How to Start a Car with a Screwdriver

Have you ever found yourself in a sticky situation where you’ve lost your car key or it’s broken, leaving you stranded and frustrated? While it’s not a recommended practice, there are ways to start a car with a screwdriver in emergency cases like these. In this article, we’ll explore the steps and precautions you should take if you ever find yourself needing to start your car with a screwdriver.

Start a Car with a Screwdriver

Before delving into the process, it’s crucial to understand that starting a car with a screwdriver is not something you should do lightly. It can potentially cause damage to the ignition system, compromise the key mechanism, and even result in legal consequences. Without the owner’s permission, attempting to start a car with a screwdriver might be considered an unauthorized attempt to steal the vehicle. Therefore, this method should only be used in genuine emergency situations.

The Evolution of Car Ignition Systems

Modern cars come equipped with advanced security systems, including immobilizers that prevent the engine from starting without the proper key. The key contains a transponder chip that communicates with the immobilizer and allows the engine to start only when the correct key is present. This technological advancement has significantly decreased the success rate of starting a car with a screwdriver, as the immobilizer won’t recognize the makeshift key and will prevent the engine from turning over.

A Glimpse into the Past: Starting Older Cars

In contrast to modern vehicles, older cars lack the sophisticated immobilizer systems. They rely on traditional mechanical locks to secure the ignition switch. In dire situations, it is possible to bypass these locks by breaking the pins inside the ignition cylinder with a screwdriver and a hammer. However, this method comes with its own set of drawbacks.

Starting an Older Car with a Screwdriver: Step-by-Step Guide

If you find yourself facing an emergency and need to start an older car with a screwdriver, follow these steps:

1. Insert the Screwdriver

Gently insert a flathead screwdriver into the ignition switch’s keyhole. The screwdriver should go in about 2/3 inches deep, right where the inner flaps start.

2. Safety First

Wear safety gloves to protect your hands from potential sparks and shocks. Before proceeding, disconnect the battery to avoid any electrical mishaps during the process.

3. Tap with Caution

Using a hammer, gently tap the end of the screwdriver. Apply enough force to break the pins inside the ignition cylinder, but be careful not to cause damage to other ignition components. You’ll hear a distinct click when the pins break.

4. Turn the Engine On

Once the pins are successfully broken, turn the screwdriver as if it were a key. The engine should start, but you might need to wiggle the screwdriver slightly to find the right position.

5. Seek Professional Help

As soon as the engine is running, remove the screwdriver from the ignition switch. Reconnect the battery and head to a mechanic or locksmith immediately. The ignition system will need proper repair to avoid further complications.

Seeking Additional Resources

For those who want more detailed guidance, there are resources available online that provide step-by-step instructions and even video demonstrations of starting a car with a screwdriver and hammer. Some reliable sources include.

The Final Note

It’s important to emphasize that this information is meant solely for educational purposes and should not be used for any unlawful activities. Attempting to start a car without the owner’s permission can lead to serious consequences. In the end, the best course of action in emergency situations is to contact a professional mechanic or locksmith to ensure the safety and integrity of your vehicle.


Starting a car with a screwdriver without the owner’s permission can be considered an attempt to steal the vehicle, making it illegal in most cases.

Can I start any car with a screwdriver?

Modern cars with advanced security systems, like immobilizers, are much more difficult to start with a screwdriver. Older cars without such systems are more susceptible to this method.

What risks are involved in starting a car with a screwdriver?

Attempting to start a car with a screwdriver can damage the ignition system, break the key mechanism, and potentially lead to legal consequences.

Can I use this method if I’ve lost my car key?

While it’s possible to start an older car with a screwdriver, it’s recommended to contact a professional locksmith or mechanic to avoid potential damage.

How can I prevent getting locked out of my car?

To prevent getting locked out, consider having spare keys and using keychains that are less likely to break or get lost.

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