Introduction: Hot Wheels Car Key

Picture of Hot Wheels Car Key

Whether you're an old school Hot Wheels fan, a classic car junkie, or just want to up your key game, this Hot Wheels Car Key build is a quick, simple way to rev your key chain into high gear.

Assuming you have the basic tools needed at your disposal for this project, it should only take you about an hour of your time and the cost of a single Hot Wheel to make this happen. For my key, I used a die-cast '68 COPO Camaro, but after reading through this Instructable you'll know how to adapt this build to any model that you prefer.


What You'll Need:

Hot Wheel of your choice

Car, Home, Locker or any other key

Power Drill and Bit Set

Metal Grinder (a grinding wheel, Dremel, file, or oscillating tool will do the trick)

Bench Vise (or similar)

Epoxy (suitable for both metal and plastic use)

Safety Gear (I won't mention it past this point, but ALWAYS use gloves and eye protection - especially when drilling or grinding into metal)

Step 1: Disassemble the Car

Picture of Disassemble the Car

If you know Hot Wheels, you'll be aware that each model may have slight variances in design compared to others. But the first place that we'll start is a consistent feature in almost all Hot Wheels. The body is held together with two rivets which connect the metal body to the plastic undercarriage (and thus, everything in between). We'll need to remove these before safely disassembling the car.

A bench vise (or similar means of securing your car during drilling) is crucial. I used some small pieces of fabric in between the teeth of the vise and the car to prevent scratching the paint off the body during this step. I recommend using a series of drill bits that are suited for drilling into metal. I found that 1/16", 3/32" and 5/32" bits work best to remove these rivets without damaging the rest of the car and allowing for easy reassembly. The smallest bit helps to increase the size of the divot in the rivet head which ensures an easier time with the 3/32" bit. It is with this bit that you'll spend the most time drilling. The goal here is to drill out the center of the rivet deeper than the edge of the plastic undercarriage. This will make your last step cleaner and easier. Finally, take the 5/32" bit and drill slowly until you've removed the outer edge that remains of the rivet. Once you hit plastic, you should have a cleanly removed rivet that allows for a proper reassembly. Take a look at the pictures above for illustration.

It will be easy now to separate the four parts of the car. You can set aside all but the die-cast frame for now.

Step 2: Cut the Key and Drill Holes

Picture of Cut the Key and Drill Holes

With the die-cast body now free, you'll need to trim your key to fit within the frame of the body. You can use many tools to accomplish this task (grinding wheel, Dremel attachments, etc). I used my new Fein MultiMaster oscillating tool won in the Pallet Contest to grind away the excess of the key body. After cutting away the bulk of the key head, you can use a file to smooth the edges of your work.

Looking at the front of the car body, you'll be using this rivet to help attach the key to the frame. I found that a 6/32" bit made the perfect size hole for the key to fit snugly onto this rivet.

The last hole you'll need to drill is for the key ring. You can place this nearly anywhere on the body that you like, but I felt that the best place would be along the back bumper. I used the 6/32" bit for this as well.

Note: As illustrated in the last picture, some Hot Wheels bodies have the front bumper as a part of the die-cast frame (unlike a part of the plastic undercarriage, as was the case in my car). In this situation, you'll need to use a grinder or metal-cutting attachment to trim away enough of the metal bumper to allow the key to fit into the car.

Step 3: Fit Interior Together

Picture of Fit Interior Together

With the key in place on the front rivet and the key ring attached to the back bumper, you'll need to make a couple of alterations to the plastic interior piece. I found scissors and a file to suit this job perfectly.

Examining the pictures above, you can see that you'll need to file away a little of the rear undercarriage to allow for free movement of the key ring. Also, depending on how the interior of your model car is designed, you may need to trim away the front part that now interferes with the placement of the key. Even with this section removed, the interior will be kept in place once the car is fully reassembled. Before securing the car back together with adhesive, make sure that all of your parts fit together properly.

Step 4: Epoxy and Reassemble

Picture of Epoxy and Reassemble

Assured that all of the pieces fit without issue, you can now go about permanently affixing the body back together. I prefer using JB Weld ClearWeld Epoxy for most jobs, as it cures quickly and can be recapped after use for small projects such as this. You can mix the AB mixture together with a small stick or piece of cardboard, and can use this to apply your epoxy as well. Make sure to use it liberally, while taking care not to allow it on to the surface of the car.

With the key in place you can quickly reassemble the car, finishing the job with two dabs of epoxy into the holes left behind from removing the rivets earlier. After the time dictated by your brand of epoxy has passed, you should have a solid, secure bond that can hold up to repeated use.

That's it! Enjoy your awesome new Hot Wheels key!

And please vote for this 'ible in any contest you might see it in!


PardoByNight (author)2017-04-15

Awww this is so cute!!

mazzinga (author)2016-06-09

Finally made my own carkeycar. Plus I combined it with whamodyne's rechargeable flashlight car mod. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

AkberJ (author)2016-04-08

This is great to also but what if I need to swap the wheels from another HWcar? please show the right way to safely remove/replace the wheels too as most of the chassis's are showing the pinch fuse lock which is great for permanent setting.

CarlosB8 (author)2015-12-19

Buenisima idea!!! desde Venezuela

mrandle made it! (author)2015-09-15

I made mine store inside. It comes out by using some fishing line and looks like s grille. Plus now it matches my car, minus the stripes, and engine, and year is a bit off... close enough.

yosanatanm (author)mrandle2015-11-01

how can you store your ke inside the car, i mean the detail you make it

mrandle (author)yosanatanm2015-11-03

Basically same as this but instead of permanently gluing it in the car I put some high tensile fishing line to go around the key and the other end is attached inside the car. you also have to make sure the inside of the car has enough room to fit the key inverted. I barely drive this car so I imagine that over time the line may break.

schnurrbart (author)mrandle2015-09-25

Close enough indeed! Good idea about the retractable key blade.

yosanatanm (author)2015-11-01

nice idea! love it

lopez7468 (author)2015-10-13

How long does it take to make it?

DurialX (author)2015-09-26

nice idea !!

JacksonS4 made it! (author)2015-09-05

made these for fathers day.

schnurrbart (author)JacksonS42015-09-25

Nice fleet!

sparks4289 (author)2015-08-26

fantastic idea! I'll be doing my own this weekend.

maniacse made it! (author)2015-08-24

Man, that was fun to made.. And even better, when I first time insert it and turn it.. :) Perfect, thanks again!

maniacse (author)2015-08-16

Thanks man, great idea!

Forrizzle (author)2015-08-16

Voted for you! Great instructable!

3366carlos (author)2015-08-12

nice idea. can you insert the circuit card that goes in the FOB inside the car.

schnurrbart (author)3366carlos2015-08-12

I was thinking the exact same thing - also maybe removing the interior entirely and turning the front and rear windows into lock/unlock buttons. But I haven't worked all of that out yet. Maybe I'll update if I can make it happen - or maybe someone else here can figure it out.

mrandle (author)schnurrbart2015-08-16

Tesla figured it out ha-ha. On their key fob it looks like the car and you tap the door to open doors, trunk for open trunk etc. Really slick. I'm definitely making one like yours but maybe retractable.

franzcup (author)2015-08-16

Fico ma scomodo in tasca!

Mo0k (author)2015-08-14

Cool and skillful!!

psihuyator (author)2015-08-14

Thanks, a great idea, actually. I would really try this one. A+

EricTheTechShopMan (author)2015-08-13

Really cool !

NivaT (author)2015-08-13

good idea

scaso (author)2015-08-12

the best way to do it is to find a model of your car and use that

ClenseYourPallet (author)2015-08-12

This is too cool! So simple but really awesome... I'll be doing this soon. You have my vote in the car contest

M3G (author)2015-08-12

Totally awesome! Do you think a completely plastic car would be durable enough?

schnurrbart (author)M3G2015-08-12

It might, depending on how the car is constructed and if you can disassemble it without damaging the body. Also, it would need to be solid enough to endure some heavy use. If you can't make it work, you can always look on eBay for some die-cast ones (you can find thousands of them for a buck or two a piece).

iOskr (author)2015-08-12

Excellent idea. Great work. Thanks for sharing :D

About This Instructable




Bio: After a number of years in Austin, I relocated to New England and have spiraled into a black hole of obsession with woodworking after seeing ... More »
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