless start. This means that there is no need to take the car key out of your pocket.

The vehicle automatically unlocks when it detects the presence of the key. That way, when you get near the car, you have to press a button to open the door. On the other hand, if the car doesn’t detect the presence of the key, the car doors won’t open even if you keep on pressing the button.

When turning on the engine, there’s no need to insert the key in the ignition. With the smart key, your car then features a push-button start. So, even if your key is in your pocket, you can successfully turn on the ignition.

There are smart keys that have more than the above-mentioned features. For example, some are linked to chair settings and the activation of the air conditioning system, among others.

6. Digital Key

BMW initially launched the digital key technology in 2020. With this technology, your car’s door locks and its start/stop engine features, among others, are linked to a mobile phone app.

Conclusion – How to Start a Car Without a Key

There are several possible techniques that you can apply to make your car engine start even without a key. One method is by using a screwdriver and a hammer. Another method is by hotwiring, and another method is by using the red coil wire. However, the technique also depends on the type of car key that you have.

Through the years, there have already been several developments when it comes to key technology. From the traditional key, we now have smart and digital keys. Unfortunately, if you lost your smart key, you can’t solve it the way you would go about a lost traditional key.

Apparently, it is easy to start an old car without using its key. But this is not the case with the latest car models. While it is easy and cheap to replace traditional keys, smart keys are quite difficult and costly.

You might think that smart and digital keys bring inconvenience. Well, if they do, they are compensated with their many advantages. One of which is that it lessens, if not eliminates, the occurrence of car robbery or theft.