Cars are vital for modern living. Many cities are intentionally designed around car users, pedestrians be damned. In the zombie apocalypse, they become both important and a huge liability. Cars need to be fueled up and repaired, which often means searching around for scavenged parts. You will eventually be able to get wheels on the road. Here’s everything you need to know about cars, including how to break into cars in Project Zomboid.
You can find cars all over. Parking lots outside businesses will often have a couple. Most larger buildings like schools and gas stations have large parking areas outside them, although the zombies there are a big risk. So get in and get out when trying to grab a car from these crowded zones. It’s best to scout them out first and see if you can find a car that works first, returning later when you’re absolutely ready to grab it and run.
Here are the steps to break into a locked car in Project Zomboid:
- Move to one of the car doors with windows.
- Right-click on the car to open the action menu
- Select the option to Smash Window
- Enter the car using the E key
Now that you know what to do, a word of warning, or several. Some cars will have alarms on them. This is a death sentence in most cases if you trigger that. That really becomes an issue if you don’t have a key. When you find a car you don’t have the key to, you need to break your way in. Go over to the car window NOT on the driver’s side and right-click to bring up the interaction menu. You can break the window open, which is much safer if you have a hammer or other tool equipped. Otherwise, you have to deal with a ton of broken glass. Breaking a window on the passenger side is much safer as zombies can’t reach the driver easier.
A better option is to instead look around for the key. if you find a car parked outside a house, you could look inside for the key, watch out for zeds. The keys can sometimes be found inside the car or outside of it on the ground in rare instances. A key icon will appear over your character if they are in close proximity to the vehicle while holding the right key. If you see a red circle over your head, you don’t have the key.
When you get inside, press the V key to bring up the vehicle menu. You would normally need a key to start it, but there is a way around this problem.
How to Hotwire a car in Project Zomboid
When you bring the window up, it’s time to get started. To hotwire cars, you need to do some prep work. For one thing, you need certain skills at the right level. You need both Electrical 1 and Mechanics 2 to do this. So get out there and level up those skills first before attempting this. Once you’re ready, break your way in and open up the radial menu to get in.
Once in the driver’s seat, you can open up the trunk by pressing the button on the right of the dash UI. This will unlock the trunk of the car and allow it to be looted. This is great to do for cop cars and other emergency vehicles which can contain rare loot like ammo, guns and medicine.
Car Basics and Controls
Here are some basic keybinds to remember when it comes to managing cars:
- Pressing N will start or shut off the engine. Pressing W inside the vehicle will also start the engine, if it is off.
- Pressing E will enter or exit the vehicle, though be sure to get in on the driver’s side for a swift exit.
- Pressing F will toggle the headlights.
- Pressing Q will sound the horn.
- Pressing O will bring up the heater controls.
- Pressing U will bring up the Vehicle Mechanics menu.
Cars need to be maintained and repaired. That means finding other car parts and bolting them on when the current one’s get damaged. There are three types of Laines Auto Manual that can be found that will unlock car repair recipes. Find these when you can and give them a read to make managing your car easier.