Don't try this at home kids, these are the best ways you can start a car without the key.

Let’s say in an alternate universe you decided to become a full-time criminal. Congratulations. Burglary, assault, j-walking, the whole lot. Good luck with that career path, thought you might want to start saving for a good lawyer now. One key aspect of being a criminal is being able to hotwire a car for a quick getaway.

Thanks to many of today’s modern vehicle advancements, the antiquated techniques are becoming less and less relevant. But there is still some hope out there for all you criminals. 

1) The Steering Column Trick

Once you get in the car (which is a whole different instructional on its own), head straight for the steering column. Note: this only works on cars produced before the mid-1990s. The first thing you need to do is remove the plastic covering around the column itself. That should expose all the necessary pieces you need to get the car up and running. Then you need to locate the wiring harness connector. Locating the wiring harness connector can be a bit tricky if you’re not sure what to look for. Typically, it leads straight up the center of the column. Other wiring harnesses like the lights and windshield wipers will sit on either side. From there, locate the battery, ignition, and starter wire bundle. The ignition wires will typically be a brown or yellow wire, while the battery wires will almost always be red. The battery wires are the two that need to be stripped of insulation (at least an inch down) and twisted together.

Hooray, you’ve made it this far without getting caught. At this point, you’re almost there. The next thing you need to do is connect the ignition on/off wire to the battery wire. That should set alight the dash and other electrical components. This is where things get tricky. At this point, you need to strip the starter wire about half an inch—which will be live and dangerous—and touch it to the end of the connected battery wires. The car will start up; make sure to rev the engine so that it doesn't stall out. But you’re not done yet. While the car itself is running, the steering column is likely still locked. One of the easiest ways to surpass this is by breaking off the metal keyhole, which will release the spring. Otherwise, you can try twisting the wheel extremely hard back and forth which should release it as well. And voila, you’re a criminal.

2) The Drill and Screwdriver Trick

Calling All Criminals: The 3 Best Ways to Hotwire a Car

This one’s a bit simpler than the steering column trick. All you need is a car with a keyhole, a screwdriver, and a drill. Simple as that. You want to insert the tip of the drill into the metal keyhole about three quarters of the way in. The goal is to destroy the many lock pins. There is more than one section of lock pins, so you need to remove and insert the tip of the screw as many times as needed. When you feel like it’s all good and broken, then you can pull out your handy screwdriver. Simply put it in the keyhole like you would your key, and the car should start.

3) The Jumper Cables Trick

Calling All Criminals: The 3 Best Ways to Hotwire a Car

Unlike the simple drill and screwdriver trick, this method takes a bit more thinking. But with many cars either ditching keyholes overall, or having more modern safety methods, this is probably the best modern method. Pop the hood and look for the red coil wire. Got it? Now you pull out those jumper cables you had handy, and connect one end to the positive battery terminal, and the other to either the positive side of the coil, or the red wire leading to the coil. Once you’ve done that, the dash and electronics should start. At that point, you need to find the starter solenoid. You might have to do some research on the specific vehicle to find it, but for this example, it’s within the steering column. To get to it, you have to unlock the steering wheel. Get a flat blade screwdriver and place it in the top center of the steering column. You’re looking for the locking pin, which you want to push away from the steering wheel. Once you find the starter solenoid, connect it to the positive battery terminal. The car should start, and you’ll be on your way. Unless you plan on spending some time in jail, don't try this in the real world. We're not responsible for any novice criminals getting caught.

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