The telekinetic in question seems to have fantastic line of sight telekinesis and even great out of sight telekinesis being able to even manage "having a sense of feeling" to said things using his powerful imagination (he's quite the maladaptive daydreamer) however he can't move or manipulate things he doesn't know exist and telekinesis at its best is manipulation of matter that does exist with the mind. For him to know this he needs to have previous experience with said object/area. Bare minimum muscle memory or visually with that object being in his line of sight beforehand to create a "link" to said area or object. It is possible for his memory to be foggy and if he can't remember a area/object well enough he could possibly lose all telekinetic link with this area/object. Meaning if he doesn't at least have a idea visually of your house he can't just levitate your Xbox 3 miles back to his place. So assuming he was familiar with how generally automobiles work and he was insanely familiar with the inner workings of a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz how would he go about mentally starting this vehicle without keys and driving off?
Yes he can start an old car. All he needs is to
- Apply momentum to the keylock
- Start to vibrate that keylock
That is exactly like how a modern vibro-lockpicks works.
Additionally, if he can work using his muscle memory, he can touch the pins of a lock with a piece of paper or clip and then just push them and turn the lock.
All this needs is that he have at least watched some video on youtube about locks and lockpicking. Better if he has some real experience with it.
But this method has a lot of limitations:
- "secure locks" have protection from this method (so he would have trouble opening safes or secure doors)
- most modern cars have additional digital security measures - like the key also being a digital token, and many other more complex systems. So - no luck with cars with a start/stop button!
P.S. (inspired by comments) Or, if you are strong enough, you can just switch the gearbox to neutral and push the car with your own force! :)
Use water to feel the inside of the lock
I presume your telekinetic gets some sensory feedback from the items he moves. For example if he picked up a bed and pushed it towards the wall he would feel he bed stopping against the wall, even with his eyes closed.
So do the same for the inside of the lock. Take a small amount of water and manipulate it inside the lock. Then he can generate a mental picture of the inside of the lock. From there is should be easy to locate the relevant tumblers, pins et cetera and open the lock.
however he can't move or manipulate things he doesn't know exist
The car in question would have to have been manufactured before the implementation of ignition keys. By the rule stated above, the telekenetic can't actuate tumblers he/she can't see (doesn't know where they are, what their settings are, etc.). If the telekenetic is powerful enough to break the lock, he/she's powerful enough to do a lot of things that make the question moot.
Bear in mind that telekenisis is just a form of sci-fi magic. You can do anything you want with it — but by the rules you've established, no, the telekenetic can't start cars.
A better answer would require you to provide more details about the rules of telekenisis in your world, like a chart of force-vs-distance, rules about precision and dexterity, etc. Most telekenetics in, for example, the Marvel universe are godlike in their ability to perceive their surroundings and therefore utilize their gift. A practical telekenisis would be no more useful than your own hands. If you can't do it with your hands, you can't do it with your mind, because that's as complex as the human creature can be without additional tools.
Answer based on an edit.
He would need to watch a few episodes of "Lockpicking Lawyer". A 1957 car wouldn't have any additional power security (in the vanilla factory model, at least). If they had, bad luck those things are PITA. First to find, second to operate.
If he has seen the key it would be even easier. He could imagine where the pins should be, and then use telekinesis to hold them all at once.
However, there is a different method at his disposal. Provided that he is familiar with the internal workings of the car, he could just give power to the cable that activates the solenoid that starts the start and give power to the ignition coil (etc. ad nauseam). To simplify, just imagine the red wire touching the pink cable.
familiar with how generally automobiles work and ... insanely familiar with the inner workings of some pre-1980 model
... can run this car without the keys AND without any telekinetic abilities. In a few minutes or maybe less. That's how advanced car thieves did work back then.
Telekinesis can shorten this time down to few seconds - in practice, just as fast as with keys.
It boils down to opening the doors (pretty much possible from inside when you see where the handles are from the opposite window and this Cadillac is cabrio anyway) and shorting 2 (and temporarily 3rd) wires that everyone knows where they are.
Steering wheel locks AFAIR were introduced later and they are rather easy to bypass, especially if you can simply undo bolts that you can look at.
Part of the ignition system of the vehicle is a relay, which is an electronic device that enables a low-voltage circuit (the key switch) to switch a high-voltage circuit (the starter) on and off while keeping them electrically isolated from one another. Relays generally work by sending the low-voltage signal through a coil that acts like an electromagnet. When energized, the magnetic field from the coil will push or pull a switch open or closed, which opens and closes the circuit on the high-voltage side.
To start the car, your character would simply need to use telekinesis to close the ignition relay. It doesn't take much physical force to do this, but the relay's components are sealed inside a plastic shell. Your character would need to swap the relay in his car with one that had a transparent shell. Once he could see the insides, activating it should be trivial. After some practice, he will likely learn to do it while sitting in the driver's seat and not having a direct line of sight.
If he wanted to make his car really hard to steal, disconnect the key switch entirely and replace it with a pushbutton hidden somewhere inaccessible. The only way to start it would be to press the button telekinetically.
This would be a lot harder for modern cars, though. Their ignition systems are more complex.
Depends on the vehicle. Modern cars, built since maybe late '90s, have electronic security systems (RFID) built into the key. If the car's ECU (electronic control unit) doesn't read the correct code from the key, it won't let the engine run. If you go to your local hardware store and cut a duplicate key (that is, with the same teeth & notches, but without the code), it'll just unlock the steering column, but not start the engine.
With older cars - for instance, my '88 pickup - you could start the engine by telekinetically picking the lock, just as you can cut a simple replacement key.
You don't need to engage the ignition system to start a car (at least, a car with a carburetor - I'm not sure how true it is of a fuel injection engine, but 1957 is definitely going to have a carburetor). All you have to do is get the crankshaft turning with enough momentum to cycle a few times. The ignition system just engages the starter, which is an electric motor that turns the crankshaft until the motor gets going.
Cars can be started by "push starting" instead - get the car rolling by pushing it by hand or another vehicle, or just rolling down a hill, then "popping the clutch" to engage the gears. The momentum of the car will start the crankshaft turning, causing the engine to start up.
Your guy does not need to start it in exactly that way. He just needs to turn the crankshaft with his mind. In fact, since you seem to be interested in a particular vehicle, all he has to do is look under the hood long enough to "picture" that big fly wheel in front driving the belts. It is connected to the crankshaft. So all he needs to do is start turning the wheel, and the car will start.
If the car is in park or neutral, then it should start easily. If the car is not, then he will have to start moving the entire vehicle to get it going.