Can You Put a Car in Neutral Without a Key? (7 Steps)
If you have a car with no key, moving it can seem like an impossible task.
However, if you can get the vehicle in neutral, you can roll it to a new destination without ever turning it on.
But, you may ask, how on earth do you get a car in neutral without having the key in the ignition?
To put a car in neutral without a key, you need to get underneath the vehicle and manually change the gear selector to neutral. And make sure you take all the proper safety precautions to keep the car from rolling on top of you when you change the gear.
In this article, I will detail how to put your car in neutral without a key.
I will also discuss the easiest way to tow a car if you don’t have the key and whether it is difficult to push a car when it’s in neutral gear.
7 Steps to Put a Car in Neutral Without the Key
If you have ever tried to put a car in neutral without the key, you know that the gear shifter won’t allow it.
However, there is actually a way to put a car in neutral without the key, and I will detail the procedure below.
Yet, when performing these steps, keep in mind that this process is rather difficult and can be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary safety precautions.
Step One: Apply Wheel Chocks to Your Tires
Before you get underneath your car, you must ensure you’ve taken all the proper safety precautions to prevent the vehicle from rolling on top of you when you change the gears.
One of the most important ways to do this is to apply wheel chocks to your tires.
Wheel chocks are wedge-shaped devices made of rubber, plastic, or wood that you place under your wheels to keep them from moving.
And you will definitely need them when you try to put a car in neutral without the key because your vehicle’s tires will likely start to roll as soon as you change gears.
If the vehicle rolls when you are under it, you could sustain life-threatening injuries.
Thus, you absolutely should not forego this step.
To put wheel chocks on your car, you need to position them directly in the center of your tire and then push firmly on the back of them to make sure they are in place.
You also want to ensure that the bottom of the wheel chock makes complete contact with the ground.
It is best to put wheel chocks on both the front and back of your tires to make certain the car can not roll in any direction.
Step Two: Engage Your Parking Brake
For added safety, you should engage your car’s parking brake before getting underneath it.
Step Three: Get Underneath Your Car
In this next step, you will need to get underneath your car.
Now, if you have a vehicle with high ground clearance, such as a standard truck, you can just go ahead and get underneath it.
However, many vehicles are too close to the ground to allow you to get your body under them.
If this is the case with your car, you need to jack the vehicle first.
So, go ahead and jack up the front of your car high enough so that you can get underneath it.
Then, get some axle stands and place them under an area of the car that can hold the entire weight of the vehicle.
Once you have the axle stands in position, you can remove the jack.
But, before you get underneath the car, you must be absolutely sure that the axle stands are holding the entire weight of the vehicle.
If not, the car could fall on top of you, which could cause life-threatening injuries.
Finally, once you are completely sure that the car will not fall, you can grab your flashlight and get underneath the front of the vehicle.
Step Four: Find Your Transmission
Now that you are under the car, you need to use your flashlight to help you locate the transmission.
So, search around near your vehicle’s engine until you find a large piece of metal shaped like a space shuttle.
This piece is your transmission.
Step Five: Find Your Transmission Cable and Gear Selector
You should now search your transmission until you find the transmission cable, also called the shift linkage.
You can identify the transmission cable because it looks like a cable with a straight piece of metal on the end of it.
On the end of the metal, you will see another bit of metal or plastic that is usually shaped like a piece of bread but may also be circular.
This piece will have a hole in the middle of it.
After locating the slice of bread-shaped end on the transmission cable, you will notice that the hole in the center connects to a lever.
This lever is part of the gear selector.
Step Six: Detach the Transmission Cable From the Gear Selector
In most cases, you can pull the transmission cable from the gear selector lever using nothing but your fingers.
However, in some cars, you’ll need a pair of needle-nosed pliers to pop it off.
Step Seven: Move the Gear Selector Into Neutral
Finally, you can grab the gear selector lever and push it towards the back of the car until you hear two clicks.
After you’ve done this, your vehicle should now be in neutral, and you can roll it to a new location.
How to Tow a Car Without the Key
If you need to tow a car without the key, putting it in neutral with the steps above could be helpful.
But, there is an easier way to tow a car without the key that doesn’t involve getting underneath it.
To tow a car without the key with ease, you need to use a self-loading dolly.
And this device is actually surprisingly simple to use.
When using a self-loading dolly on a car, you first need to identify whether the vehicle is front, rear, or four-wheel drive.
You need to know this because if you don’t put the dolly on the vehicle’s drive wheels, you will blow its transmission.
Once you know which tires to put the dolly on, you can set down the dolly bars on the front and back of the drive wheels.
Next, place the dolly’s wheels on the outside of both of the car’s tires.
Then, lock the dolly’s wheels onto the bars.
You should now use another metal bar, similar to those used to lift jacks, to raise the dolly off the ground.
You can do this by placing the bar into the designated slots on the dolly and cranking it until the dolly lifts.
Finally, make sure everything on the dolly is secure before towing the car away.
Is it Hard to Push a Car When It’s in Neutral Gear?
No, it is not hard to push a car when it is in neutral gear.
The only time it would be difficult to push a car in neutral is when the vehicle’s tires are flat or you need to move the car up a hill.
Otherwise, the car should roll pretty freely.
To put a car in neutral without the key, you will need to get underneath the vehicle and manually shift the gear selector.
But, just make sure you take all the necessary precautions before getting underneath the car to avoid serious injury.
Table of Contents
- 7 Steps to Put a Car in Neutral Without the Key
- Step One: Apply Wheel Chocks to Your Tires
- Step Two: Engage Your Parking Brake
- Step Three: Get Underneath Your Car
- Step Four: Find Your Transmission
- Step Five: Find Your Transmission Cable and Gear Selector
- Step Six: Detach the Transmission Cable From the Gear Selector
- Step Seven: Move the Gear Selector Into Neutral
- How to Tow a Car Without the Key
- Is it Hard to Push a Car When It’s in Neutral Gear?