Car Lock Outs, Hotwiring And Satellite Ignitions

So many car keys are now remote. That means that rather than turning a metal key in the ignition, your key will emit a radio signal and your car can be started with the push of a button, sometimes while the key is still in your pocket.

Robert Campbell, a locksmith who owns Advantage Locksmith in New York City, talks about car lockouts.

Yodles Q: If you do an auto lockout job, can you start cars once you have gained access?

Roberts A: While there is usually a way to disassemble the steering column and hotwire the cars to start them, that is not recommended because it can be dangerous for the customer who is driving the car while its hotwired. In theory, however, you can hotwire many cars so they are manually put into the on position and the owner can drive it.

Yodles Q: Do you ever hotwire cars for clients?

Roberts A: No. Though we have done it a few times in the past, nowadays that is not something we would ever do again. Today, the design mechanics are far more complicated than they have ever been. There are ways to get peoples cars started by knowing a few tricks such as reversing polarity and stuff like that. But we generally try to stay away from that type of thing. It would have to be extremely extenuating circumstances for us to consider hotwiring. But we have the skills to do so most of the time.

Nowadays however, with OnStar and other navigation systems, a lot of people will have roadside contracts and they can simply call their insurance provider, roadside assistance company or even the dealership and have them send out a signal to open the car wherever they are via satellite.

It is pretty amazing technology. Lets say you left your keys in car in the middle of nowhere. There are no locksmiths for miles around. If you have the OnStar Navigation System, you can call the service provider, whether its AAA or your Audi dealer, and ask for assistance to access your car and they will send satellite signal to your vehicle that will open the locked door. It is all satellite controlled and extremely quick. You may have seen those commercials where they have a navigation system for Toyota: You see the aftermath of car accident, the hood of car is open, smoke pouring out and then you hear the voiceover saying, Hi this is Joe from Toyota. I believe you have been in accident. Are you OK? Shall we send out an ambulance?

So a lot of vehicles now have onboard systems that provide direct communication between the driver and the ownership and dealers. These systems, if in place, can almost guarantee you will never be locked out of your car again.