With a bit of patience, practice, and even more patience, getting your keys out of a locked vehicle is entirely possible. Here are a few tips to safely get inside your locked car.
1. Get Your Spare Key
When you purchase a new vehicle from your car dealer, they likely gave you a pair of car keys. If this sounds familiar, and you’re at home, you might want to try to find that spare first.
2. Unlock Manual Locks with String or Fishing Line
Have an old vehicle with manual locks? Become MacGyver: grab a few feet of shoestring, fishing line, or twine, fashion a loop in the middle of the string, and work it into the door’s opening. Hook the loop onto the locking mechanism and pull up.
3. Unlock with a Wire Clothes Hanger
Hollywood makes this method look easy; we assure you that it is not. However, a wire hanger can unlock your car door via its power lock/unlock button. Straighten out your hanger, insert it into the door frame’s seal, just above the unlock button, and gently fiddle with it until the metal hanger slides in. Guide it to the unlock button.
4. Unlock with an Inflatable Pump Wedge
If you happen to lock yourself out of the car regularly, it might be a good idea to invest in an inflatable wedge kit. These “auto entry tools” will help you avoid damaging the vehicle’s paint, which can sometimes happen when using metal tools. The wedge creates space between the door and jamb, allowing you to insert access tools or rods that disengage the lock.
5. Unlock with a Strip of Sturdy Plastic
Many auto body novices will use makeshift door wedges out of spare plastic strips. These can be bent and slid through the cracks of the car door to trigger most manual locks.
6. Call Sprinter Towing or a Locksmith
When you can’t get your shoestring, wire hanger, or wedges to work, it’s time to make like Robin Hood and call the locksmith. Service providers like Sprinter Towing or CAA are also good options; they have special lockout tool kits for this very occasion. The downside is that you’ll have to pay for someone to unlock your car.
7. Call the Police
Officers used to provide assistance with vehicle lockouts. However, some police officers today cannot assist if your vehicle is a newer model. If your situation is particularly dire, contacting the authorities is a good idea. Unless you’ve locked a baby or animal inside a hot car and need assistance ASAP, we suggest calling a non-emergency line rather than dialing 9-1-1.