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Guide to cars in Project Zomboid: where to find and how to start a car without a key


Guide to cars in Project Zomboid: where to find and how to start a car without a key

It is almost impossible to survive in Project Zomboid without a car, so sooner or later you will have to learn how to hack cars, repair and refuel them. Finding a working car in the game is not difficult, it is much more difficult to get access to transport. In this guide, we will answer all your questions about the cars in the game and give you some useful tips for leveling up the auto mechanic skill.

Where to find a car. What cars are in the game

Cars in Project Zomboid can be found almost everywhere: on highways, near residential buildings, on farms, and in cities. Most often, cars are found in settlements and in public parking lots.

All machines are divided into three types:

  1. Standard: medium top speed, three passenger seats, and a small trunk.
  2. Heavy: Medium top speed, five-passenger seats, and a large trunk. Great for an outing for supplies.
  3. Elite: three passenger seats, top speed, and acceleration are increased, but the trunk is no larger than in standard cars.

These categories differ not only in the capacity of the trunk and maximum speed but also in basic auto parts. Parts are not interchangeable, so spare parts and body elements from one type of car cannot be installed on another type. Using any vehicle, be prepared to attract the attention of nearby zombies.

Standard and heavy vehicles can be found in the city, while elite vehicles are in most cases hidden in or parked next to "wealthy" country houses.

How to get into the car if the doors are locked

To check if the doors in the car are open, go to any door and press the "E" key. If the doors are locked, you will hear a distinctive sound (unless, of course, your character is deaf). In this case, you can enter the salon in two ways.

  • Break the window: this method is not safe, as the sound of breaking glass will surely attract the undead.
  • Dismantle the window: a more humane and safer way to get into the cabin. To do this, you will need to find a screwdriver and read any car magazine (you will receive the recipe for "advanced mechanics"). If your character has the profession "Auto Mechanic", then you can do without reading the magazine.
Once in the car, press the "V" key and select "Unlock all doors" in the menu that appears. If you dismantled the window, then you can reinstall it after that and protect yourself while driving, as the windows protect you from scratches and zombie bites.

A locked trunk cannot be opened without a key, even if you have unlocked all the doors. In this case, you will have to disassemble the trunk lid or rear doors (in the case of heavy vehicles).

I found the key but the car won't start

First of all, when searching for transport, you need to pay attention to the condition of the elements of the car. To do this, go to the hood, turn to face it, and press the "E" key. While near the car, you can also press the "V" button and select the "Auto mechanics" section in the menu that appears.

Now you can track the status of all car parts in percentage. It is difficult to find an almost undamaged car, most often such vehicles can be found in houses, in parking lots in front of supermarkets or other stores.

The engine will start under the following conditions:

  1. Engine condition is greater than 0%.
  2. Battery status and the charge is greater than 0%;
  3. The condition of the gas tank is greater than 0%, and the gas tank itself is full.
  4. The car has at least three wheels (two rear and one front). In this case, the car will go, but not fast. If at least one rear wheel is missing on a car, then it will hardly move.
Other parts, such as "brake", "suspension" and "muffler" do not affect the start of the engine, but may adversely affect the car while driving.

  • With bad brakes, you will not be able to slow down quickly and will probably crash into a fence or another car;
  • Good suspension allows the car to coast longer without using the engine;
  • The condition of the muffler directly affects the sound that the car makes. The louder the sound, the more ghouls will hear you.

Where to find car keys. How to start a car without a key

If you find a car with serviceable parts and a filled gas tank, then all that remains is to find the key or crack the ignition.

Where to find ignition keys

The keys to the car can be in different places, and for some cars, you will not be able to find the key at all. When searching for ignition keys, always look for the following locations:

  • Glove box: to inspect the glove box, just get into the car, hover over the hidden object panel, and select the first icon from the bottom;
  • Trunk: In Project Zomboid, we have found keys in the trunk of a car as well;
  • Dead bodies next to the car: One of the zombies next to the car may be its former owner. This also applies to corpses in houses where cars may be parked next to them.
  • Establishments near the car: If there is only one car parked at the supermarket, laundry, or any other establishment, then in some cases the keys can be found on tables or in other containers inside the building.
  • On the ground next to the car: turn on the search mode (the magnifying glass icon in the menu on the left) and look around.

How to start a car without a key

There are several ways to do this but be warned that this is not the best way to take possession of vehicles in the game. Here are some obvious reasons:

  • Often, after breaking the ignition lock in a car, an alarm can go off and attract a large number of dead people.
  • On "elite" cars, when the ignition lock is broken, the alarm does not work immediately, as on ordinary cars. It can activate after a few minutes, and it will be very sad if you have already parked a vehicle near your shelter at that time.


When creating a character, select the "Burglar" profession. In this case, you will be able to start cars without a key and without improving any third-party skills. For this it is enough:

  1. Get in the car, make sure that all the important components of the car are in order, and the car itself is fueled.
  2. Press the "V" key and select the "Crack the ignition lock" icon in the transport menu.
In some cases, the hero will not be able to pick the lock the first time. Try until two wires appear in the ignition switch, such as shown in the screenshot below.


If you are playing in co-op with friends, then we recommend that at least one of the players select the "Burglar" specialty.

Breaking the ignition lock using the skills "Auto mechanics" and "Electronics"

Even if your character does not know how to pick locks, with a certain leveling of skills, he can be taught this. To do this, you need to pump the skill "automechanic" to the second level and the skill "electronics" to the first level.

How to upgrade the auto mechanic skill

The auto mechanic skill can be upgraded in several ways:

  • Remove and install parts on the car;
  • Watch TV shows and cassettes.

To get more experience for installing and dismantling parts, read Automechanics Courses. If your base skill is zero, then you will first have to study “Automechanics Courses. Volume 1". After reading, the accumulation multiplier of skills of levels 1 and 2 will be increased by 5 times.

All textbooks on auto mechanics:

  • Auto mechanic courses. Volume 1: Provides a level 1 and 2 skill accumulation multiplier;
  • Auto mechanic courses. Volume 2: Provides a level 3 and 4 skill accumulation multiplier;
  • Auto mechanic courses. Volume 3: Provides a level 5 and 6 skill accumulation multiplier;
  • Auto mechanic courses. Volume 4: Provides a level 7 and 8 skill accumulation multiplier;
  • Auto mechanic courses. Volume 5: Provides a level 9 and 10 skill accumulation multiplier.
You can find textbooks and educational videos in auto repair shops, in private garages, and in-car trunks. It is not uncommon to find manuals in bookstores and garage cooperatives.

It is worth noting that the assembly and dismantling of car elements at a low level of “automechanics” will necessarily lead to a loss in the quality of these elements. Therefore, we recommend pumping the skill on broken cars, which can be found in cities and on highways.

How to increase the "auto mechanic" skill when creating a character

First of all, in order to get a character with a pumped "auto mechanic" skill, you can choose the appropriate profession.


  • Auto mechanic: 125%
  • short crushing: 75%
  • Strength: 4;
  • Fitness: 4.
In the available stats, you can also select the "Motorist" stat, which adds +1 level to "automechanics" but subtracts 1 point from the overall stats.

In addition, in the characteristics you can find two skills that will affect the driving style of your character:

  • Speed ​​Demon: Prefers to pick up speed from high engine speeds, increasing the top speed of all vehicles. The trait subtracts 1 point from the general characteristics.
  • Sunday driver: gains maximum speed almost twice as slow as without this feature. The maximum vehicle speed has been reduced to 30 km/h. The feature adds 1 point to the general characteristics.

How to upgrade the skill "Electronics"

To get the first level of "electronics" you will definitely need a screwdriver. With this tool, you can disassemble various electronic devices.

  • Radio: 1 experience point;
  • Small tableware (in canteens and cafes): 2.5 experience points;
  • Payphone: 2.5 experience points;
  • Home TV: 3.5 experience points;
  • Modern electric stove (in canteens and cafes): 5 experience points.

How to fill up a car. Where to find gasoline

There are several ways to refuel a car:

  • With the help of a canister of gasoline: you can find an empty canister in the trunks of cars or in the "garage cooperative". It is more difficult to find a canister of gasoline. You can fill an empty canister at a gas station or drain gasoline from other cars.
  • At the gas station: if your car has enough gas to get to the gas station, then go to the gas station, go to the back of the car and select "Refuel from the station" in the car menu.

You can refuel from the column only if there is electricity. If the electricity in your world has already been turned off, then to refuel the car from the column, you need to get a generator, install it next to the column, and apply voltage.

How to charge the battery

It also happens that the battery in a good car is discharged. You can charge it in several ways:

  • With the help of a car generator;
  • With the help of a charger.
If you already have a working car, then any dead battery can be charged using the car's generator and starter charger. In earlier versions of the game, the battery could be removed while the engine was running, but this is no longer possible. Therefore, you will first have to find a starter charger, connect it to a discharged car battery, and plug it into the network (the device must be in the electricity supply area). While the engine is running, the battery will be charged. To mount and remove the battery, you will need a regular screwdriver.

In order not to waste gas and not attract zombies with engine noise, the battery can be charged in your shelter if there is electricity. Place the jump starter on the ground and place the discharged battery nearby. During sleep, it will be charged enough to start your car engine.

In addition to the shelter, you can charge the battery at power plants and with a portable generator. Install the jump starter next to an electronic converter in a power plant or next to a generator, put a battery nearby, and charge it.

Where to find car parts

Earlier we noted that parts for different types of cars are not interchangeable. Thus, apart from an ordinary car will not fit into an elite or heavy vehicle.

With the proper skills of an “auto mechanic”, you can dismantle the necessary parts from other cars and install them on your own. But in the game, you can also find new parts with 100% condition. Usually, new parts are on the shelves in auto repair shops or in "garage cooperatives".

Auto repair shops can be found on the interactive map using the "Auto repair shop" filter. Most often, next to the auto repair shops, you will also find "garage cooperatives", which can be tracked by the filter "Self-Storage buildings".

How to pump up wheels, change windows and other car parts

To inflate the wheels, find a car pump. Such an item can often be found in trunks and in auto repair shops. The pressure in the wheels directly affects the movement of the car "coasting", as well as the wear of the wheels.

To dismantle this or that part, you will need tools and a certain level of “auto mechanic” skill. Here is the complete list:

  • Battery: screwdriver;
  • Bonnet: Adjustable Wrench, Advanced Mechanics Recipe (read any automotive magazine), Auto Mechanic Recommended Skill - 3;
  • Wheel: jack, cross-shaped wrench, recommended skill "automechanic" - 1;
  • Windshield and rear window: screwdriver, advanced mechanics recipe, auto mechanic recommended skill - 5;
  • Side windows: screwdriver, advanced mechanics recipe, auto mechanic recommended skill - 3;
  • Suspension: jack, wrench, advanced mechanics recipe, auto mechanic recommended skill - 7;
  • Brakes: jack, adjustable wrench, advanced mechanics recipe, auto mechanic recommended skill - 7;
  • Silencer: Adjustable Wrench, Advanced Mechanic Recipe, Auto Mechanic Recommended Skill - 5;
  • Gas tank: adjustable wrench, recipe "basic mechanic", gas tank must be empty, recommended skill "auto mechanic" - 5;
  • Doors: Adjustable Wrench, Advanced Mechanic Recipe, Auto Mechanic Recommended Skill - 4.
  • Engine: The entire engine cannot be dismantled, it can either be disassembled into parts or repaired. To do this, you need an adjustable wrench and an auto mechanic skill above 3 (5 is recommended).
If your skill does not meet the recommended requirements, then the chance of success will be small. During unsuccessful dismantling and installation, you are sure to severely damage the part. An experienced auto mechanic will damage the part slightly. Therefore, we recommend that you first upgrade the "auto mechanic" skill on broken cars, and only after that start repairing your vehicle.

How to tow a car

If you often travel on the same road, broken cars on the track can become a hindrance to you. After all, you can collide with such vehicles at high speed and damage your car. In addition, towing can be used to ferry cars with good parts to your shelter for further analysis.

To hitch the desired vehicle to your vehicle, park it backward, walk to the back of your vehicle, and select "Hitch" from the vehicle's menu. If the power of your car is enough to tow another vehicle, then you can easily drive it away.