How To Start A Honda Accord Without A Key?

Being locked out of your Honda Accord without a key in sight can quickly turn into an emergency situation. Depending on where you are and what time of day it is, not being able to start your Accord may prevent you from getting to work, running important errands, or even just getting back home.

While calling a locksmith is often the simplest solution, it can also be inconvenient and expensive if you need to get your car started right away. The good news is that with some basic tools and mechanical know-how, there are a few different methods that may allow you to start a Honda Accord without a key.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through several techniques for starting your Accord without the standard key. We’ll also look at the associated risks and precautions to take. Finally, we’ll offer some tips to help avoid finding yourself in this situation in the first place.

Table of Contents

Using The Key Fob

If your Honda Accord has keyless entry and push-button start, you may still be able to start the car without the actual key. This is possible thanks to a few components that are common in keyless start systems.

Using The Key Fob
Using The Key Fob

How Key Fob Starting Works

Cars like the Accord with push-button start contain an electronic control unit (ECU) that controls the ignition and starting systems. This ECU communicates with a key fob via short-range radio frequencies.

When the coded signal from the fob is detected and verified, the ECU allows the car to be started with the push of a button. This means the engine can be started without inserting a physical key.

Starting With A Dead Key Fob

If the battery in your Accord’s key fob is dead, you won’t be able to start your Honda without a key. However, you can use a backup method known as a dead key fob or valet key.

A dead key fob is an external device that pairs with the vehicle’s ECU. To use it, hold the device where the ECU antenna can detect the signal, usually right next to the start button. Then, press the start button like normal while the dead key fob transmits its signal.

This will transmit the proper code to the ECU to enable push-button starting. Just make sure you have your original key handy in case any issues come up!

Using The Manual Key

Most modern Honda Accord keys have an integrated manual key inside the keyless remote. This can be used to unlock the door and even start the car without electronic access.

Using The Manual Key
Using The Manual Key

Unlocking The Door

The first step is to locate the release button on your key fob and eject the manual key. Insert this key into the driver’s side door lock cylinder and turn it to unlock the vehicle.

Once inside the car, locate the slit for the manual key next to the push-button start.

Inserting The Key

With your foot on the brake, insert the manual key into this slot and press it in gently. This will activate the ignition system, allowing you to press the ENGINE START/STOP button to start the Accord without a keyless fob.

The car should start just like normal. Just be sure to replace the battery in your key fob as soon as possible after getting the car started.

Using The Emergency Key Cylinder

If you don’t have access to the manual key hidden inside your Accord’s key fob, there is another option. Most models have a mechanical key cylinder attached to the fuse box under the steering column.

Locating The Cylinder

To access this on your Accord, first pop off the cover by prying it up with a small flathead screwdriver. Beneath this cover is the emergency key cylinder.

Inserting The Emergency Key

Use your actual registered key to unlock the cylinder itself. Then, turn the unlocked cylinder to the ON position. This will allow you to press the ENGINE START/STOP button and start the car without a working key fob.

Be sure to return the cylinder to the OFF position and replace the cover when finished. Only use this method in an emergency until your key fob is replaced or repaired.

Using An External Emergency Key

Many Honda Accord owners keep an external emergency key in their wallet or another secure place in the vehicle. This key has a unique code that will work with the emergency cylinder discussed above.

Locating And Inserting The Emergency Key

If you have one of these keys, simply locate the cylinder under the steering column, insert the key, and turn it to the ON position. Then, press the start button to start the engine without a standard key.

This specialist emergency key was issued by your Honda dealer. If you don’t have one but want the security of an external backup key, contact your dealer to have one made.

Hotwiring The Ignition

Hotwiring a car is the process of starting the engine without a key by connecting wires together to bypass the ignition system. While it is possible to hotwire a Honda Accord, this method comes with substantial risks.

Hotwiring The Ignition
Hotwiring The Ignition

Dangers Of Hotwiring

First and foremost, hotwiring a car you don’t own is illegal. You can face criminal charges for trying to start a vehicle without proper access.

Secondly, improperly connecting wires could result in electrical shorts, fires, and serious injury or death. Vehicle theft may also void your car insurance policy.

Overall, hotwiring should only be considered as an absolute last resort in life or death emergency situations. It is not recommended under normal circumstances.

Bypassing The Ignition Cylinder

If you still decide to proceed, locate the ignition cylinder on the steering column. Use a hammer or screwdriver to break the cylinder and expose the wiring.

Identify the power source wire (usually red) and ignition wire (often green or brown) and connect them to start the car without the key. This will send direct power to the ignition system.

Again, only attempt this type of hotwiring if absolutely necessary and you fully understand the risks. There are almost always better options available.

Push Or Roll Start

If your Honda Accord has a manual transmission, you may be able to push or roll start it even without a functioning key or starter. This is done by manually engaging the engine once the car has gained some momentum.

Push Starting

To push start a manual Accord:

  1. Make sure the parking brake is disengaged and car is in neutral
  2. While someone steers, have 2-3 people push the car to 3-5 mph
  3. With clutch depressed, quickly shift into 2nd gear
  4. Quickly release the clutch to engage engine and start

Roll Starting

Roll starting works similarly:

  1. Release parking brake and let car roll downhill
  2. Press in the clutch as car begins rolling faster
  3. Shift to 2nd once about 5 mph is reached
  4. Swiftly release clutch to start engine

While not ideal, push or roll starting can get you out of a jam if your Accord has a manual gearbox but won’t start normally.

Jump Starting The Vehicle

A dead battery is one of the most common reasons a car won’t start. If your Accord’s battery doesn’t have enough charge, you can use another car and jumper cables to jump start it.

Steps to Jump Start a Honda Accord

Follow this procedure to safely jump start your Accord:

  1. Position the other vehicle close so cables can reach
  2. Turn off both cars and engage parking brakes
  3. Connect one cable clamp to positive terminal on dead battery
  4. Attach other clamp to positive terminal on live battery
  5. Connect one clamp from remaining cable to negative terminal of live battery
  6. Attach other clamp to unpainted metal on dead car away from battery
  7. Start the car with good battery and let idle for 5 minutes
  8. Try turning ignition key or pressing start button to start Honda
  9. Remove cables in reverse order once started

With this method, your battery will get the power it needs from the other car to allow starting. Just be sure both cars have the same battery voltage before attempting to avoid electrical damage.

How Do You Manually Start A Honda Accord?

There are a few different ways to manually start a Honda Accord without using the standard keyless fob. If your Accord has push-button start, you can insert the detachable manual key hidden inside the fob into the slot next to the start button. Turn the key while pressing the button to start the engine. 

Alternatively, use the emergency mechanical key cylinder located under the steering column. Insert your registered key or emergency key and turn the cylinder to the ON position, then press the start button to start the engine. On manual transmission Accords, push or roll starting are options as well – these use the motion of the car to crank the engine to life once the clutch is released. Avoid hotwiring, as this can damage the car and is illegal.

How Do You Get Into A Honda Accord Without A Key?

The manual key hidden inside the keyless fob can be used to unlock the door of a Honda Accord without the full key fob present. Locate the release button on the fob and eject the slim manual key. Insert this into the driver’s side door lock and turn it to unlock the car. 

If you don’t have the manual key, see if the rear doors are unlocked and enter that way. Some Accords have lock/unlock buttons inside that will unlock the driver’s door. If no other options will work, call a locksmith or have the vehicle towed to a dealer or locksmith to gain entry.

Can A Keyless Car Be Driven Without The Key?

Modern keyless cars like the Honda Accord have mechanisms that allow driving without the actual key or fob present. Passive keyless systems rely on proximity sensors that detect the key fob and allow the car to start while it is nearby. 

Alternatively, backup devices like dead key fobs or valet keys can transmit a signal to enable push-button ignition. Manual keys hidden inside keyless fobs can also start the car. So while not recommended, driving a keyless car like the Accord without the standard key fob is possible in many circumstances.

Tips To Avoid Needing To Start Without Keys

While the above methods can help you get out of a jam, it’s best to avoid situations where you cannot start your Accord due to missing keys altogether. Here are some tips to prevent key-related no-starts:

  1. Always know where your keys or fobs are before exiting vehicle
  2. Avoid locking keys inside the car by designating a spot for them
  3. Keep spare keys or fobs with trusted family or friends
  4. Replace battery in key fob as soon as it shows any signs of dying
  5. Carry your mechanical manual key in wallet for lockouts
  6. Never leave keys or valuables in car overnight
  7. Have Honda dealer program a backup external keyfob
  8. Keep your Accord well-maintained to prevent mechanical issues

Following these simple precautions can keep you from finding yourself unable to start your Honda Accord without a key. But if it does happen, use the methods outlined above to get your car running again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Start My Honda Accord Without The Actual Key?

In many cases, yes. If your Accord has push-button start, you can use a dead key fob or valet key held to the start button. You can also insert the manual key hidden inside the fob. As a last resort, the emergency key cylinder under the steering wheel can be used with your registered key or external emergency key.

What If My Key Fob Is Totally Dead?

If there is absolutely no power left in your key fob battery, you will need to use the manual key inserted into the slot by the push button start. The external emergency key cylinder under the steering wheel is another option if you have your backup key handy.

Is It Easy To Hotwire A Honda Accord?

While it is possible to hotwire an Accord by connecting certain wires together, this is extremely dangerous and illegal. Hotwiring should only even be considered in life-or-death emergencies. There are almost always better and safer options, so hotwiring is not recommended under normal circumstances.

Can I Disconnect The Battery To Reset The Engine?

While disconnecting battery cables may help reset the engine computer on some cars, it will not allow you to start and run a Honda Accord without a proper key. The engine will still be locked by the immobilizer system for security.

What If My Car Has A Manual Transmission?

If your Honda Accord has a manual gearbox, push and roll starting are options for getting the engine started without electrical power. These techniques use the transmission and clutch to turn over the engine once the car has some momentum.


Finding yourself unable to start your Honda Accord because you don’t have a key can certainly be stressful. However, in many cases, you can still get the car started without the standard key. Methods like using a dead key fob, the manual key, or emergency cylinder offer ways to bypass the key if needed. More primitive techniques like push starting are also an option on manuals. Just avoid attempting to hotwire the Accord, as this comes with substantial legal and safety risks in most situations. With the tips in this guide, you’ll know how to get your Honda going even without the keys.

Author's Image

Ammar Masoud

I have had a long and fulfilling career in the automotive industry, primarily with Honda and Acura. With 15 years of experience as a Honda service technician, I became highly skilled in repair and maintenance, gaining a deep understanding of these vehicles. After many years in the automotive field, I decided to embark on a second career in industrial manufacturing. It was a significant change, but I found that the skills I had honed in the automotive industry were incredibly valuable in my new role. In my current position in industrial manufacturing, the demand for quality workmanship and meticulous attention to detail is paramount. Fortunately, these are traits that I have cultivated throughout my years in the automotive industry. I take pride in applying these skills to meet the high standards expected in the manufacturing sector.