How to Get Keys Out of a Locked Car: Tips and Tricks
Getting locked out of the car is nobody’s happy and high moment. Whether you’re rushing to a last-minute meeting or have an important appointment with the doctor, these unforeseen incidents happen only when you have someplace to be or leave. In any case, realizing your car keys decided to stay back in the car and you have locked the doors can lead to a moment of panic and uncertainty. But fret not, this article explains the multiple ways of how to get keys out of a locked car.
We understand how stressful and hard it can be to get the keys out of the locked car. Make sure you’re trying your hands on the multiple ways given below; some may be harder than others while some may require a particular kind of tool. And if nothing works, you always have the option to call for professional help.
A word of caution – If there is someone trapped inside the car, it would be intelligent to call the emergency services, car service centre, or roadside assistance since the DIY methods mentioned below might take time, and it’s always better to be proactive in such cases.
Starting with the basics, let’s first ensure whether you are really locked out of the car. In many cases that we have encountered, people get so flustered that they forget to check the other obvious ways into the car.
The first tip – Make sure you are locked out
Before you go troubleshooting the problem, let’s first ensure that there is a problem. The simplest fix is often the most overlooked one, and hence, I am here reminding you to do the obvious checks.
Most drivers won’t admit it, but we are more often unaware of the other doors and their functionality. I am guilty of the same, and mostly just check the driver’s door when locking. It is a good idea to check all the doors to find a way into the car without having to go through much trouble.
The door is not the only way into the vehicle. In some particular models of cars, the trunk and the cabin are not separated but only divided with the help of a panel. This means you can enter the back seat of the car through the trunk by pushing the panel inside.
This method will seem a lot easier when you go through the rest of the points on how to get keys out of a locked car.
Also Read: How to Troubleshoot an Overheating Car?
How to Get Keys Out of a Locked Car – Tricks and Tips
1. Accessing through the App
With the advent of modern vehicles and technology, the cars of today usually have a manufacturer’s app or car’s companion app that can be downloaded to save the day. It is always better to keep such applications downloaded, signed up, and working in case of any type of failure since they help more than just unlocking the car.
Popular brands have their lockout apps like myChevrolet, Toyota App, NissanConnect, MySubaru, etc.
2. Using a String, Shoelace, or Rope
Desperate time calls for desperate attempts, and in such cases, it is essential to make the most of what you have. This particular DIY tip can be carried on with a shoelace, a thin rope, or even a string, whatever you have readily available.
Before we move on to the entire process, it is crucial to note that this type of trick will only work if you have post locks. For those who don’t know, it is the kind of lock that unlocks when you pull up and locks when pushed down. Now comes the part of tying a knot with the string.
The only requirement is that the string should be able to fit between the door and the frame. Using your choice of string, make a loop somewhere in the middle of the string, keeping in mind that we don’t want a tight knot, but a slip knot where there is a loop in the middle. This loop can be adjusted when you pull both sides of the string, and the size of the loop can be adjusted.
Now that you have the string/rope/shoelace with a slip knot in the middle, it is time to unlock the door. Use the same string, and slip it in between the frame and the door, sliding it further inside with a floss-like movement. Once the string reaches the part where the loop can sit on the lock, pull both sides of the string to tighten it. As it grasps the lock completely, pull the lock upwards. And Voila! you have the doors unlocked.
3. Coat Hanger
It’s okay if you don’t have a rope or a string readily available when you’re trying to get the locked keys out of the car. In our second-most used tip of how to get keys out of a locked car, we use a coat hanger. I will be explaining three different methods, two of which works on post locks, and one method that can be applied on push/slide locks.
I am sure you have seen at least one movie where the hero uses the coat hanger to unlock the doors effortlessly with nothing but hangers. Even though they make it look easy, it is not entirely impossible. The first step would be to spot a wire hanger which is fairly easy if you’re at home. In other cases, you can borrow one from a laundry nearby, keeping in mind that you would be dismantling the hanger.
The first one is a pretty straight forward way to go about it and resembles the previous tip that we talked about. Straighten out the hanger, turning the hook into a ‘V’ shaped dagger. Find a place between the door and the frame, insert the hanger through it with the hook going in first. Once the hook attaches to the lock, pull it towards you and then pull upwards to create the grip needed to unlock.
And there you have it, the end of all troubles!
The other way to open the post lock to get the keys out of the locked car is to make a slim jim. It is not as easy as the method stated above and might even lead to some damage if you’re not able to do it properly. The first few steps are the same, detangling the hanger, and making the hook into a “V” shape.
The next step is where things change; instead of inserting the hanger between the frame and the door, we insert between the window and the weatherstripping. While you’re doing this, ensure that the hook is facing toward the interior.
Once the hanger is inside the space, locate the part where you see the lock being manipulated. Once you spot the right place, pull the hanger upward to bring the lock to the ‘unlock’ position. Keep in mind that this will take multiple tries, and once done, you will be ready to retrieve the keys.
You can also use the hanger if you have slide/push locks. The steps are pretty similar and it is even easier for this type of lock. Once you have straightened out the hanger, place bends along the length and bend one end in such a manner that it would help you manipulate the locks. Slip the hanger between the door and the frame, locating where the lock is. If you’re unable to view it, ask someone to guide you through the opposite window. Unlock the car by sliding or de-pressing the lock, and there you have it!
In the previous two methods of how to get keys out of a locked car, we have used a metal hanger or a rope to manage through the minimal gap between the door and the frame. However, it might not be as easy as it seems, and not to mention, we may scratch the paint or damage the car in the process.
If you’re not very keen on carrying on the process, it might be a good idea to invest in an inflatable wedge kit. Also known as “auto entry tools”, it is an efficient way to make sufficient space between the door and the jamb, making it a lot easier to insert a probe, rod, or any other tool to unlock the car. The idea is to insert a wedge between the door and frame, and then inflate it with the help of the kit. Once there is the required space, you can use the probe tool to do the deed.
The only drawback here is that it can get expensive.
5. Plastic Strip
If you have looked at all the options above and are still wondering how to get keys out of a locked car, here is another way to unlock the post locks.
For this way, we would need a plastic strip that is long and thin and can easily fit between the door and the door frame when folded. The idea is similar to what we applied in the shoelace/rope method, wherein the folded loop should grasp the lock. And once you’re sure you have the grip, pull it upward toward you to hear the ‘click’. And you have an unlocked door.
I agree that it is not a very efficient method, but you never know what might work at that moment.
6. Picking the Lock
I know, ‘picking the lock’ doesn’t seem like the best thing to do, but hey, we have locked our keys in the car and need a way out. But we are not professional lock pickers, and hence would need the correct tools and talent to do the job. The advanced cars of today are a lot harder to pick than what you would experience with a car from the 90s.
If the lock employs wafers, there is a chance that it can be raked, rocked, jiggled, pin picked, etc. But here’s a word of caution – don’t try to pick the lock if you’re not sure about your picking abilities. Ruining or breaking the lock can lead to spending more money on repair, and you could just easily do the same by calling assistance or a locksmith.
7. Call for Assistance
When everything else fails, it is always a good option to call for Assistance.
You can call a police officer in the area, especially if your engine is still running and you cannot leave the car alone for fear of break-in. Moreover, if there is an animal or a person locked inside, or you have any threat by staying out of the car, it is a better option to call the police immediately.
The second option for ‘unlocking’ assistance is available if you have AAA. Even locksmith services are offered for a certain amount to Classic and Plus members. If nothing works, they also provide towing services. In other cases, you can consult any roadside assistance service.
The best way to go about this type of situation is to call a locksmith for help. Of course, the type of service depends on the company that you hire, but either way, they usually take a few moments to unlock the car without any harm.
Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. And if you have successfully gotten the keys out of the vehicle, congratulations.
It is always a good option to keep a spare key somewhere accessible so that you don’t have to go through the same ordeal again.
I hope this was helpful and informative. Leave a comment if you have any new answers to how to get keys out of a locked car.
For more such articles, keep watching this space.