GTA: How to hotwire a car
You need to have some degree of auto electrical knowledge to steal a car, you need to cut at least three wires, one comes from the main fuse at the battery, one goes to the ignition circuit, and one to the starter motor. Look under the dash near the steering column for this wiring harness.
Strip those three, once you have identified which wire is which Join the one you have identified as the battery wire and the one you have identified as the ignition wire together permanently.
Your dash warning lights should be on and for newer cars the fuel pump operating. This is the same as turning the key to the ON position. Then take the wire you identified as the starter wire, and momentarily touch that to the join you made with the other two wires to crank the engine. This simulates the START position of the ignition switch, and providing the car is good and there is no immobilizer, the engine should start.
Then you have to break the steering lock. Two people turning the steering wheel back and forth can break the lock pin quick enough. Once you have broken the steering lock the car should be ready to drive.
This applies to most small, mid-size and large American, Japanese and Australian cars built before the 1990’s. For newer cars use methods below:
THE “HOT WIRE” METHOD
This method requires rewiring the car to bypass the ignition system.
First you need to determine if the steering wheel lock can be disabled. Pull the steering shaft off the back of the steering wheel. Look for a little disk with holes that the lock pops into. If possible, remove the disk.
Use a screwdriver to remove the access cover underneath the steering wheel.
Remove the harness collector to gain access to the ignition wiring.
Find the two red wires. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation off of each end, and then twist the wires together. Make sure the exposed wires do not touch any metal. Make sure these wires stay twisted when driving, as you will lose power if they come loose.
Find the brown wire. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation off of the end.
Touch the end of the brown wire against the twisted ends of the red wires until there is engine ignition.
Once the engine is going, keep the brown and red wires separate, to avoid sparks and draining the battery.
THE SCREWDRIVER METHOD
This method uses a drill to disable the lock pins, and will destroy the key switch. Once this is done, the key mechanism will be permanently damaged. Any key, screwdriver, or flat piece of metal will be able to start the car from this point on.
Drill into the key hole, about 2/3 up, where the inner flap starts. Drill into it as deep as a key would.
Remove the drill bit, allowing the lock bits to fall into place.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 a few times, until all the bits are in place.
Put a flat head screwdriver into the keyhole, and turn it the way you would a key.
Newer cars have a computer chip in the ignition system that requires a matching key. Most of them have an RFID chip that works when in proximity to the steering column. Without a key, these cars cannot be hot-wired. If your key does not turn the mechanical locks, simply taping it to the steering column may enable you to hot-wire the car.
Slightly older cars have resistors at very precise resistances (such as 11.7ohms) built in to the keys. These need to be matched with a value stored in the car's memory to start the car. After a few (typically 3) mismatched resistances, the ECU will lock out the ignition.
Note: As a rule of thumb you should not touch bare electrical wires, but in this case it won't do you any harm. The battery can provide hundreds of amps (known as cranking amps) to start the engine, but it supplies them at only 12V. A voltage that low can't push sufficient current through you to hurt (this is why you can hold 12V camera batteries in your bare hands without any problem) - This due to the "breakdown voltage" of skin, as is between 30v and 48v DC. But if your hands are wet, touching the wires is a very bad idea.
Wired.com has a wiki article detailing all the things you need to do to get that car running: how to identify which wires to connect, potential pitfalls of newer cars that require an RFID chip in the key, and so on.
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