Have you ever found yourself locked out of your car when your keys are inside? You stand there panicking while staring at your keys idly sitting on the driver’s seat, but there is nothing much you can do. Well, not until you saw this guide on how to unlock your car when you are locked out.
Being locked out of your car can be a very frustrating experience, and it can feel even worse if you are somewhere in the middle of nowhere. But with the right knowledge, the right tools, and knowing who to call for help, you can rest assured that you are not going to have to walk home without your car or stay stranded all day.
In this post, we are going to see several options for unlocking your car when your keys are locked inside, and there is nothing much else you can do. Your time may be running out, so let’s keep it going without further ado.
Note that this should only be applied to your own car, otherwise, that would be classified as car theft and you can be thrown in jail.
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Methods for unlocking your car when locked out
The first thing to do when you are locked out of your car is to evaluate the situation carefully. Double-check to ensure that you are not mistakenly having your keys in your pocket while keeping cool and calm. You don’t want people to notice that you are panicking. You also want to check all openings if there is any chance one of your car windows is open.
Next thing is to come up with actionable ways to unlock your car. Here, you will see 5 available options for unlocking your car when you are locked out.
1. Using a spare key
Getting your spare key should be your first line of action when you are locked out of your car. If you are close to your house, consider going back to your room to get your spare key, or whoever you kept it with. As a way of prevention, you could keep your spare key with your wife, a family member, or at a trusted friend’s place. also, purchasing a magnetic keyholder attached to your car’s exterior would also be a lifesaver, especially when you are prone to locking yourself out every time.
2. Retrieve your keys
If you can visibly see your car out of the window, and the glass is not fully locked, you can use any slim object to retrieve your keys from where you kept them in the car. A slim jim or any flat metallic object can be helpful in retrieving your keys when you are locked out of your car.
If your window’s glass is perfectly closed, you might want to try the other methods below or contact a locksmith as soon as possible.
3. Using a string
Get a string like the lace of your shoes, then tie it into an adjustable loop. Ensure that the string is long enough to cross the entire car door from the front of the glass to its back. Then slide the string through the corners of the door while holding both ends of the string until the loop knot your tied earlier gets close to the doorknob. Manipulate the string until the knot rests and encircles your door knob. Then tighten the knot and pull the knob gently with the string to unlock your car.
If your car window glass is tinted, it may be difficult to see through and manipulate the knot to the car knob. If it proves very difficult, you might want to contact a locksmith urgently.
4. Using a slim jim
A slim jim is a long, thin strip of metal consisting of two flat strips connected to each other by encircling support. This is something you can easily improvise by bending a long metal strip over itself and supporting it as the central portion with a light band, for a flat metallic loop.
The slim jim can be used to manipulate the lock mechanism of your car when your keys are locked inside. Much like the string method above, the slim jim makes its way to the lock knob and can be used to pull it up to unlock the car. To do this, gently slide the slim jim down between the window and the weatherstripping rubber at the inner edge of the car door. Carefully locate the lock mechanism using the end of the slim jim and manipulate its flat loop over the knob, and pull up to open your car.
The slim jim comes in handy when unlocking your car with keys inside but this method may not work on newer car models with sophisticated security systems, or those without a vertical lock knob.
5. Using a wedge and a rod
For cars with a horizontal lock mechanism (those without an upright knob on the inside), a wedge and rob method would be required. Most of these cars allow the door to be opened from the inside by pulling the opening lever. So, if any adult is inside your car, they can easily pull the lever to open the car.
But if you are locked out with only your keys inside, this method can help. Use a wedge to create a small gap between the door and the frame. Gently do so to avoid scratching your paint excessively. Get an iron rod and fold it into a sharp pointing circle. Roll one edge of the rod over another at the center to close up the opening, and then insert through the gap created by the wedge into the car. You can manipulate it to pull the lock button to the side that opens the car, or you can aim straight at the door lever if that would be easier.
6. Using a coat hanger
If a string, a slim jim, or a wedge and rod is not available, you can use a metal coat hanger to manipulate the lock mechanism. Break the hanger and straighten it up. Then, bend a small hook on one of its ends, and gently slide it through the top of the car door frame. Advance it towards the lock knob, try to catch it, and pull it up to unlock your car. This works easily like the string and slim jim method, for cars with a vertical knob.
Instead of these improvised tools, you can get a special lockout kit that also comes with a wedge and inflatable bag to create an opening in the glass window without breaking it or scratching the paint. This can be used for newer car models with a special lock mechanism.
Below is a video that illustrates some of these methods above. You can also find a description of how to use the lockout kit in the video below.
7. Contacting a locksmith
If you are still unable to unlock your car using one or more of the methods above, or you are not willing to put up with the hassle, it is best to contact a locksmith. Also, like you will see shortly in the next section, some of the methods like slim jim and coat hanger are illegal in some states and countries. Hence, it can be very necessary to contact a professional locksmith who is licensed for that job.
Professional locksmiths are experienced in unlocking cars and also have the right tools to do so without damaging the vehicle. You have nothing to lose by contacting a professional locksmith when you are locked out of your car.
Tips and precautions when unlocking your car
Unlocking a car without the key is a potential criminal act if the car is not yours. There is also a chance of damaging your car parts, including the glass and the paint, but that can be your only hope to get home after a long day. However, even if the car is yours, you might be tagged a thief if you don’t consider some precautions.
Here, you will see some precautions to observe to prevent being arrested for unlocking your car, or to prevent severely damaging your car.
Before attempting to unlock your car, check your state or jurisdiction’s laws to avoid being penalized, charged a fee, or arrested as a car thief. Remember, some methods like a coat hanger, string, slim jim, etc, are illegal in some jurisdictions.
Safety precautions should also be observed. Be careful to avoid injury to your hand, face, or eyes when unlocking your car. Wear gloves, and protective eyeglasses, when using some of the crude methods.
Care must also be taken to prevent damaging your car in the process of unlocking your car. Avoid applying too much force that can shatter your glass, or severely scratch your car paint. Additionally, never attempt to break your car window as this can be dangerous and costly.
How to prevent being locked out of your car
After successfully unlocking your car, you want to avoid being locked out again. It may be someone else who was locked out of their car but you consider it wise to prevent it from happening to you in the future. This is where preventative measures come in.
Prevent getting locked out of your car by double-checking that you have your keys with you before locking your car doors.
Prevent getting locked out of your car by keeping a spare key in a safe place, such as with your wife, a trusted friend, and/or a family member.
Installing the keyless entry option or getting a car that has it built in: New car models now have a keyless entry where you can open your car door without a key. In fact, it is almost impossible to get locked out of your car if you have keyless entry enabled. This is because your car would not lock if the key fob is inside the car. A keyless entry car can only lock while the keys are inside if there is a problem with the remote sensors, or fob itself, that prevents the car from detecting that the keys are still inside the car, or if your engine is running and the car gear is not in park mode. This is a very rare situation by the way. Lastly, it is possible to install keyless entry to your car by contacting a mobile enhancement retailer.
Being locked out of your car can happen to anyone at any time. However, it is important to evaluate the situation, prepare for the worst, and stay calm. This can reduce the stress and inconvenience significantly, as well as prepare you to carry out the interventions described above to unlock your car.
Taking preventative measures such as keeping a spare key can go a long way in avoiding getting locked out of your car. Retrieving your keys or getting your spare key can be quite challenging, but calling a locksmith Las Vegas can save you all the stress, and also avoid possible legal consequences.
Getting locked out can happen to anyone. This is not the time to start blaming yourself or anyone, rather, it is time to stay calm, and look for a way to overcome the problem at hand.
I am a medical doctor, a seasoned writer and passionate blogger. Thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I am the founder of Knowseeker and our content are geared towards enlightening and making you a better and happier audience.