How To Start A Truck With A Can Opener

Or, “The utter uselessness of car alarms”.

Sequence of events:
1. Key fob for my car alarm dies, I am about 1 mile from home, in Richmond, CA, in the Iron Triangle.
2. I walk to RadioShack (also 1-2 miles away) and buy battery replacement.
3. Replacement battery does not work. Can’t open door without setting off alarm.
4. I walk home and make 12V battery pack. Fob works, door opens, once. Stops working. Can’t start truck.
5. Determine key fob is borked. No spare, because my keys were stolen a week ago. RICHMOND!!!
6. Open door and set off car alarm.
7. Get angry. Convert anger to cool ruthlessness. Open hood and disconnect battery with Leatherman. Cut wires to obnoxious speaker.
8. Disassemble dash with Leatherman.
9. Cut wire ties supporting car alarm. Remove wires from car alarm.
10. Reconnect battery.
11. Pull off white and red/white striped wires (labeled “starter”&”starter motor”).
12. Connect wires with can opener.
13. Depress clutch (clutch has starter switch)
14. Truck starts.
15. Buy small “adapter” that connects two wires. Connect wires.
16. VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks, little can opener:

These can openers have quite a history of being used in interesting ways. My Dad gave me one when I was just a little kid – explained its usage and let me put it on my keychain (which mostly contained useless old keys). Over the next 20 years or so I found it useful all over the place. I’ve used it to remove screws, open cans, cut tape, start fires, and now, to hotwire my truck. Thanks, Dad! Too bad the one you gave me was stolen with all my other keys AND my spare fob. But lucky that I’d purchased a dozen more for gifts.

A few lessons here.
1. Car alarms are useless. Now that I’ve done this, I could disable most aftermarket car alarms and start many cars in a matter of minutes.
2. Having only one key fob is the same as having no key fob.
3. Having a multitool in your pocket at all times is not paranoia, it is good policy.
4. The P38 can opener is a profoundly useful thing.

EDIT: While driving to buy some bolt cutters, I realized that the connection I made with the can opener is the correct place to put a kill switch in for the starter. I might also put in a fuel pump kill switch somewhere.

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13 Responses to How To Start A Truck With A Can Opener

  1. davr says:

    So it turns out when you see people in movies cutting a few wires and connecting them together, it’s not too far from the truth? Hooray for hotwiring!

  2. danreetz says:

    Yes, exactly! There’s really nothing to it. I was shocked at how easy it was. If I’d only had a proper screwdriver, and perhaps a paperclip (instead of the can opener) it would have gone much faster.

  3. Cec Reetz says:

    Way to go Young Man!

  4. danreetz says:

    LOL. My Mom just cheered me on for hotwiring a car! Clearly, I have the best mom in the universe. Love you, Mom!

  5. afiler says:

    It’s funny how hard it can be to re-bootstrap ownership of something, at least as far as the robots are concerned. Glad to see the mini-meathook coming in handy once again.

    A few years ago, I took the spare key for the bug, split open the bulky plastic head on the key, and stuck the (now slightly thinner) key in my wallet. At some point when I needed that spare key, I unlocked the car with the key, started it up, and then I noticed the security light came on and the car shut down. It turns out that the RFID module that lived in the key head fell out at some point. I found that the door locks and ignition will operate manually, but the car will not continue to let itself run without talking to that RFID capsule.

  6. Cec Reetz says:

    I have the best son in the universe-in fact-3 best sons!!!

  7. miche says:

    ha! why wouldnt she cheer you on!

    ive had to stop regularly carrying my knife for work safety reason. i cant tell you how many times ive grumbled curses under my breath for now being able to do something because it was not in my pocket.

    now it mostly opens beers.

  8. Sue says:

    Let’s hear it for cool ruthlessness!
    My Swiss Army knife (found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in March of 1979) is always in my pocketbook. I have yet to hotwire a vehicle, however.

  9. Big M says:

    Yay! for shady skills I learn from Dan and make sure to show my kids. First it was how to break into anything I want to that is locked with this http://bit.ly/mThvfG via my sweet bolt cutters from D, now hotwire a car. BOOM!

  10. danreetz says:

    You know, Big M, I just bought myself a pair of 36″ bolt cutters this morning, to remove a Master Lock. Even I was impressed at how easily it went.

  11. James Grindeland says:

    Lol! I think I just figured out how to fix my wife’s Minivan! The car alarm won’t stop blaring when the battery is hooked up, and the starter is disabled, presumably from the alarm system, so I can’t crank it. I take it I need to bypass the alarm system.

  12. James Grindeland says:

    Thanks, Dan. I just fixed my wife’s Minivan.

  13. danreetz says:

    That is so rad! Glad to be of (limited/remote) assistance, James!

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