With a title like Grand Theft Auto, it is no surprise that your primary way of acquiring vehicles is by stealing them. In this game, nearly every single vehicle that exists can be stolen for your own personal use; and all it takes is a single button tap. Of course, stealing is one thing, getting away with it is another. There’s always a risk to stealing a vehicle, so always be prepared to deal with consequences (like getting busted and having all your armor and ammunition confiscated) –and more importantly, if you will get shot at for stealing a ride, you might as well make the vehicle worth the trouble.
So you want to steal a decent set of wheels? Well, the name of the game is Grand Theft Auto, so we all know that heading down to the dealership and signing a contract is the last thing you will be doing. Here you will break through windows, steal vehicles at gunpoint, or in some cases, even kill a car’s current driver –after all, why walk when you can ride? Engaging in such illegal affairs of course, will bring you to the attention of the cops, or at the very least, the hostile previous owners of your newly acquired car. There are ways to get away with it scot-free, and here is how it works.
Picking a Target
Before you actually decide to steal a car, you will want to pick a good target. Super type cars are fast and tough, but they usually only have two doors and cannot be used for certain missions. They (and sports cars) are great for races though. These high end cars can be easily found near Vinewood heights and the surrounding areas (basically, near and around Michael’s house). Racer type motorbikes also spawn in these parts.
Muscle and Sedan types are great all around vehicles. They do not have the same speed and acceleration as Sports and Supers, but they have great handling, tough armor, and are generally reliable all-around vehicles. They also usually come with 4-doors, so they can be used in a lot of missions.
Occasionally, you may want to goof around with specialty vehicles (and sometimes, there are missions that need them); from police squad cars, to fire trucks, to taco trucks, to the heavy big-rigs, you will see a large variety of them all over San Andreas.
Police Chase with an Ambulance
Most of the civilian vehicles offer the same risks as regular cars, but police and public service vehicles (like buses, fire trucks, and ambulances), are likely to get you a police rating the moment you step inside.
All in a Single Button
The best part about stealing cars in GTAV is the fact that there are no complex lockpicking systems or wire-crossing puzzles. You press a button and voila, your character automatically performs any of several possible context dependent actions that will steal you a car. If it is not locked and the keys are inside, you simply open the door and start the engine.
Locked doors will trigger a window-smashing animation, while cars with drivers will have you tossing them out of the vehicle in a myriad of ways (this is affected by any weapons you currently have actively equipped). The same applies for all vehicle forms as well: motorcycles, large trucks, boats, etc.
Since the actual task of getting in the car is easy, that only leaves the hard part: making a getaway.
If you are lucky, you can stumble upon a parked, unlocked, good car –and without any police nearby. If that happens, then you can steal a car pretty fast without any trouble, just be sure to drive away quickly; random civilian NPCs seeing you steal the car can potentially call and alert the police.
Since there is no way of knowing if a car has an alarm or not, the easiest thing to do is to ram it lightly from the side with your current vehicle. This will trigger the alarm sequence and still keep you on the safe side of law. Just wait for the alarm sequence to stop before attempting to get inside the car. Hitting the car from the side may also break the side windows –saving you the trouble of breaking them if the car is locked.
Sadly, not all great cars spawn in a parked position –some of them will appear on the same roads you are travelling. In this case, you have no choice but to drag the guy out of the car and take it for yourself. There is one thing you need to do to successfully steal a vehicle driven by an NPC: you need to stop the vehicle from moving. When it stops (or slows down enough), you can then get inside and take it.
More often than not, the easiest way of doing this is by using a different vehicle to block your target’s path. Simply parking a car in front of another car will cause an NPC driver to stop. Combine this with stoplights (since NPC drivers are conscientious), and even a very fast sports car is likely to make several stops along the road. Of course, they will not stay still too long –a driver will eventually get impatient and try to drive around any obstacle you set. Or they could get suspicious and drive away in a panic (this is especially true if they see you holding or using a weapon). So the moment you get another car to stop, you better hurry up and steal it.
Try to remember that some drivers will try to take back their car after you have tossed them out –they can open the door and pull you out of the car. To stop this, you can either drive away quickly or scare them off with a weapon (simply hold the aim button).
We do not recommend using a weapon to steal a car (this is done by aiming a firearm towards a driver). Doing this may scare a driver into vacating their car; however, it will only trigger if the driver cannot move the car forward or back. NPCs are programmed to drive away before abandoning a vehicle, and it is likely that they will run over you instead of getting out. If you are going to bother aiming with your gun, you might as well shoot the driver. Also, remember that manually aiming the gun (a hold up) is different and riskier than the basic steal animation where your active character points a gun at a driver while pulling them out of a vehicle (this is more effective).
The hardest way of stealing a car with a driver is by attacking the vehicle –this will prompt the NPC to drive away in a hurried panic. Even if you do successfully shoot out a tire or two, the NPC will still try to drive away –and you end up with a heavily damaged car. Sure, you can bring broken vehicles over to LS Customs, but that is too much trouble –better focus on stopping the NPC driver instead.
There are times when getting on two wheels is better than four. The good news is that stealing a motorbike is easier: parked ones have no windows to break or tell-tale alarms. As for motorcycles on the road –bumping into one with your car will instantly knock the driver off long enough for you to be able to take the bike for yourself. You can also choose to quickly shoot the drivers –since they are exposed, the auto-aim system will allow you to lock on to them.
Just remember that after you jack a bike, do not immediately accelerate –wait for your character to put on a helmet before driving off. Having a helmet while driving a motorcycle will allow you to survive plenty of dangerous crashes –this is something that tends to happen a lot with motorcycles at full speed.
Cancelling a Robbery
One issue with being able to steal cars with just one button is that you might actually target the wrong vehicle. Sometimes, you end up trying to get into a car with an alarm. When this happens, simply move the directional controls away from the car (tapping the sprint button while doing so also helps). This will cancel your character’s car stealing animation and allow you to move away from potential trouble (or in the case of car alarms, allow you to wait on one side until it is safe to resume). This also applies to stopping your own character from riding a car you actually own.
Eyes on the Prize
Of course, no carjacking guide would be complete without a proper guide to finding cars worth jacking. So here’s a quick guide to some useful cars you can find.
Truffade Adder, Super Car
This is considered by most GTA5 players as the best overall car in the game. In terms of speed, handling, durability, and general performance, the Adder is a really great vehicle. Specs-wise, the Adder is beaten by the Entity XF; however, you cannot obtain the XF normally –which is why more players prefer the Adder overall. To get this car, simply drive south from Micheal’s house and once you get past the block of Ponsby’s (the clothing shop), it should be parked along the southbound side of the road. It is recommended that you try to trigger the spawn by being in another Super-class car when doing this.
FIB Buffalo, Muscle Car
One of the best 4-door cars you can find, the FIB Buffalo is the vehicle of choice for the FIB (GTA5’s version of the feds). This car is exceptionally good to bring on missions since it has four doors, great handling, and a decent amount of speed. Getting it, however, takes a bit of skill and timing. To get this car, head over to the Grand Senora Desert and look for the giant satellite dishes. You have to be in the area in the morning, around 10 am, in order to get the vehicle to appear –it should be parked right next to one of the satellite dishes.
Bati 800, Motorcycle
The fastest motorcycle in the game, this Ducati-inspired motorcycle is not only a great ride, it is also easy to get. Simply hang around the area of La Puerta (you can find it easily thanks to the huge Maze Bank Stadium), and you are likely to see it driven by random NPCs. Another way of getting this is by stealing it from other riders during a race (though that is considerably more likely to get you some wanted stars).
Yes, GTA5 allows you to steal a tank. And there is a very easy way to do this too. Most people have a variety of methods, ranging from parachuting into the military base of Fort Zancudo, to trying to raise up to a 5 star wanted level. While these methods would work, they are dangerous and a little too time consuming (and stepping inside of Fort Zancudo will instantly get you a 4 star rating).
How to steal a tank with 1-star wanted rating
The best way to get a tank in the game is to get a 1 star wanted rating –and no more. The trick is to do this within range of Fort Zancudo. Shooting a bullet or two towards traffic (without actually hitting anything), should be enough to raise the wanted rating. At 1 star, law enforcement NPCs will simply try to get closer to you (in this case, the closest ones will be the tanks). Let the tanks drive up near you, and when a soldier comes out of the hatch, quickly board the tank and drive away. At any point before driving the tank, you should avoid performing any actions that would raise your wanted rating (you will be raised up to two stars eventually). Once you are inside the tank, quickly drive away –at your low wanted rating, escaping the cops is pretty easy since they will not bother going off the road (head towards the mountains or the beach). Just remember that a tank cannot be stored in a regular garage, you will need to have and own an aircraft hangar to store a tank.