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Magic of Television

I don’t know if this has been discussed here previously but ever notice when somebody goes to steal a car on tv or in a movie, they just reach under the dash and then magically grab two pre-stripped wires (which happen to be the correct starter circuit) and just touch them together with a little spark for effect. The car just magically starts. Why can’t I ever find these wires?

Yah, my family has asked me that too.
So I tell them about covered harnesses with twenty different colors of wire in there, the service manual research needed to know which is which, that you need one circuit to stay connected to run and another to engage the starter, and the fact that it’s just TV.
What they’re NOT showing is the hour it takes even IF you already know which wire’s which.

They’ve also had me explain why the wheels appear to turn backward in many shots.

You’d change the channel if you had to wait for them to figure out how to hot wire the car.

Plus touching the wires together – while it might start the car – wouldn’t relieve the steering wheel lock mechanism, so you’d have to go in whatever the direction the steering wheel was pointed, which would be a problem unless you happened to find the car parked on the Bonneville Salt Flats or something, where there is a lot of room for steering errors.

You might be able to do it IF you were extremely familiar with the vehicle. But to walk up to any random vehicle and starting it by just crossing wires…no way.

I’m sure that “professional” car thieves can steal many recent cars in a matter of minutes. But it isn’t done by touching two wires together under the dash. Even on old cars that had a points ignition, you’d first have to connect a couple of wires to enable the ignition system to function, then jump two different wires to crank and start the engine. And none of this was done from under the dash.

Mr. Obvious, Here.
I Don’t Know If Your TV Is Like Mine, And If It Is Then Perhaps You Haven’t Noticed Yet, But Most Of What Comes Out Of It Is Utter Bovine Scatology !


You know, if they actually showed how it was done, there would be a lot more amatuers trying to steal cars. Before the advent of chip and vats keys, popping the lock cylinder was the norm. I’ve replaced a bunch of them.

And Oblivion mentioned it on about page three of this thread.

Yep, that’s how its done. Just break the key lock and turn the switch with a screwdriver. That’s how they got the kids car anyway. A lot easier than looking for wires when most dashes have cover plates anyway.

In recent years, certain model year GM trucks, including the Cadillac Escalade, were popular with amateur and professional thieves because they were very easy to steal. You didn’t “hotwire” it, though, you just pulled down on the gear shifter with sufficient force to break the interlock (which was, apparently, surprisingly little) and have another vehicle push you to your desired destination. I believe GM issued a recall to address this issue.

Goes to show you that good TV is rare.
It certainly isn’t well done.

I love it when actors yank wires out of a bundle and short them together. Have you ever tried to yank apart even a 28 ga multi-stranded wire with your bare hands?

My all time favorite was the heavyset guy (Cannon?) who managed to extract himself from a 2 door car and drop a guy (who was already running away before the fat guy even started to get out of the car) from 50 yards or more with a snub nosed .38

"drop a guy (who was already running away before the fat guy even started to get out of the car) from 50 yards or more with a snub nosed .38 "

And there’s the reverse, with several guys shooting at each other from, say, 10 feet and not hitting anything…just depends on where the plot needs to go.

Haha - yeah, like the A-team of old.

There was a time many years ago when it was that simple. It is’t anymore.

Yeah Cannon was a pretty good shot and always drove a large Lincoln to get out of. The folks that provided the sound effects for the pistols and rifles I’m sure had never heard a real one before. They really loved the ricochet sounds too which I’ve never heard in 50 years of shooting.

I love the ones where the good guy has four or five badguys shooting hundreds of rounds at him with automatic weapons and they all miss…then he pulls out a 5-shot .38 revolver with a 2" barrel and shoots them all dead. As if.

Cartoon car theft

One of our fleet trucks was recently stolen and recovered in a different location (I believe somebody needed use of a truck for a weekend)
The door lock cylinder was punched out and the ignition lock cylinder was forced out, so that it could be started with a flat blade screwdriver.
Fortunately, the repair was pretty simple. I replaced the exterior door handle (the lock cylinder itself was okay!) and the ignition lock cylinder (which took me longer to code than replacing the exterior door handle, because of the tumblers)