How To Bypass The Ignition Switch On An ATV To Start It

how to bypass ignition switch on atv

Imagine going on a five-hour ride to a new trail through mud, sand, and rocky terrains. On arrival, you set your camp up and want to unload your ATV, and you realize your key is at home. You have two choices, find a way to start your ATV or spend your time without your ATV.

There are different ways to bypass the ignition switch on an ATV. You can hotwire the ATV, use a screwdriver or scissors, replace the ignition switch, disassemble the ignition, jump the starter relay/skip the solenoid, or make a new key. The type of ATV you have determines the method to use.

Forgetting or losing your key should not deter you from riding your ATV. Most of these methods are easy to carry out, and you shouldn’t have trouble with them. However, these methods must be used legally and, on your ATV, only.

How To Bypass The Ignition Switch On An ATV

An experience no one hopes to have is to forget the key to their vehicle. Different factors can make you forget your key, carelessness, absentmindedness, or stress, among others. However, this should not stop you from going on a ride with your ATV. Let us look at some ways to start your vehicle without the key.

Kick Start Or Enable The Pull

Kick starting will not work on all ATVs, but if your ATV has a way to allow you to kick start it, you are lucky. This is the easiest and best way to bypass the ignition switch. To do this, you must have read the owner’s manual because there are variations among different brands of ATV. Nevertheless, this is the basic way to kick start an ATV.

  • Remove the front hood covering the CDI and electrical components.
  • Locate the wire connecting the ignition switch to the engine. Remove the plug connecting the wire to the ignition switch.
  • Replace the hood.
  • Use the pull start or kick start the ATV. This is dependent on the model and brand of your ATV.

Hot Wire The ATV

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The idea of hot wiring an ATV is to change the wires to bypass the ignition switch, so the circuit is left open, and a spark can start the engine. We will look at three different ways to hotwire an ATV; the best option depends on your ATV.

Option 1

  • First, locate the wire connecting the battery to the solenoid.
  • Cut the wire that connects the solenoid to the battery.
  • Locate the red wire that comes out of the battery.
  • Join the red wire from the battery to the wires you cut.
  • Start the vehicle.

Option 2

  • Locate and remove the instrument cluster or lamp top housing part.
  • Locate the key switch assembly and remove it.
  • Locate the electrical connector that is attached to the switch assembly.
  • There are four terminals; find the one with 12-volt wire.
  • Place a jumper wire between the 12 volts wire and the terminal closest to it.
  • Install a jumper from the terminal at the end of the terminal bundle, touch the jumper from the terminal housing the 12-volt wire, the engine should crank and start.
  • If the engine starts, remove the last jumper touching the 12 volts wire. To shut down the ATV, slide the kill switch.

Option 3

  • Locate the wires coming from the ignition, the first wire will be fused with a 12 volts DC from the battery, and it is always red.
  • Identify the kill switch wire and its twin color in the ignition switch connector; this is always green. Don’t connect this wire.
  • Avoid connecting the kill switch wire too. Locate the kill switch wire in the wiring harness; it is usually black with a white stripe.
  • Disconnect the earth and kill wires you identified, so they don’t short and kill the spark.
  • Cut the two wires you identified and join them using tape.
  • Disconnect the wires after your ride to prevent your battery from being drained.

Use A Screwdriver Or Scissors

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The simplest way to bypass the ignition switch and start an ATV is using a screwdriver or scissors. To do this, you have to jam the screwdriver or the blade of a scissor into the ignition and twist it the way you would with a key. This is the most popular way to bypass the ignition switch.

The only downside to this method is that you can damage the ignition, and you might need to purchase a new one. Nevertheless, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Disassemble The Ignition

To use this method, you would have to take the ignition apart so it is advisable to use this method only when you plan to get a new ignition. Follow these steps to start your ATV.

  • Loosen the ignition from the vehicle.
  •  Remove the bottom half of the cylinder connected to the cord that leads to your ATV’s engine.
  • You should see a piece with metal connectors if you look into the ignition. Pull that piece out.
  • Take the piece and find out how the metals line up with the connectors in the ignition.
  • Put the metal connectors in the right position and start your ATV.

Replace The Ignition Switch

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If you need immediate access to your ATV, changing the ignition switch is a better alternative, especially if getting a new key is difficult. The cost of a new ignition switch is not as expensive as you would imagine. It is also easy to install. However, if you do not feel comfortable replacing the ignition switch yourself, you can call an auto-dealer to get it done.

Have A New Key Made

If you have the opportunity, you can get a new key from a dealer; this is the best and safest option. However, a new key can only be made when you have the code stamped on the key. With the code, a dealer can make a new key. They can also make a new key for you if you know your ATV VIN and model.

Jump The Starter Relay

This method only works on ATVs with an electric starter and does not have an alternative way to start it. If this method does not work, you can try out the other methods discussed. Follow the steps below:

  • Locate the ATV’s solenoid or starters relay. It is located next to or under the battery and beside the wiring harness.
  • You will see two big main wires. Jump these two wires using a wrench; your vehicle should start.

The solenoid is a switch that uses a low amp to control a high amp load. It comes in different sizes and shapes, but they are usually square or circular with two large and two small wires. The former is for the high amp load and the latter is for the low amp switch.

Tools Needed To Bypass The Ignition Switch Of An ATV

For you to bypass the ignition switch to start your ATV, you must have some tools. If you are stuck and cannot start your ATV without the key and you do not have any of these tools, the only option is to find a way to get your key or you can make a new one. The list of tools you need is;

  • T-handle set
  • Allen wrench set
  • ATV ale wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Tapes

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the type of ATV you have, you can start it without the ignition key. The methods we have discussed above are effective. All you need to do is understand your ATV and the best method for it. It is advisable not to use these methods frequently. Frequently using them could damage the engine of your ATV.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.