In some cases, it might be possible to start your Chevy truck even if you don’t have the key.
Learn how you can do it in this expert guide.
Do you have an old Chevy truck that you just can’t seem to find the key for anymore? If so, don’t fret just yet.
Even though modern trucks have all sorts of built-in features and safeties that prevent you from starting it without the key, older models don’t have all the frills.
There are actually multiple ways to fire it up without the key in case you don’t have it.
How To Start A Chevy Truck Without The Key
In some models of Chevy with certain ignition modules, you can simply start it with a screwdriver. Another way to get it started without the key is to hotwire the ignition (remember, only your own truck!). And in some cases, you might be able to get a rolling start if it’s a manual.
Did you know that it’s possible to start a Chevy truck without the key? It’s true! In this article, we will discuss how to start a truck without the key.
First, we will talk about how the ignition works and why you would need to start a truck without the key.
Then we’ll get into the details about a few of the different ways that you can start a Chevy truck without the key.
Over the years as a technician and as someone that’s owned just about every make and model of truck out there, I’ve learned a thing or two about getting an old Chevy started without the key.
But to make sure I’m getting you the most accurate information I can, I also reached out to other experts and enthusiasts to find all the best ways to start a Chevy truck without a key.
How do I start my truck without a key?
Before we get into the ways that you can start a Chevy truck without the key, let’s first walk you through how a vehicle ignition system works so that the methods we tell you can make more sense.
After all, it might often just seem like magic. Just put your key in, twist your wrist, and it fires right up.
But don’t you worry, there is actually quite a bit going on behind the scenes.
When you turn the key in your ignition, it kickstarts the system and fires off one thing after another that all work together to start your truck.
The key turns the ignition cylinder and module which sends power to the starter solenoid.
The starter solenoid is what actually starts the engine by engaging the starter motor.
The starter motor then cranks the engine until it finally fires up and roars to life.
And that’s just the mechanical side of things.
In order for the engine to start, even more happens when you turn the key.
Once you do, power flows to the ignition coil which steps up the voltage so that it can jump the spark plug gap.
This high voltage flows through the distributor and rotor (or ignition coils in newer trucks) to each spark plug in turn, igniting the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders, and voila! Your engine is running.
Now that we know how a vehicle ignition system works, let’s get into how to start a Chevy truck without the key.
Can you start a Chevy truck with a screwdriver?
One popular way to start a Chevy truck without the key is by using a screwdriver.
There are actually two methods of starting a vehicle that uses a screwdriver.
One method (that you really shouldn’t do) is known as “jumping the starter.” It’s a pretty simple process that anyone can do with just a few tools.
The other method is much simpler but only really works with certain ignition modules or after an ignition cylinder has gone bad.
For the first method, you will need to locate the starter solenoid which is usually on the fender well near the battery.
Once you have found it, take your screwdriver and touch the metal tip to both the positive and negative terminals on the solenoid at the same time.
Doing this will bypass the ignition switch and send power directly to the starter solenoid which will engage the starter itself and start your engine.
It’s important to note that while this method is effective, it’s not exactly safe.
You are essentially creating a live circuit by touching two exposed wires together.
If you are not careful, you could easily electrocute yourself, or at the very least experience a painful shock.
We do not recommend this method and are only telling you this for educational purposes.
Do not attempt to start your truck this way even if you don’t have the key.
The other way that you might be able to start your Chevy truck with a screwdriver is really only applicable when the ignition cylinder is worn down so much that it no longer turns the key.
In this case, you can use a screwdriver to manually turn the ignition cylinder to the “start” position which will engage the starter and start your engine.
However, this method only works with certain types of ignition modules that have what’s called a “starter enable relay.” This is a safety feature that is designed to prevent hotwiring.
If your Chevy truck has this feature, you won’t be able to start it by manually turning the ignition cylinder with a screwdriver.
And speaking of hotwiring, let’s take a look at the next way that you can start your Chevy without the key.
How do you hotwire a Chevy truck?
Let’s preface this section by saying that hotwiring is not particularly safe and it’s also not something you should ever attempt, especially not to any other vehicle but your own.
You probably have only ever heard of hotwiring in movies or TV shows where the character needs to quickly start a car and get away from the scene of a crime.
Hotwiring is actually pretty simple, but again, we only recommend that you do this to your own truck and only if you absolutely have to.
To hotwire a Chevy truck, you will need to locate the ignition module.
This is usually located on the steering column or near the gear shift lever.
Once you have found it, take a wire and touch one end to the “ACC” terminal on the ignition cylinder.
Then touch the other end of the wire to either the “START” or “RUN” terminal.
Doing this will bypass the ignition module and send power directly to the starter solenoid which will engage the starter and start your engine.
And there you have it! While this is fairly easy in theory, most people don’t recommend that you actually attempt to start your Chevy truck this way.
It’s not exactly safe and it’s also illegal in some places.
Plus, most modern trucks have safeties built-in that will prevent you from hotwiring the ignition.
But now you know how it’s done!
How do you start a Chevy truck with the key?
Now that we’ve gone over the ways that you can start your Chevy truck without the key, let’s talk about the right way to do it.
If you still have your key, then starting your truck is as easy as turning the key in the ignition cylinder to the “START” position.
This will engage the starter and start your engine (after going through all that other stuff we discussed above, of course!).
It’s really that simple! We know that it might seem like a lot of work just to start your truck, but once you understand how everything works it’s really not that bad
And at least now you know what to do if you ever lose your key!