How To Start a Mobility Scooter Without a Key?

Mobility scooters have given so much freedom and versatility to older adults and those experiencing a loss of mobility. If you’ve ever needed a mobility scooter, you know how important it is to have access to it all the time.


But what happens if you lose your keys? Of course, you can call the manufacturer and purchase a new key, but it may take days or weeks for it to arrive. So what can you do in the meantime?

Here, we’ll tell you how to start a mobility scooter without a key. It may seem like a daunting task, but once you know the basics, you can decide if you want to try it for yourself!

What To Do When You’ve Lost Your Mobility Scooter Keys?

how to hotwire a scooter

When you first realize you’ve misplaced your keys, it’s important to search your entire home. Starting your scooter without a key is possible, but it’s not a recommended practice. Even the best mobility scooters have the severe potential to harm someone with electrocution. 

Once you’ve looked everywhere for your keys and still can’t find them, you should call or look online for your mobility scooter manufacturer. They should be able to help you and prepare a new key for you.

If you rent the scooter, it is highly possible that they have spare keys.

Then what you should figure out is how long the new key will take to arrive. If you don’t use your mobility scooter around your home and you have plenty of supplies, we advise you not to hotwire a scooter because the key should arrive within a few days.

If you’re away from your home when you realize you lost your keys and nobody can help you, the problem becomes much more severe. You need to get home, so the only option you have is to hotwire the scooter.

How To Start a Mobility Scooter Without a Key?

When you need to start a mobility scooter without a key, you’ll need to do some preparation. First, you need to have the proper tools, which include:

  • Rubber mallet or hammer
  • Multi-head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers (rubber handle, preferably)
  • Rubber gloves or electrician’s gloves

Once you’ve gathered the right tools for the job, you can start taking the panel off that exposes the ignition switch. What we’re going to go through now is how to bypass the ignition switch on the scooter. 

how to bypass ignition switch on scooter

1. Find the Wiring System

You can generally find the wiring system located under the control panel, which is the area on your mobility scooter with speed gauges, dials, and the ignition. 

Usually, screws are holding this piece in place. Once you remove those screws, the panel should come off with ease, although it may need some help from a rubber mallet.

You should see the mobility scooter’s wiring system, usually made up of three colored wires bundled together. Two of the wires are live, so you need to act with caution from here on out. Now you need to identify what cable does what.

Red and black wires are usually the live wires, meaning electricity runs through them. Although these are the two most dangerous wires, they are the two we need to hotwire a scooter. If your wire colors are different, don’t worry! You’ll just have to test different combinations of wires.

2. Uncap the Wires

The three wires are held together by a wiring cap, a plastic piece that holds the cables in place, so they have a constant connection. The next step is to take off that cap.

To do this, you should use the rubber handled needle-nose pliers. Rubber doesn’t conduct electricity, so using rubber tools can keep you safer.

Using the pliers, you want to twist the cap until it comes off. While doing this, you want to hold onto the wire’s insulated parts to make sure they don’t fall. Once you take off the cap, you’ll find three exposed, uninsulated wire ends.

3. Attach Live Wires to Ignition Socket

Now that you’ve left the ends of the wire exposed, you need to take the two live wires (typically red and black) and attach them to the ignition socket.

When we say “attach” the wires to the ignition, it means putting the wires into the keyhole. Start with one wire and put the uninsulated end into the keyhole. 

After you put the first wire in, you want to repeat the process with the second wire. Make sure you put the second wire at the opposite end of the keyhole as the first. 

Once you’ve put both into the socket, you should either hear a click sound or the humming of the engine. If you can hear that sound, great, it means the wires you used were correct, and you can move on to the next step.

If there wasn’t any noise, it means you’re using the wrong wires. Try different combinations of wires until you can hear a click or humming from the engine.

4. Start the Scooter

Once you hear the click or the humming, it means electricity is flowing through the ignition, allowing it to start. To start the scooter, you still need to turn the ignition, though. 

With electricity flowing, this shouldn’t be tough at all. Simply turn the wires you’ve put inside the keyhole until you hear your scooter start. Once you’ve done that, you have successfully hotwired a scooter!

After you’ve started your scooter, you should re-cap the wires, return them to where you found them, and re-attach your control panel. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to hit the open road!

How To Get Mobility Scooter Replacement Keys

A replacement key for mobility scooters isn’t tough to find. If Pride Mobility manufactured your scooter, you can purchase a new key directly from them. We found the same thing is true of the other big scooter manufacturers like Solax Mobility.

If your scooter’s manufacturer doesn’t offer key replacements, other online services provide replacement keys. 

When you need to order a new key, there are some vital pieces of information you need to pass along to the key manufacturer so they can cut you the proper key. The manufacturer needs to know:

  • The unique serial number of your scooter
  • Any marks or numbers on the lock
  • Proof of ownership

The average time it takes replacement keys for mobility scooters to arrive is around a week, although it could be sooner if you live in a large metro area.

Final Thoughts on Starting a Mobility Scooter Without a Key

If you’re really in need, hotwiring a scooter is a relatively quick way to get your scooter back up and running when you misplace or break your key. Although this project won’t take you a lot of time, you can seriously injure yourself if you don’t take the proper precautions.

Cherry is the editor-in-chief of Mobility With Love. She obtained a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and a master's degree in Adapted Physical Activity. Her expertise includes biomechanics, biochemistry, nutrition, disability studies, and so on.

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