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How to hotwire cars in Project Zomboid and raise Electrical and Mechanics skills

No one else is taking it, so you might as well have it

If you want to hotwire a car in Project Zomboid, you’ll need the right skills, a bit of patience, and good timing.

The process itself is straightforward, though it takes some training. It’s noisy and potentially dangerous as well, but there are ways to minimize your personal risks if you have the right items.

How to hotwire a car in Project Zomboid

You can hotwire a car in Project Zomboid in two ways. One is by choosing the Burglar class, which lets you automatically hotwire any car without meeting skill requirements. The other way, which you’ll use for any non-Burglar class, is being level 1 in Electrical and level 2 in Mechanics. It takes a bit of grinding to get there, though.

How to raise skill levels in Project Zomboid

If you’re a Mechanic class or Electrician class, you automatically have high abilities in one of those areas. Whatever the case, raising your proficiency in Electrical and Mechanics is basically just tearing stuff up. Dismantling items connected to either skill area will raise your skill level, and it takes a bit of time to see results. However, you can read skill books to increase how many points you get when dismantling items if you want to speed things up a bit.

Increase Electrics in Project Zomboid

For Electrics, you’ll want to grab a screwdriver and dismantle:

  • TVs
  • Watches
  • Refrigerators
  • Phone booths
  • Radios

You can also craft electronic objects. However, there’s a soft limit on how much experience you can get from repeating any one action, so try to spread out what you’re doing.

Increase Mechanics in Project Zomboid

Mechanics increases any time you complete a task such as putting a light bulb in or repairing an object. The biggest gains come from dismantling cars, though, as you can get experience from working on each car part. Some players report working on the battery gives the most experience, but either way, expect to go through a few cars before hitting level two.

Hotwiring cars in Project Zomboid

Once you’ve got the necessary skills, scope out a good car for nabbing. “Good” in this case is meant literally, since it’s not worth hotwiring a crummy car that will likely die on you. Press “V” near the car to open the menu. Check the doors to see if they’re unlocked, so you can avoid breaking windows.

If they aren’t, equip a weapon, bust a window, and get in. Breaking it without a weapon causes injury, and you need to stay healthy for what’s ahead.

Open the menu again, and choose “hotwire” from the options. It’s not a guaranteed success even with the right skill levels, though. You’ve already attracted attention from the noise of shattering windows, and each failed hotwiring attempt makes even more noise. Make sure you’re ready for combat or to flee if the attempts keep failing.

That’s it for how to hotwire cars in Project Zomboid. Of course, having a good set of wheels means nothing if your tiny survivor is cursed with terrible traits, so make sure to think carefully when creating your hero. If you’re up for another kind of survival, check out our extensive collection of Valheim guides to lead you through the Norse wilds and into glory, including our biomes guide and cooking guide.

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