How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024

How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024 – The Screwdriver Technique

Finding yourself unable to start your car because of a faulty or worn ignition switch is never convenient. But with some basic mechanical know-how and the right tools, it is possible to temporarily bypass the ignition switch and start your car using just a screwdriver.

This comprehensive guide covers step-by-step instructions, tips, and precautions for starting a car with a screwdriver. Follow along to gain the mechanical skills needed for this useful automotive technique.

Overview of Using a Screwdriver to Start a Car

The basic concept involves using a screwdriver to turn the ignition cylinder housing directly and engage the starter motor, bypassing any issues with the ignition switch:

  • Insert a screwdriver into the ignition housing and apply torque to rotate it directly.
  • Turn the ignition cylinder housing clockwise to the start position with force.
  • This will activate the starter motor and crank the engine to start just like turning the key.
  • Immediately remove the screwdriver once the car is running to avoid damage.
  • This provides a temporary start until ignition switch repairs can be made.
  • Success requires proper technique, tools, and understanding of car ignition components.

Use extreme care as forced turning can damage ignition components. This method should only be used in emergencies to limp a vehicle to a repair facility.

How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024
Steps to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024

Step 1 – Confirm Mechanical Issues Preventing Start

Before attempting this method, diagnose why the vehicle will not start normally:

  • Faulty ignition switch – No power to the starter when turning the key. It is likely the prime candidate if the battery and starter test ok.
  • Seized ignition cylinder – The key no longer rotates the housing and switches freely. Requires replacement.
  • Broken key – The key itself has become damaged or worn down and no longer engages the ignition switch effectively.
  • Electrical issues – For no start problems traceable to wiring faults, battery, starter, etc, a screwdriver start may not succeed.

Carefully verify the ignition switch itself or lock cylinder is the primary issue preventing normal starting before attempting to use a screwdriver workaround.

Step 2 – Obtain Proper Tools

You will need these basic tools:

  • Standard screwdriver – With 6+ inch shaft. Avoid tiny jeweler types.
  • Rag – To protect the paint finish around the ignition.
  • Flashlight – To visually inspect the ignition cylinder.
  • Gloves – Protect hands from cuts on exposed metal.
  • Replacement ignition parts – Like new lock cylinder assemblies if the existing one is damaged.
  • Steel utility/putty knife – Optional for added leverage.
  • Hammer and punch – If ignition housing needs to be tapped to turn.

Collect all necessary tools before beginning work for a smooth process.

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Step 3 – Examine Ignition Cylinder and Switch

Closely inspect the ignition cylinder and switch using the flashlight:

  • Look for damage or excessive wear that may hinder turning the cylinder with a screwdriver.
  • Note which direction the cylinder needs to be rotated to reach the start position. This varies by vehicle.
  • Check for misaligned or broken components inside the the cylinder that may need repair later.
  • Ensure the wiring plug and ignition module are still firmly connected at the rear of the assembly.

Taking a few minutes to examine the ignition closely helps identify any issues or variances in your vehicle that may impact the screwdriver start process.

How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024
Steps to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024

Step 4 – Gain Access to Ignition Cylinder

You need hand and tool access to the ignition cylinder:

  • Remove any items or debris blocking access to the ignition housing.
  • Pull out around the ignition with your hands to check for play or looseness.
  • Remove lower dashboard panels/trim if needed to improve access.
  • Avoid forcing or applying excess lateral pressure on the ignition module and wiring.

The goal is unobstructed access to insert the screwdriver and turn the cylinder. Be gentle to avoid damaging ignition components though.

Step 5 – Insert and Rotate the Screwdriver

With access gained, proceed carefully with the start attempt:

  • Insert the screwdriver tip firmly into the keyway/cylinder at the rear.
  • Apply force rotating in the start direction (typically clockwise on most vehicles).
  • Leverage the screwdriver handle to exert maximum torque.
  • The cylinder itself should turn to activate the ignition switch internally.
  • Keep rotational force on the cylinder until the starter engages and the engine starts.
  • Remove the screwdriver promptly once the engine is running to avoid damage.

Applying smooth force is critical. Rough, jerking motions can damage the cylinder and internal parts so go slowly. Abort immediately if anything feels jammed or excessive force is needed.

Step 6 – Allow the Engine to Run Briefly Before Turning it Off

With the engine successfully started, let it idle briefly:

  • Allow the engine to run for 30-60 seconds before turning it off.
  • Avoid revving the engine during this time. Just let it idle gently.
  • Turn the screwdriver clockwise again to the run position to keep the cylinder from locking.
  • When ready to turn off, rotate the screwdriver gently counterclockwise to the off position.

This brief run time allows oil flow for lubrication and prevents cylinder seizure after starting. Turn off carefully before removing the screwdriver.

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Step 7 – Remove Screwdriver and Schedule Repairs

With a successful temporary start achieved, conclude the process:

  • Remove the screwdriver promptly once the engine is turned off.
  • Lock the steering wheel and leave the vehicle in park if possible.
  • Schedule ignition switch or lock cylinder replacement/repair as soon as feasible.
  • Use alternate secure transportation methods until repairs are completed if needed.

The screwdriver start causes added wear and should only be a temporary fix in an emergency, not standard procedure. Fix underlying issues before your next drive.

How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024
Tips Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024

Tips and Precautions for Successfully Starting a Car With a Screwdriver

Here are some important tips and precautions to follow when using this method:

  • Abort immediately if excessive force is needed as this risks damage.
  • Go slowly and smoothly – avoid jerking the screwdriver roughly.
  • Applying pressure with the palm or foot gives better torque than just wrist force.
  • Lubricating the cylinder can help, but avoid liquid sprays that can damage electronics.
  • Tapping gently with a hammer or using a putty knife for leverage may assist.
  • Carefully remove any broken key fragments present in the cylinder before starting.
  • Confirm the transmission is in park or neutral before engaging the starter.
  • Keep all body parts clear of fans, belts, and other moving components!
  • Wear protective gloves and eyewear when working around the exposed metal.

Use extreme care and caution when utilizing this emergency method. Stop immediately if ignition components become damaged.

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Conclusion

How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver 2024

Starting a car with just a screwdriver is possible as a temporary fix by carefully manipulating the ignition cylinder. But understand that this method can expedite wear and risks component damage if proper techniques are not followed. In many cases, calling a professional mobile mechanic or tow service to start and repair the vehicle may be the best option to avoid problems. But for those with mechanical experience and confidence, using a screwdriver to start a car in an emergency due to ignition switch failure can allow you to limp the vehicle to a repair shop. Just be sure to schedule ignition repairs promptly after to prevent ongoing issues

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