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How To Tell If Your Car Has A Kill Switch? Is Your Car Protected?

Car thief attempting to steal a car

An activated kill switch can render your vehicle inoperable and help prevent the vehicle's theft.

Different types of kill switches are installed on different parts of the vehicle.

Finding a kill switch can be difficult, but some common signs of a kill switch installation are extra wires at the battery and fuse box, a valve on the fuel line, or extra wires spliced into the ignition system under the dashboard.

Table Of Contents [show]

    Car thief attempting to steal a car
    Car thief attempting to steal a car

    How Does A Kill Switch Work On A Car?

    There are five common types of kill switches that you can have on your vehicle. Most of them work in different ways.

    Fuel Line Kill Switch

    A fuel line kill switch stops fuel from getting to the engine and works by isolating the fuel tank from the engine with a valve.

    Fuel line kill switches are somewhat unpopular as they are complicated to install.

    Modifications will need to be made to the fuel line.

    That said, many people find these to be great kill switches.

    An activated fuel line kill switch doesn't necessarily indicate a kill switch installed. Instead, it gives the impression that your vehicle is just out of fuel.

    Car Battery Disconnect Switches

    A car battery disconnect switch isolates the car battery from the rest of the vehicle's systems.

    The vehicle's engine utilizes battery power to give it the initial juice needed to start.

    They are easy to install but can also be easily found and disabled by thieves.

    Simple manual car battery disconnect switch
    Simple manual car battery disconnect switch

    Remote Control Battery Switches

    A remote control battery switch operates much the same way as a battery disconnect, only that you can operate them remotely.

    Fuse Box Kill Switches

    A fuse box kill switch does the same job as a battery kill switch by stopping power from the battery from reaching the rest of the car's components.

    The difference is that the switch is installed in the fuse box instead of on the battery.

    Many people find this a much more efficient system than a battery kill switch, particularly if you plan on turning your vehicle's kill switch on and off a lot.

    Mechanic installing a fuse box kill switch
    Mechanic installing a fuse box kill switch

    Ignition Wire Kill Switches

    Ignition wire kill switches are the most popular kill switch because they are easy to wire up and reset.

    The ignition wire kill switch is spliced into the ignition and, when activated, will isolate the vehicle's ignition in the cab from the engine's starter system.

    What Happens When An Engine Kill Switch Is Activated?

    Activated kill switches disable a vehicle from starting.

    They work by isolating a particular system of your vehicle like the battery, fuel, or ignition system.

    Where Is The Kill Switch Located On A Car?

    There are five types of kill switches that you can have installed in your vehicle:

    • On the fuel line
    • On the battery (this will be for a battery kill switch, as well as a remote kill switch)
    • Fuse box
    • On the ignition
    Mechanic looking for a kill switch
    Mechanic looking for a kill switch

    What Does A Kill Switch Look Like On A Car?

    Professionally installed kill switches can be challenging to spot.

    Some signs you have a kill switch installed include:

    • If you have a fuel line kill switch, then there will be a small extra component on the fuel line under the vehicle.
    • If you have a battery kill switch, there may be extra wires around the battery terminal.
    • A remote control kill switch will also create extra wires around the battery terminal.
    • Fuse box kill switches will add extra wires to your fuse box.
    • If you have an ignition kill switch, there will be extra wires in the ignition.

    You may need the help of a mechanic to find out if you have a kill switch because kill switches are generally installed to be hidden.

    How Do You Start A Car With A Kill Switch?

    As an owner or thief starting a car with a kill switch is easy if you know the kill switch is installed and have the correct hardware to either deactivate or bypass it.

    Starting a car with a manual kill switch is as simple as knowing where the switch is located.

    For remote systems, things can be more difficult if you don't have the correct hardware, such as the verified app on your phone or the owner's key fob.

    Learn how the kill switch on your vehicle works; you probably won't run into too many issues.

    Kill Switch Car Won't Start

    If a car with a kill switch installed won't start, a practical thing to troubleshoot first would probably be the kill switch.

    The owner's manual for troubleshooting techniques is the obvious place to look first.

    The next step is to take the car to a mechanic. Aftermarket car wiring is notorious for malfunctioning, especially if someone improperly installed it.

    How To Reset A Killswitch On Car?

    The process for resetting a kill switch is dependent on the type of kill switch.

    In some cases, switching the kill switch back to the correct position is simply going to be a case.

    In others, you may have to press a reset button.

    If you can't figure out how your kill switch works, you may need to talk to a mechanic.

    How Do I Disable Kill Switch?

    How you disable a kill switch will depend on the type of kill switch you have installed in your vehicle.

    Generally speaking, we wouldn't attempt to disable a kill switch yourself, not unless you know what you are doing.

    If you plan to disable a kill switch, it is basically a case of reversing the installation process.

    Most kill switches work by creating a circuit that can be disconnected or connected based on the flip of a switch.

    If you remove the kill switch circuitry from the vehicle, there is no longer something that can disable or enable a particular circuit.

    How To Remove Dealership Kill Switch?

    Firstly, you should probably check whether you can remove the kill switch on your vehicle.

    If you have financing or a warranty on your vehicle, then it is probably a part of the contract that the kill switch remains in place until the terms are complete.

    If you can remove the kill switch, talk to the dealership or a mechanic.

    Do not attempt to remove the dealership kill switch yourself.

    Car thief scoping out a car
    Car thief scoping out a car

    Can You Steal A Car With A Kill Switch?

    Yes, you can steal a car with a kill switch.

    Experienced thieves have the know-how and tools to bypass almost all kill switch systems with enough time.

    That said, kill switches offer a deterrence because of the added time and complication of stealing your vehicle, thereby increasing the risk of getting caught.

    It is also worth noting that some insurance companies will reduce the cost of your insurance ever so slightly if you have a kill switch installed due to the small amount of deterrence that a kill switch can offer.

    Where Do I Hide Kill Switch?

    A kill switch should always be hidden from view, although it will still need to be easily accessible for conveniently activating and deactivating.

    Some of the most common locations for a kill switch include:

    • In the trunk
    • Under the seat
    • Under the dashboard
    • In the glove box

    Although, do bear in mind that no matter where you put that kill switch, experienced people will likely be able to track it down. A kill switch is more of a deterrent, if anything.

    How Much Does A Kill Switch Cost?

    You will be looking at a minimum of $100 for a kill switch installation.

    The kill switch's cost will depend on where it is in your vehicle.

    The price could easily be much more than this, particularly if you are looking for a more sophisticated system.

    Can A Kill Switch Drain A Battery

    Whether a kill switch drains your battery or not may depend on the type of kill switch.

    Some people have reported that their kill switches drain their battery, and others have claimed that it doesn't impact battery life.

    A professional installation by an experienced mechanic will significantly reduce the probability of battery drainage.

    Vehicles left in storage or parked for extended periods tend to lose battery power, and a kill switch may exacerbate that.


    Kill switches are installed to be hard to find, so they may be difficult for a layperson to find.

    In most cases, it may be best to head to a mechanic and ask.