How to Bypass The Ignition Switch On An ATV

How to Bypass The Ignition Switch On An ATV

So, you’ve got everything ready for a brand new adventure on your ATV, but you can’t find your keys. Or, could you have sworn the keys were in your pocket a minute ago, but they aren’t there now. You’ve searched high and low, but the more you explore, the more lost you become.

Well, you’re in luck. We’re here to guide you through many possible ways you can start your ATV without the keys. 

How ATV Ignitions Work

ATV ignitions work on a simple spark ignition system; when the key turns, it completes the circuit, and a tiny spark combusts to bring the engine to life. Now, that being said, there are ways to achieve this circuit without a key, but you will need to know a few basics, 

Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. If you’ve misplaced or lost the keys to your ATV, here are a few possible ways to bypass the ignition switch: 

  • Use the kickstart
  • New ignition switch
  • Using household tools
  • Hot Wiring 
  • Manual triggering 

Before we elaborate on these methods, make sure you do not make a habit out of this and only use these tricks when it is essential. 

Use The Kickstart 

Using the kickstart ignition may not apply to all ATVs since not all of them have a kickstart ignition built-in. If your ATV does not have this option, you can try other methods. However, if the ATV you own does have an inbuilt Kickstarter, you’re in luck. 

The quickest and easiest way to start your ATV without the keys. 

To enable the pull or kick start, you will first have to disconnect the engine from the ignition switch. Remove the front hood and locate the wires going from the ignition switch to the engine. Now unplug them, and you’re good to go. 

New Ignition Switch

Another fast and relatively easy way to go about this situation would be to replace your ignition switch. This applies if you aren’t in an emergency and have time on your hands. Replacing the switch requires no mechanical skills and is a relatively easy task. 

New switches also come with a new set of keys, so there’s that front covered. 

Using Household Tools 

Time to use some elbow grease. It’s time to dig into your kitchen drawers and pull out a slim knife or scissors; screwdrivers will also do the trick. You have to shimmy a tool of your choice into the keyhole and turn it like a key until the ATV powers on. 

Although plain and straightforward, this method does come at a cost. Once you’ve done this, anything thin enough to fit inside will make your ATV start so that it can be a security risk. 

Therefore, it’s best to use this method only if you’re in a tough spot and get the ignition switch replaced as soon as possible. 

Hot Wiring

Hot wiring depends on how your ATV is built. The main goal is to ignite a spark using the wires and leave the circuit open to keep the engine on. Hot wiring an ATV can generally be done by following this procedure:

  • First, find the wires coming out of the ignition; a wire will be fused with a 12V DC coming out of the batter. This wire is usually red, but you can confirm this by matching it to the output wire coming out of the fuse.
  • Remove one of the remaining wires. Find the kill switch wire and use it to identify an identical wire coming out of the ignition switch. This wire is usually green. Please do not cut it. 
  • Do not cut the kill switch wire either. Identify the color of the kill switch wire in the CDI connector and wire harness. This black wire will have a white stripe running through it.
  • After this elimination method, you will be left with the first wire you identified.
  • Disconnect the ground so that the wires mentioned above are dead, preventing them from shortening and sparking.
  • Now cut the wires you specified in the first step, join them together, secure them with tape, and do you.

To avoid losing your battery, disconnect the wires once you’re done riding to turn off the lights and the fuel pump.

Manual Triggering 

This may be best left as a plan E. If you don’t plan to buy a new ignition switch or are unaware of how to put it back, avoid this method. 

To go through with this method, firstly, remove the ignition from the ATV, it is easy to dismantle and is cylindrical. 

Removing the bottom half of the ignition should reveal a piece with metal connectors. These connectors can be used as a key. First, you have to figure out how they align inside the ignition.\

Get a New Key 

This one is a bit of a no brainer. It’s the easiest and may save you a lot of dismantling, headaches and confusion. Take the ATV to a locksmith who can make you a new key for the installed ignition switch. 

If you don’t want to tow the ATV to the locksmith, you can either take out the ignition and take it with you or ask a locksmith to make a home visit. You can also contact your ATV dealership and ask if they have a professional that can help you out. Some dealerships may also send you a set of spare keys if you can provide them with your VIN or model number.


ATVs are generally easy to start without keys, and while this may be a blessing for a frustrated owner, it also becomes susceptible to stealing. Therefore, store your ATV in a safe place and use this article ethically.

We hope the methods mentioned above can help you bypass your ATV ignition if you lose your keys. If one doesn’t work for you, try giving another method a shot. 

For more blogs and articles about outdoor living and adventures in the great outdoors, visit yapq

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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