How Do They Repo a Car Without Keys

Repossession is the process of getting back a car from a borrower who has deviated from his car payment. It is the process by which the lender gets back the car and auctions it to recoup the money of the car.

In most states, before the lender starts the repossession process, they may contact the borrower and if after contacting the person, it failed to yield any promising result. They will however proceed with the repossession. One thing the lender will never tell you is when the repo man will come.

However, as long as the repo agent is hired and on the lookout for the car, even if you lock the doors of the car and swallow the key, the repo man can still get access to the car. So, how do they repo a car without keys?

Repo men can repossess a car without keys by:

  • Towing the car
  • Hot wiring the car to bypass the ignition and start the car
  • Using a lock-out kit to gain access to the car
  • Entering inside an already unlocked car
  • Using the lender’s spare key

How Do They Repo a Car Without Keys?

Here are ways repo men can repossess a car without keys:

1. By Towing the Car

The repo men can repossess a car without keys by towing the car. This is usually the method most repo men use. All they have to do is position the tow truck, lift the car onto the flatbed of the truck, and take it back to the lender.

However, before a repo man tows your car without keys, he has to make sure he does that without any breach of the peace. This means that, if the car is parked in the backyard, a locked garage, or a locked fence, the repo man cannot tow the car from the garage as doing so will mean breaking the locks and breaching the peace.

The repo man has to wait until the car is right where it can be easily towed without breaching any peace. If he however fails to tow the car, he will report back to the lender who will take it from there.

2. By Using a Lock Out Kit

A repo man can use a lock-out kit to get access to the vehicle he wants to repossess. A lock-out kit is a set of equipment used to perform lock-out procedures.

The kit includes the tools needed to gain access to a locked vehicle. These tools enable you to activate the door handle, manual button to electric lock button on most cars and trucks.

When a repo man needs to tow your vehicle for repossession and needs to roll the car out of the driveway, without a key, he can make use of a lockout kit to open the car door. This is however not against any law as long as he didn’t break your garage door lock while doing so.

3. By Hot Wiring the Car

If there’s a need for the repo man to take the car out of the parking garage for repossession, if he’s not with the car key, he can hot wire the car by bypassing the car’s ignition switch and starting it without the key.

However, this method cannot work in all vehicles. For example, hot wiring will not work on cars that come with a computer chip in the ignition switch.

So while it’s possible to use this method, the repo man has to consider the type of car he wants to hot wire before proceeding.

Moreover, hot wiring is not recommended at all. You can end up damaging some significant parts of the car. But the repo agent has to do the needful to ensure the lender gets the car.

4. By Entering An Already Unlocked Car

Research has shown that some people don’t lock their cars for reasons best known to them while others claim to forget to lock theirs. Some even went to the extent of thinking that the car was locked without knowing it was not locked.

If a repo man comes to repossess your car without a key and finds it unlocked, you have obviously made the repossession very easy for him.

He will however proceed with the repossession without the key. Even though the car won’t be on, he can just roll the car till it gets to where he can easily have it towed.

5. By Using the Lender’s Spare Key

When you purchase a car on loan and you are yet to complete the payment, the lender may not give you all the keys to the car. Even if they do, they will still keep a spare that can be used in case of any uncertainty.

However, if you park a car due for repossession in your parking lot, lock the doors, and travel with the key, your lender can give the repo man the spare key to the car which he will use to gain access to the car.

The spare key may not be able to start the car, it can however give the repo man access to the car in case he needs to roll the car to where he can easily tow it.

These are the methods through which a repo man can repossess a car without having the original key to the car. However, it is important to note that while other methods are possible, towing the car is the best and most common method used by repo men to repossess a car without the car key.

Repo men make use of other methods only if they need to gain access to the car possibly to get it to a place where it can be easily towed by them.

Can Locking Car Doors Prevent Repossession?

No, locking your car doors will not prevent repossession as the repo man can still gain access to the car either by hot wiring it or using a lockout kit. If the car is parked in a perfect place, he can easily have it towed.


Locking the doors of your car and traveling with the keys can never stop repo men from gaining access to your car for repossession. They can repo your car without the key by towing the car or hot-wiring the car to bypass the ignition switch. The bypass will enable them to start the car.

However, if the car is already open, they can easily get access without the keys because you left it open. They can also use a lock-out kit to unlock the car doors to gain access to the car. If that is not enough, your lender can provide a spare key for them to use during the repossession.