Gone Trail-Riding Lost Your ATV Key? What You Should Do Next

lost atv keys

There are few things more frustrating than losing your keys to your ATV or any other vehicle. If you lose your keys, don’t panic. You still have options.

This article will discuss a few ways you can resolve this issue and prevent you from losing the keys to your four-wheeler ever again.

How Do You Start A Four Wheeler Without A Key?

Most ATV brands like Polaris, Honda, Yamaha, and Arctic Cat come equipped with a standard ignition system and keys, but what happens if your ATV doesn’t come with a stock ignition system, modern quads like Can-AM, which uses a Digitally Encoded Security System (D.E.S.S)

A computer chip is necessary to access the ATVs operating system. This chip is inside the key. Without the chip, you can’t start the ATV. The system cannot be Hotwired, and you cannot put it into neutral without turning on the engine. Therefore, pushing it away, loading it, or removing it is not easy.

The system is not foolproof, but it does the job well. Trying to buy a new key after it has been stolen or missing requires hooking up to the B.U.D.S. system. The dealer can then connect it to the system and determine who owns the ATV if it was stolen. If you have Can-AM with this system, you will have no choice but to go to your dealer to get a new key programmed, which can cost up to $100.

Luckily there are a few options to help you start your ATV if you have a standard ignition and key system. This post will discuss and detail how you can operate your quad without using a key.

4 Simple Methods For Starting Your ATV Without A Key

  • Replace the ignition barrel
  • Bypass the ignition barrel(Hotwire)
  • Jumpstart the solenoid
  • Attempt to Turn the switch in the ignition using a screwdriver

Let’s go over each of these methods in detail.

Method 1: Replace The Ignition Switch on your ATV(Best Method)

Replacing the ignition barrel is the most common method of starting your ATV. If you lost your keys at home and are not in urgent need, you can order a new barrel for under $20.00. It’s easy to change and replace; make sure you get the right one for your quad.

Method 2: Hotwire The ATV by Bypassing Ignition Switch

Remove the ignition switch, remove the wires leading to the engine, join the red/black wires together with tape, and start the engine. You may have a black and white wire which needs to be cut and taped separately; remember to disconnect the wires when done, or you will drain your battery.

Method 3: Jumpstart The Solenoid(Can cause damage)

This method works only with ATVs with electric starters, and It can be dangerous to jump a defective or bad starter solenoid. Use this only in an emergency. There are two possibilities: either you get electrocuted, or the starter motor burns out and stops working.

Locate your ATV solenoid. It is usually close to the battery. Make sure the battery is fully charged before doing this. It needs to turn the motor.

Touch the metal ends of the two posts leading to the starter with a screwdriver. This is the opposite end of the post leading to the battery. Use the screwdriver as a manual switch. This will bypass the solenoid.

Method 4: Turn The Ignition Using A Screw Driver Or Scissors(Not Recommended)

This is the simplest method and the most destructive, and there are no guarantees that this will work, be prepared to ruin your ignition switch with this method. You basically get a flat screwdriver and forcefully insert this into your ignition. By turning the switch with the screwdriver, you can now use the screwdriver as a key.

How To Get a Replacement ATV key

There are several ways of getting replacement ATV keys near you without replacing the key lock.

Method 1: Visit Your ATV Dealership

Contact your dealer with the Vin and model of your ATV; you will also need the key code; this will typically consist of a letter followed by numbers, the key code is usually written under the rubber boot that covers your original key, if you never wrote this down then you will need to pull out the ignition switch, it is sometimes written on the side of the switch.

Some dealerships won’t cut your keys if they don’t have a way to verify it’s yours. But if they have a key-cutting machine, they may do it if you bring the ATV to them. If the dealer supplies the blank key and cuts the key, this can be expensive.

Method 2: Use a Locksmith To Cut A New ATV Key

Find an old fashion locksmith or hardware store where you can get your lost ATV keys cut, and you will need your key code and the correct blank key for your ATV. You can order blanks from your dealer. Some owners have had luck on ordering blanks online from eBay(make sure they are for your model); you may luck out and find the locksmith has the correct blanks for your ATV.

There are companies such as Protech Key & Locksmith, which may also be able to replace your lost ATV keys.

Method 3: Replace The Ignition Switch

In this case, the easiest and cheapest option would be to order a new ignition switch; you will receive two keys with your new switch, and the process of changing your ignition switch is straightforward.

Can Walmart Make ATV Keys?

Walmart does not duplicate the keys for ATVs. The reason why this is the case is that it falls under the category of copying car keys, and Walmart does not copy car keys. In most of its stores, Walmart offers MinuteKey kiosks. These machines are unable to cut ATV keys.

Both Lowe’s and Home Depot will also not be able to cut them since their machines are made specifically for their blanks; they are mostly computerized.

Ace hardware has accommodated some ATV owners who have taken their blanks and brought them to them.

How To Start A Polaris ATV Without A Key?

In some cases, Polaris can cut key blanks from an existing key for specific model quads.IF you want to order the blanks from a dealer, you will need the keycode. The ignition must be replaced if both keys are lost. You can get help with that from a Polaris dealer.

Some of the methods outlined above in this article may also help you start your Polaris without a key if you are in desperate need.

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