How to Hot-Wire a Car

How to hot-wire a car

We probably don't need to tell you this: hot-wiring a car without the owner's permission is illegal, except in repossessions.

But we have to say it.

Anyhow, how does one hot-wire a car?

Hot-wiring can be dangerous; there is a risk of electrical shock, it may waste your time by not working in the first place, and lastly, some cars have embedded 'kill-switches' to prevent hot-wiring altogether.

That aside, let's get crackin'.

1. Pop open the hood

Opening the hood when hot-wiring a car

If you're unsure how to do this, at the front of the hood there is typically a hook just under the nose that can be pushed either to the left or right depending on the make of the car.

Furthermore, some cars require you to pull down a small lever--or some similar mechanism--that is either to the left or just under the steering wheel.

This is done in addition to unhooking the hinge at the front of the hood.

2. Locate the coil wire (it is red)

To find it, simply follow the plug wires, which will lead to the coil wire.

The plug and coil wires are located at the rear of the engine on most V-8s.

On six-cylinder engines, the wires are on the left side near the center of the engine, and on four-cylinder engines, they are located on the right side near the center of the engine.

3. Run a wire from the positive (+) side of the battery to the positive side of the coil, or the red wire that goes to the coil

This step gives power to the dash, and the car will not run unless it is performed first.

4. Locate the starter solenoid

The what now?

The solenoid is a type of electric motor that is sent an electric current when the ignition is turned in order to start the engine.

An easy way to find it is to follow the positive battery cable. You will see a small wire and the positive battery cable.

On most GM cars, it is on the starter.

On Fords, it is located on the left-side (passenger-side) fender well.

Cross the two with a screwdriver or pliers.

This will ignite the engine.

5. If the car has a standard transmission, make sure it is in neutral and the parking brake is on

If it has an automatic transmission, make sure it is in park.

The last thing you want to do is start the car and have it drive off before you can even turn the steering wheel!

6. Unlock the steering wheel using a flat blade screwdriver

How to unlock the steering wheel of a car when hot-wiring it

Don't worry, this is actually very easy to do.

Take the screwdriver and place it at the top center of the steering column.

Push the screwdriver between the steering wheel and the column.

Push the locking pin away from the wheel. Be very firm when pushing the pin; they are very well-designed and will not break.

It's possible it can take you a few tries, so don't get discouraged.

Pour Conclure

If you find yourself in a situation when hot-wiring a car is a must, it shouldn't be too hard to pull off.

Even more so if the car is an older model.

Be careful though.

No need to rush through this and hurt yourself.

Take your time!

The information presented to you here today is from Joshua Piven's book, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook - an excellent on-the-go addition to any hiking pack or bug-out-bag.

However, something like the SAS Survival Handbook will be more practical for everyday use while outdoors.


-Alexander @ Survival Cat


If you're gearing up for your next adventure, take a peek at our catalog and see if there is anything you'll need to accompany your travels.


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