General Question

brownlemur's avatar

How does one turn off the engine after hotwiring a car?

Asked by brownlemur (4067 points ) July 13th, 2008

I’m not in the business of hotwiring cars or theft, but I have always wondered how one goes about turning the car off after turning it on by touching wires together.

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17 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

i think it depends on how it was hotwired.
pulling the wires apart would probably do it.

jcs007's avatar

well. If I were hot wiring cars to steal them I may as well take it one step further and syphon the gas. At least that’s how I’d turn it off.

yannick's avatar

Well I’m pretty sure that when you hotwire it you only touch the ignition wires together for a moment (just like when you turn the key as far forward as it goes to get the car running), and then leaves the wires apart because if you kept them touching the car would just keep ‘starting up’. Obviously if it’s a manual the easiest way to stop it would be to stall it when parking or whatever. As for an automatic, I’m not too sure…

buster's avatar

You could disconnect the battery. That usually shuts them off.

Dog's avatar

I used to have an old muscle car with a broken ignition. It was my only mode of transportation and I was a poor college student so I bypassed the ignition.

To untwist the wires will kill the engine- however simple hot wiring works mainly in older vehicles.

To hot wire a vehicle used to mean you would bypass the ignition switch and allow the completed circuit to power to the starter. Once the connection is broken from the twisted wires the engine shuts off.

Modern cars are not as easily hot wired due to digital and computerized components.
Not saying it cannot be done of course- there are ways but it is a more complex now.

jrpowell's avatar

Pliers and access to the fuel line is how I would do it.

XCNuse's avatar

I would attempt to stall it, if it’s manual, all the easier, if it’s automatic, go down a road and stick it into reverse and less than a second later there you go, you have an engine that safety stalled itself before ruining the transmission.

.. done it before, It scared the sh*t out of me…

scamp's avatar

This is a very interesting question. I dated a car theif in the 70’s, but I don’t know how he did it. (Note to self: Don’t park near anyone posting in this thread, ha ha!!)

robmandu's avatar

@XCNuse, I know guys who did that kind of thing in rental cars for the fun of it (slamming into Park whilst moving forward). At higher speeds, the tranny just makes a lot of clicking racket. Eventually the car coasts and slows down enough that the safeguards think it’s okay to engage Park for real… stopping your forward motion rather abruptly.

Cannot recall if it stalled the car, though.

XCNuse's avatar

… well putting it in park is horrible for the tranny, putting it in reverse will stall the car if you don’t touch the gas pedal.

Putting it in park just locks the gears up, and if it survives damages all sorts of things anyway or hurts them, if it doesn’t live, then you congrats you destroyed a transmission.

It stalls the car, I mean the electronics will still be running, but the engine is fully stalled and isn’t running.

Brand new cars might have things to stop that from happening in the first place though, but it worked in my ‘95 GMC Jimmy

Knotmyday's avatar

Older ignitions have two circuits that need to be closed in order for the engine to run. One is the “Run/Neutral safety” circuit, and the other is the starter relay. The “run” circuit must be closed (twisted together) at all times while the engine is running. The “Starter Relay” circuit is the wires that you contact temporarily in order to start the car. If you want to turn the car off, open (untwist) the “run” circuit.
This info comes in handy when you’re building a dune buggy with a push-button ignition.
or don’t have the scratch for a taxi…did I just say that?

XCNuse's avatar

I never new that, thanks for the tip Knotmyday!

weaselope's avatar

If you call your local police department, they can gladly answer this for you

Imsosickxxx's avatar

I know most of this has been answered but I am adding my take as well.

It depends on the year, originally hotwiring would complete a circuit powering the starter therefore, seperating the wires would stop the process. Then it was necessary to hot wire the ignition to start the car so it still be a complete circuit afer those wires were disconnected. Easiest solution disconecting the battery. Now, however, it is necessary to have high tech equipment because most cars have internal computers used to regulate the car. These sometimes come with keys that have chips on them that are needed to access the computer to allow the car to start.

littleshithead's avatar

you guys are idiots when you hotwire a care you have to twist wires together to make it turn on, not start but turn on and then you slightly touch the ignition wires to start it, so if you untwist the wires you began with then it will turn off then repeat it all to start it again!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Taking the battery from the car won’t stop it as the alternator will keep the car running. If you don’t have a stick where all you have to do is let out the gas but not the clutch stalling it, on an automatic you simply disconnect the coil wire from the distributor and the car will die; no spark no combustion, no combustion, engine no go.

seant2's avatar

Well, I just spent the last half hour trying to turn off my car which was returned to me by the police. The steering column was completely destroyed. I took the battery out but it still ran. I disconnected the spark plug caps, thats what turned it off. Find the rubber caps over the wiring which heads down into the spark plugs and pull them out. It can be done by hand. It will probably spark, but after two or three are disconnected, it will die. Good luck!

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