How To Turn Ignition Without Key – What Can You Do?

by Conner Mckay

If you own a car, you’ve probably wondered about it at some point. How to turn ignition without key? A key is a necessary component for starting your car. You must pass the ignition lock to start it without a key, which you should only do if you’ve misplaced your key.

When you lose your car keys, a common notion comes to mind. Many car owners have this difficulty. Is there a way how to turn ignition without key? Yes, you absolutely can. It is possible to start an automobile without using the keys.

There are three methods to turn ignition without key, and you’ll learn about them all in this article. But, before we get into the core of the matter, it’s important to know how to turn ignition without key and the many types of vehicle keys.

What Are The Different Forms Of Car Keys?

Throughout the history of automotive development, car keys have undergone various changes to make them more convenient and reliable. They also come in a range of key types, allowing the driver to select their preferred key type.

The concept of locking the car with a key began with the development of automobiles to reduce vehicle theft. You may have noticed the progress of automobiles in recent years. The evolution of automobile technology has resulted in a shift in the sorts of car keys available.

What began as a simple, conventional car key with little security has evolved into a digital sort of car key that can be used via your phone. Let’s take a quick look at how vehicle keys have changed over time.

1. The Classical Key

It all began with a standard key, which was more frequent in older models. It is a piece of metal that has been carved into a specific shape. There is no encoding or security encryption on them. Traditional keys are easily replicated as a result, giving the car a minimal level of protection.

2. Transponder Key (Chip Key)

The need for a more reliable way to access the car began to grow in the 1990s, leading to the development of transponder keys. It looks like a regular key but contains a signal emitting chip that communicates with the ignition coil’s receiver.

These two elements, the transmitter in the key and the receiver in the car, send an identical code every time you need to access or turn on the vehicle. If the vehicle’s code matches that of the key, the ECU will start the vehicle; otherwise, the vehicle will not start.

3. Traditional Key With A Remote Control

After years of using the traditional method of accessing vehicles, another method of accessing vehicles was developed: unlocking the doors from a distance using a remote control. Infrared signals are used to turn on and off the alarm system with these remote controls.

4. Smart Key/Keyless Start

Mercedes-Benz introduced the new S-Class in 1998, which included a smart key feature, which was a significant step forward in the development of automobile keys. Smart keys were created with the intention of making the driver more comfortable.

There’s no need to take the smart key out of your pocket to use it. When the automobile detects the existence of the key, it immediately unlocks. When he gets close to the automobile, all the driver has to do is press a button on the door handle.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key

The vehicle will unlock, and the immobilizer will be turned off. More options, such as chair settings, AC activation, and many others, will be implemented, depending on the automobile model. The driver does not need to take the key out of his pocket to start the vehicle. While the key is in the automobile, push the start engine button to start the vehicle.

5. Rolling Codes Hip Key Or Transponder Key

These are the transponder keys for sophisticated users. Every time the user presses the unlock button or tries to turn the key in the ignition, a new code is generated. This makes the car more secure because no one can predict the code generated by the key, making it impossible to copy. Furthermore, a car cannot be started without a key chip.

6. Digital Key

BMW debuted the digital key technology in 2020. To lock/unlock, and start/stop the engine, the digital key uses your smartphone. Using the BMW smartphone app, you can share the scar key with your trusted contacts. NFC technology is used to implement this feature.

Scenario In Which You Need To Start A Car Without A Key

It’s not something to take lightly when it comes to bypassing your vehicle’s key. Use these start methods only after you’ve double-checked that the key is actually out of use. The following are some common scenarios in which you’ll need to turn ignition without key.

1. Key Is Missing

One of the most common reasons people look for a means to turn ignition without key

is when they misplace their vehicle keys. Nothing is more inconvenient than misplacing your car keys while away from home and not having a spare. You’ll need to know how to start your vehicle without keys in this circumstance.

If you’ve misplaced your key and can’t wait for a replacement, try the methods listed in the next section below to turn ignition without key.

2. A Broken Key

If a piece of your key has broken off in the ignition or the teeth have been damaged, the car may not start without bypassing the ignition.

3. The Ignition Switch Is Malfunctioning

If you cant turn ignition without key or the car will not start even with the key, you may have a faulty ignition switch that needs to be bypassed in order to start the vehicle. Place the key in the ignition switch and turn it to start the engine.

It is not simply the location of the key but also the primary activator for the car’s electrical systems. The ignition switch allows the flow of electrical pulses required for the starter to turn the engine for the first time.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key

It also provides the necessary electricity for ignition systems such as the Electronic Control Unit and ignition coil, which deliver adequate voltages to the spark plugs via the high tension wire in the proper firing sequence. All of this contributes to precise ignition timing. The power will not flow through the systems of your car if the ignition switch fails, and it will not turn on.

4. Smart Key Is Dead

If the key battery dies, keyless automobiles and vehicles with Smart Keys may have trouble starting the vehicle. Keep in mind that if you use any of the ways below to turn ignition without key, you must take the vehicle to a licensed car dealership or an automobile locksmith as soon as possible after starting it.

Repetitive use of these methods might cause damage to your vehicle’s steering column or wiring, requiring significantly more expensive repairs than simply replacing a broken or missing key.

What You’ll Need To Start A Car Without A Key

The usage of materials that should be in every automobile’s emergency kit is required to bypass a car’s ignition switch and circumvent the car key. If you don’t have these items in your vehicle, you’ll need to contact roadside assistance as soon as possible and add them to your vehicle:

How To Turn Ignition Without Key

This can only be done by connecting the ignition cord to the battery cord and then touching the starter cord to the connector. For cars built before 1990, the technique is simple, but vehicles built after that period are equipped with immobilizers and alarms that must also be bypassed.

Manufacturers now offer keyless entry and push-button start, which means cars can only be started when the smart device is close to the driver. You don’t have to manually open the vehicle anymore. As we’ve shown in the preceding sections, you can find yourself in a critical scenario where you need to start your vehicle, but your keys are broken or missing.

Starting an automobile without keys is almost identical to starting a car with a faulty ignition switch. The procedures we’ll go through here are generally applicable to older models of vehicles. These options will keep you going until you obtain your spare key or have a locksmith build you a new set.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key –  With A Screwdriver (Or Drill)?

Add a flathead screwdriver to your car’s emergency kit if you don’t already have one. The easiest and least harmful method of starting a vehicle is with a screwdriver. It involves the least amount of interaction with your vehicle’s wiring and puts the driver in a safer position than other ways.

Only a flathead screwdriver and a little elbow grease are required. Here’s how to turn ignition without key but with a screwdriver:

  1. Locate the screws that keep the trim on your steering column in place. Remove them and store them somewhere safe and convenient, such as your car’s center console.
  2. To access the car’s ignition switch, remove the plastic trim.
  3. Insert the screwdriver into the ignition tumbler, often known as the keyhole. To engage the ignition, gently turn the screwdriver. If the car starts, go to a locksmith or a car dealership right away to get a new key.

If your automobile is newer or has a tough lock system, you can try starting it with a little bit of drill and a screwdriver.

  1. Drill about a ⅔ of the way into the ignition keyhole with the drill head. The lock pins will not disengage if you do not go far enough into the hole.
  2. Start the drill slowly, pressing the bit down to the same depth as your key. As you progress, the lock pins should disengage.
  3. Slide your flathead screwdriver into the lock mechanism that is engaged. Then start your car by turning the screwdriver.

If neither of the screwdriver methods works for your vehicle, or if your vehicle is older than the 1990s, you can try the hot wiring method to start it.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key – Using A Hot Wire?

When it comes to turn ignition without key, hotwiring is a wonderful option. Bypassing the ignition system is what it is called. It usually works for cars made between the mid-1990s and the present.

If you like detective movies, you’re probably familiar with the basics of hot wiring. But there’s more to starting an automobile than putting a few wires together. Working with a vehicle’s live wires needs hot wiring, which can result in the driver being shocked.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key

Instructions to Start Automobile

So make sure you follow these instructions properly to start your automobile.

  1. Find the screws that hold the steering column together. The screws are usually found near the base of the steering column, on either side of the steering wheel. The screws must be removed.
  2. Remove the column’s access panels. In most cases, they simply slide out.
  3. Look in the steering column for the three wire bundles. Only the battery bundle is required. Red wiring is usually found in the battery bundle, but you should double-check with your owner’s manual to avoid any accidents involving the starter or ignition wiring.
  4. Remove the insulation from the battery and ignition wires with a wire stripper, scissors, or pocket knife. To turn on the vehicle’s ignition and lights, twist these ends together.
  5. Strip the end of the starter wire gently to start the motor. Connect this end to the battery and starter wires that are grouped together. The starting wire should not be twisted into the bundle. The starting wire is live, and while it will not kill you, it will cause you pain. So, wrap it with electrical tape as soon as the motor is started.
  6. Drive the vehicle to a mechanic right away so they can reassemble the steering column and produce a new key for you.

It’s worth noting that most new cars have a steering wheel lock that stops the car from steering without the key. If you can start your car, but the steering wheel lock is engaged, you’ll need to call for roadside help because the car won’t drive safely without steering. If hot-wiring the vehicle does not work, the red coil method can be used.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key – With A Red Coil?

The red coil method might be a quick way to jumpstart your automobile in an emergency for car owners who know their way around beneath the hood. Of course, while attempting this procedure, you’ll need a pair of mechanic gloves for protection. For this procedure, you’ll also need a pair of jumper cables.

  1. To find the red wire, open the hood of the car. It may be on the left, right, or near the back of the engine, depending on the vehicle.
  2. Take the red wire and connect it to the jumper cord. Next, connect the jumper cable to the car battery’s positive terminal. The dash of your vehicle will begin to acquire power.
  3. You’ll need to reach the steering column solenoid once your dash has started to receive power. Find the space between the steering wheel and the steering column. Push pressure on the gap with a screwdriver until the locking mechanism gives way.
  4. A little red wire should be linked to the steering wheel’s key mechanism. To avoid being shocked, carefully press the metal end of a screwdriver on the wire while keeping your hand on the insulated handle. This should start the car’s engine and allow you to drive it to a mechanic for assistance with a new key.

Keep in mind that today’s car manufacturers build automobiles to withstand the majority of methods for evading the key system. As a result, there’s a potential that your modern vehicle won’t respond to hotwiring or that it employs a keyless entry system. If this is the case, you’ll have to attempt a few different ways to start your keyless vehicle.

Can A Locksmith Assist You With Lost Or Broken Car Keys?

Mechanics and auto dealerships aren’t the only places where you may receive a new car key, contrary to popular assumptions. There are locksmiths who specialize in vehicle keys, and they are generally less expensive to work with than a dealership. Many locksmiths also provide emergency assistance and can come to you if you are locked out of your automobile.

Before creating a replica of any automobile keys, keep in mind that your locksmith has guidelines to follow. Before they do any maintenance, they will require evidence of ownership as well as the vehicle’s VIN. If your car’s registration and ownership details are inside, the locksmith may be able to open it for you so that you can access that paperwork.

The Consequences Of Turning Ignition Without Key

When feasible, avoid attempting to start your vehicle on your own. If you can wait an hour for roadside help or a tow truck, you should. Attempting to turn ignition without key has a number of risks.

1. Damage To The Automobile

When you try to DIY start your automobile, you risk badly damaging the dash or wiring if you don’t understand the mechanics and materials. In severe cases, repairing a damaged steering column, wires, or batteries, in addition to the cost of replacing your key, can cost several thousand dollars.

2. Legal And Insurance Issues

Remember that if you try to start your automobile on the side of the road with a screwdriver, a police officer may become concerned. While it is not unlawful to hotwire your own vehicle, you may encounter legal issues if you are borrowing or leasing a vehicle. Furthermore, your auto insurance will not cover any damage you inflict on the vehicle while attempting to start it.

3. Doing Harm To Yourself

You face the danger of harming yourself whenever you operate a vehicle. While hotwiring the car, you risk electrocution, and operating inside the dash or engine might result in injury to your hands, skin, or eyes.

To avoid injuries while attempting to start your car, wear safety gloves and eyewear. Before you try to hotwire your own car like in a spy book, make sure it’s your only alternative. If you can’t wait to see a repair or call for help, proceed with caution while turning ignition without key.

Take your time, and keep in mind that these ignition bypassing techniques do not work on all autos. Finally, remember to take your automobile to a locksmith or technician as soon as you can after it starts so you can acquire a key and prevent having to start it like this in the future.

How To Turn Ignition Without Key For Keyless Cars

Keyless automobiles are becoming increasingly popular, and many drivers may face a significant issue if their smart key battery dies or is misplaced. Let’s look at how to bypass the ignition switch and turn the ignition without a keyfob.

You can still try to hotwire a car or use the red coil approach by executing the methods outlined in the preceding sections. Don’t give up if you’re not used to working with wires and were hoping to get by with just a screwdriver. There’s a good likelihood that a secret ignition switch is still in the steering column.

Examine the steering column for the secret switch. If you see around cap or indented cover in the area, it’s most likely an ignition. Try prying it open with the screwdriver. Follow the steps for the screwdriver approach if the cap comes off, and you see a slot for a key or fob.

Now, if you have a dead key fob and can’t get the car to start for any reason, don’t go hotwiring just yet. A dead key fob can be used to start the vehicle.

Manually Unlock The Door, How to Turn Ignition Without Key:

Make your smart key touch the door handle by holding it in your hand. It’s possible that the battery has enough power to unlock the door. If this fails, it’s crucial to remember that every smart key contains a mechanical key that can be used in an emergency. Remove this mechanical key from the key assembly and use it to open the doors by turning the keyhole in the door lock handle.

Ignite With Dead Battery Smart Key, How to Turn Ignition Without Key:

When creating the smart keys, they had emergency situations in mind, such as how to get the car started if the key fob was destroyed or the battery died. As a result, key fobs with a passive RF chip are handed to the driver, which does not require any energy to be detected by the immobilizer circuit and sensors.

Place the key near the start engine button to utilize it. The automobile will start after the start engine detects the passive RF chip. If you lose your smart key, turning and starting the vehicle will be difficult. In this scenario, contact your local dealership to get a new smart key made using your vehicle’s VIN.

Facts: Starting a Car Without a Key

  • There are different techniques to start a car without a key, such as using a screwdriver and hammer/drill, hot wiring, and the red coil wire method.
  • The method to use depends on the type of car key the car has.
  • The screwdriver and hammer/drill method is easy but can damage the ignition switch.
  • Hot wiring involves bypassing the ignition switch and battery wires and is ideal for older vehicles.
  • The red coil wire method requires advanced knowledge and skills.
  • Situations, when it may be necessary to start a car without a key, including losing the key or having a faulty ignition switch.
  • Car keys can be ordinary, remote-controlled, chip, smart, or digital.
  • Smart keys are the most secure but also the most expensive to replace.
  • Once the car is started, it can run without the key fob, but it is necessary to have it to restart the engine.
  • Hotwiring a car directly connects the battery to the ignition switch without using the key.

Final Verdict – How to Turn Ignition Without Key

It’s not unusual for you to have problems with automobile keys, key fobs, and ignition cylinders and switches as a driver. The information provided above should assist you in diagnosing a problem with your car, ranging from a basic battery problem that you can fix yourself to more difficult issues that require specialized machines and knowledge. If you’re not sure how to turn ignition without key or what’s causing it not to start, call an expert or an authorized dealer to get your problem resolved.

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