How to Start a Car with a Screwdriver: Step-by-Step Guide

method for jumpstarting a car with a screwdriver in case of a dead battery and no jumper cables. It acknowledges that this is not a recommended method and can damage the car’s electrical system. The process involves locating the starter solenoid, attaching a wire to it, and touching the other end of the wire to a metal surface on the engine block.

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery and no clue how to get your engine rumbling? Fear not, stranded friend! This ain’t your fancy mechanic manual – we’re talking real-world, screwdriver-in-hand solutions.

I’ll guide you step-by-step through the magic of jumpstarting your car with just a trusty screwdriver.

No PhD in electrical engineering is required promise! So grab your trusty tool, crack open a hood, and prepare to become a roadside hero (to yourself, at least).

Let’s get you back on the road, faster than you can say “ignition!” Now, who’s ready to ditch the tow truck and become a DIY champion?

Share your success stories in the comments, and let’s prove that even with a flat battery, our resourcefulness never runs dry!

Why Use a Screwdriver to Start Your Car?

Have you ever found yourself in a jam when your car won’t start and you don’t have jumper cables? Did you know you can use a screwdriver to start your car? I know but it’s true!

Now, before you get too excited, let me warn you that this is not a long-term solution. Using a screwdriver to start your car can damage your vehicle’s ignition system.

  1. Find a screwdriver that fits snugly into the slot of your car’s ignition cylinder. A flathead screwdriver usually works best, but a Phillips head can also do the job.
  2. Insert the screwdriver into the ignition cylinder and turn it like you would a key.
  3. Once the screwdriver is in place, have someone turn on the car’s electrical system by turning on the headlights or interior lights.
  4. When the electrical system is on, quickly turn the screwdriver to start the car.

I want to emphasize again that this is not a recommended method for regularly starting your car. This is an easy trick to use just once in a while or when you lose your car keys.

How to Start a Car With a Screwdriver?

Imagine yourself in this scenario: it’s a chilly morning, you’re running late for work, and your car refuses to start. Panic sets in as you realize your battery is dead.

What if I told you there might be a way out of this situation using just a screwdriver? That’s right, with this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to jumpstart your car using a screwdriver—no jumper cables needed.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you begin, ensure you have the following items on hand:

  • A Phillips-head screwdriver
  • A piece of wire (at least 12 inches long)
  • A wrench (optional)

Step 2: Locate Your Starter Solenoid

A close-up photo of a car engine with a red arrow pointing to the starter solenoid, a small, cylindrical object with two large terminals connected to it.

This part is usually positioned on the side of your car’s engine. It’s a small, cylindrical object with two large terminals connected to it.

Step 3: Exposing the Terminal

Image of A hand holding a screwdriver, gently prying off a plastic cap from the positive terminal of a starter solenoid.

In some cars, the terminal might be covered with a plastic cap. If yours has one, pry it off gently using the screwdriver or hammer.

Step 4: Attaching the Wire

Image of A pair of hands wrapping a wire around the positive terminal of a starter solenoid, twisting it tightly to secure the connection.

Take one end of the wire and wrap it around the positive terminal (usually marked with a “+” sign) on the starter solenoid. Twist it tightly to ensure a secure connection.

Step 5: Grounding the Wire

Take the other end of the wire and touch it to an unpainted metal surface on your car’s engine block. Make sure it’s a spot away from any moving parts like belts or fans.

Step 6: Starting the Car

image of A person sitting in a car using a screwdriver to start a car.

Get in your car, and turn the screwdriver to the “On” position, but don’t try to start it yet. While holding the wire against the metal surface, turn the screwdriver to the “Start” position. You may need to hold it there for a few seconds until the engine starts.

Step 7: Removing the Wire

Once the car starts, immediately remove the wire from both the starter solenoid and the engine block.

Step 8: Securing the Connection

If your car has a loose or corroded connection, you can use the wrench to tighten it. This will help prevent future problems with starting your car.

Bonus Tip: If you find it challenging to reach the starter solenoid, you can use a metal rod or a long screwdriver instead of a wire. Just make sure it’s insulated to prevent electric shock.

The National Automotive Technicians Association (NATA) is a professional organization for automotive technicians. You can find a NATA-certified mechanic in your area.

Now that you know this trick, you’re equipped to handle a dead battery situation like a pro! No more waiting for assistance or shelling out money for towing services. With just a screwdriver and a bit of know-how, you can get back on the road in no time.

Benefits of Using a Screwdriver to Start Your Car

Have you ever thought about starting your car with a screwdriver? No, I’m not kidding! Using a screwdriver to start your car can have some benefits.

First of all, it can save you in a pinch if you lose your car keys. Let’s say you’re out camping and you accidentally leave your keys in the car.

Instead of hiking back to civilization, you can use a screwdriver to start your car and be on your way.

Secondly, using a screwdriver to start your car can be a great backup plan if your key fob battery dies. Instead of being stranded, you can use a screwdriver to start your car and get to a store to buy a new battery.

But before you go trying to start your car with a screwdriver, there are a few things you should know. First, you need to find the ignition wire, which is usually red.

Then, you need to strip the insulation off the end of the screwdriver and touch it to the exposed metal of the ignition wire.

what are the risks of using a screwdriver to start your car?

Using a screwdriver to start a car is a dangerous practice that can lead to serious injury or death. This method of starting a car bypasses the safety features designed to protect the driver and others, such as the neutral safety switch and the starter motor safety switches. 

When a screwdriver is used to start a car, sparks and electricity can cause fires or explosions, and the vehicle can become a runaway, potentially injuring or killing the driver and others.

Moreover, bypassing the safety features of a car can damage the vehicle’s electrical system, including the computer, which can result in costly repairs.

Additionally, using a screwdriver to start a car is illegal in many jurisdictions, and doing so can result in fines or even criminal charges.


So, you managed to jumpstart your car using a screwdriver… and maybe some sparks of ingenuity! Remember, this trick is best saved for emergencies, like being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery and zero cell service.

High-tech it ain’t, but hey, desperate times call for resourceful measures.

Now, go share your tale with the internet! Tell your friends, post on forums, write a catchy song about it – just spread the word that even with a toolbox and a little grit, you can conquer car troubles.

And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone else to think outside the ignition when faced with a mechanical meltdown.

Remember, knowledge is power, and sometimes, a trusty screwdriver is all you need to get your engine purring again.

So keep calm, keep tinkering, and keep sharing your DIY adventures!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I start any car with a screwdriver?

Yes, you can use a screwdriver to start most older model cars that have a traditional ignition system. However, it’s important to note that this method may not work for newer vehicles with keyless ignition systems or advanced security features.

Is it safe to start a car with a screwdriver?

Starting your car with a screwdriver can be risky and is generally not recommended unless you are in an emergency. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and consider alternative methods whenever possible.

What are the benefits of using a screwdriver to start my car?

Using a screwdriver as an emergency measure can help you access your vehicle’s ignition system when facing key-related issues. This method should only be used temporarily until proper repairs or replacements can be made.

Are there common mistakes I should avoid when starting my car with a screwdriver?

One common mistake is attempting this method without understanding the potential risks involved. Using excessive force or the wrong type of screwdriver can cause damage to the ignition switch or other components.

When should I consider using this method to start my car?

This approach should only be considered in situations where all other options have been exhausted, such as when your key is lost and professional assistance is unavailable. It’s essential to exercise caution and seek expert help at the earliest opportunity.

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer and I have over 3 years of hands-on experience repairing cars, motorcycles, and trucks. Ever since I operated on my first engine in 2018, I’ve been passionate about all things automotive. In 2021, I launched my blog “Motoring Mastery” to share my knowledge with car enthusiasts and DIY mechanics.