• Jan 25th 2011 at 4:31PM
  • 45
A recent workshop in Los Angeles offers something special for interested children: a class on the mechanics of car theft. Created by the non-profit organization Machine Project, the workshop is entitled "The Good Kids' Guide to Being a Bit Bad: Cars edition." It covers the topics of hot wiring, opening a locked door and getting out of a locked trunk... and we fully support the class.

Getting kids fascinated about "how things work" is a wonderful project, and when it involves cars, well that's just a bonus. In this modern world, it's so easy to overlook how things work on the inside, which makes it extra important for kids to develop a basic understanding of nuts and bolts while they're young.

The instructors for the class also didn't simply just talk about how a car door works, they showed the children and then let them try to open a locked door themselves. The same happened when showing the kids how to escape a locked trunk. The only lesson that wasn't hands on was the hot-wiring of a car because of the risk of being shocked, which the instructor also demonstrated by shocking himself a few times.

The kids learned about some basic mechanical functions, got a dose of humor and hopefully the class created a desire in them to learn more about how the things around them function.

[Source: BoingBoing | Image: Cookie Flores/Flickr]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago

      I was referring to the cool factor of the photo; I realize the little guy isn't the child James Dean.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I recently got my 98 civic stolen, and I've been a car guy all my life and it really bothered me that I didn't know how to steal my own car.. I was amazed that the started the car without even poping the ignition or the steering column, it seems they just forced a random peice of metal through the ignition..why bother with hot wiring? They also slim jimmed my door, leaving the lock mechanism still woring..in all, to the average guy, the car seems un-armed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I had a 98 civic broken in to twice, once by some obvious amateurs, just smashed everything getting the radio out, second time by a pro did even know it was broken in to until the stereo wasn't making any noise

        Anyways everyone said that those civics are so easy to steal, like taking candy from a baby I guess.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Any idiot can steal a Honda. A shaved key will start nearly every pre-00 Honda or Acura. And you can pry the door frame and use a rod to pull the lock. Its very easy and I dont know why more Honda owners don't add a hidden kill switch so the car can't be driven away. Honda Thefts are on the rise in my area.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Screwdriver in the slot, twist, and off she goes.

        I had to hotwire my Jetta after the ignition switch broke. I still have to put the key in to unlock the column, but I now have a big red START switch. Even with that, if I ever forget to tell the guys at a service place (say, buying tires), they come up all confused "I think I broke your car". It's funny.

        Oh, and "unharmed". I don't think you meant it didn't have a knife.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Concerns about breaking the law are overblown. To steal a car requires more than picking a lock and hot wiring. Modern cars have transponder keys. Not so modern cars have ignition cut offs. Old cars may be vulnerable, but the kid would need to know how to drive and have connections to a chop shop. It takes a village to raise a car thief.

      Also lost in the discussion is the part about escaping from a trunk. Modern cars have an emergency trunk release. Old car trunks, however, may be a death trap. While rarely needed, this information could turn out to be life saving.

      This workshop is for kids 7 and up and requires the parent to be present. It's not taught to runaway teens in a back alley.


      • 4 Years Ago
      WTF???? Is there a shortage of car theft in L.A?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Where's the Onion link?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's actually been on the rise lately, I'm confused.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Knowling how to jack cars will be invaluable in the coming zombie apocalypse.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well ya know LA is swamped with illegals so just call it a shop class to help the under employed If they want to help the kiddos, teach them to trun a wrench on an engineor tranny
      • 4 Years Ago
      So i should expect my future car to be jacked by a 13 year old
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is just the introductory course.

      Session 201 teaches kids how to shoot cops.

      After all, they'll learn valuable lessons about ballistics, physics, geometry, and anatomy!

      Are you freakin' kidding me??
      • 4 Years Ago
      crazy world we live in... next course, how to assemble and disassemble a hand gun, followed by how to break into a safe deposit box without the key.
        • 4 Years Ago
        there is nothing illegal about disassembling and reassembling a hand gun
      • 4 Years Ago

      I actually think I saw a similar program at the NYC Maker Faire over the summer were they taught people/kids how to pick a lock.

      Not sure if these guys are connected, but I like them trying to motivate kids into getting interested in engineering/gadgets/mechanical things, but I see them simply using this as a "shock" value to get attention for the program.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Come to D.C.! I can open a locked car door, but I wanna know how to hotwire a car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gotta love to study in South Central!
      • 4 Years Ago
      it's not very hard to hotwire an older car.

      once you're inside, pop the hood. break the ignition switch/steering column so the car thinks the lock cylinder is turned to 'on'

      jump the battery positive to the starter and let her crank, spark, and drive away.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Teaching kids how to repair or restore cars... great.
      Teaching kids what locksmiths legally do at the owner's behest...
      Teaching kids what mechanics and technicians do legally at the owner's behest...
      All good ideas.

      Teaching kids how to be lawless... as a good thing, are you frakkin' kidding me?

      How about teaching kids to keep their hands the hell off of what doesn't belong to them. That should be taught. That is what I was taught.

      What part of 'do not steal," and "do not covet your neighbor's property" do you people not understand?

      What is next, advocating assault, battery, rape or murder as vocational skills?

      And people yesterday thought I was too stuck on entitlement mentality. That is minor compared to a morally criminal mentality.

      This is morally repugnant and deplorable. How disgusting for Autoblog to take a pro-crime position, and advocating the moral corruption of likely innocent children. What innocence might remain, these days...
        • 4 Years Ago
        "It is about damn time someone stood up against the rampant decay, of which this is yet another example, in an endless line of examples."

        I was with you on your second post, up til that point.

        They've been saying that since humans developed the power of speech. What we perceive as "rampant decay" is just our species doing its thing: children differentiating themselves from their parents, then as they age, "becoming" their parents.

        If society was truly decaying so rampantly, we'd've reached extinction long, long ago. Take a step back, see the forest, not the trees.

        That said, I do want to support you on your points about morality for children versus adults. Very well said.
        • 4 Years Ago
        one word:parents

        that you for resorting to name calling, im glad we can act like adults here. you are correct that children are sponges and absorb anything good and bad. you are also correct that children learn most from their parents. every example you gave is an example of bad parenting, not bad teaching environment.

        im sorry for using a cliche, i did not realize it would offend you this much. but the "soap box" he was on came to my attention when he used questions in his post that are intended to get a rise out of the reader.

        people seem to forget that parents are responsible for their children. not teachers or other organizations.


        first i would like to state what i said in my original reply, i agree that this is probably a bad idea. but that does not make it "morally repungent and deplorable".

        teaching someone a skill does not corrupt the moral compass. as an example, i have a friend who is one of the best shots with a rifle that ive ever seen, yet he has never used this skill for wrong doing, which would be fairly easy. he was taught, not by the shooting coach (hes on a team), but by his parents, what is morally right and wrong.

        yes, you are correct in that we do not release children into the wild like animals. children are supposed to learn from their parents. i believe that it is the parents role to point the childs moral compass in the right direction.

        i believe this "rampant decay" that you speak of is not the fault of organizations like this one, but is the fault of bad parenting.

        i never said that hotwiring was done by mechanics, but stealing cars is not its only use.

        honestly, if you think that teaching someone a skill will "corrupt children into criminality" then this world is a sad sad place.

        im done now because arguing on the internet is one of the stupidest things possible because i wont convince you and you wont convince me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        you sir need to step down off your soap box and take a breather. while yes, i agree that teaching kids how to pick a lock/hot wire a car is really not the best idea, it will not take away any of their innocents or turn them into criminals.

        I personally would love to learn how to hotwire a car or learn to pick a lock. do i want to know how to do this so i can go steal a car? not a chance. i just think it would be fun to know, and maybe someday down the road i might need to know how for some unknown reason. Its up to these kids parents to teach them whats right and wrong, not some non-profit organization.
        • 4 Years Ago
        jdvm, you tell BoxerFanatic to "Get off your soap box". First, I am so sick and tired of people using that cliche. You can have an opinion but he can't? Let's leave the soap box at home. Second, I will contradict myself hear but, jdvm your a moron. Yes kids will make the choice to be "good" or "bad" and it is not necessarily determined on how they were raised or taught. But, wouldn't you say that people who were taught or around people who steal or hurt others would be more inclined to do the same. Kids are sponges that absorb everything around them. If a child's Dad, cousin, Aunt or Best Friend is a car thief what are the chances that child is going to be a car thief? Pretty darn good I say! Kids still learn by example. Case in point. Last week in Oakland, CA (40 miles north of me) a 1st grade boy and a 1st grade girl gave each other oral sex in the middle of class. Do you think they just figured that would be more fun than coloring? No, they probably both grew up in a household where adults or teens were doing these acts right in front of them. You teach your kids to be good in every way and hope that most of it sticks. I don't expect perfection, but a little lie is nothing compared to teaching kids how to steal cars.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Thanks for most of that... but 1st graders WHAT, WHAT WHAT???????

        Where the hell was the teacher, if that was going on in the middle of the class?

        That is a rhetorical question. I would rather not be more torqued off than I am already.
        • 4 Years Ago

        You are an adult, and hopefully have a decent moral compass. If you use that information to break the law, you are subject to the penalty of breaking the law when it is proven that you have.

        A child does not have a fully developed moral compass, and needs moral guidance. That is the whole point of raising children, instead of just releasing them into the wild like animals. Which is tantamount to what is alarmingly happening in more and more instances.

        I would still question the morality of teaching people the tools of pretty much an illegal trade, even to adults as a legitimate academic excercise. Academic standards are poor in this country anyway on legitimate topics, let alone teaching people how to be criminals, should they so choose to abandon morality.

        Hotwiring is not what mechanics do. Picking locks is either illegal, or the realm of learning the skills of legal locksmithing, and operating within the law, and is taught within that context.

        I don't give a rip if you think this is a soap box. It is about damn time someone stood up against the rampant decay, of which this is yet another example, in an endless line of examples.

        How dare you or anyone else suggest that corrupting children into criminality, either seriously, or even as a joke, is a good idea, or should be allowed without warranted moral outrage.
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