What To Do When You're Locked Out Of Your Car

We've all done it, sometimes more often than we'd care to admit. But don't worry there are many options out there for when you're locked out of your car.

What To Do When You're Locked Out Of Your Car

It’s happened to a lot of us, in fact more than four million drivers locked themselves out of their car in 2015 according to AAA. The solution, as long as you have some kind of roadside assistance whether that be through State Farm, AAA, or OnStar, is as easy as using your cell phone.

Some motorists leave spare keys with nearby family members, and also sometimes stick a magnetized “Hide A Key” somewhere in their car’s engine bay where they can easily access it from underneath. These are all good options, but what happens if you don’t have cell service or roadside assistance? Don’t be afraid, there are numerous ways to unlock your car without using the keys.

Coat hanger

It’s fair to assume a lot of motorists have heard of the coat hanger technique, however, this isn’t foolproof. After all, how many people have a coat hanger lying in wait for the inevitable keyless entry? Further, how many people carry one around outside of their car? If you’re in a well-populated area, chances are someone around you will have one solving that problem. Be sure to let them know if they want it back, it’s not going to work as intended anymore.

An easy way to use a coat hanger that doesn’t damage your car as much as other coat hanger-related techniques, is to unwind the end that meets the hook and straighten the wire.

You can then stuff the hook side in between the edge of the window and the door’s weather stripping, thread it to the door lock and force it open. This will only work with a door lock that flips open sideways, mounted on the inside of the interior door handle or on the door.

A way to use the coat hanger that might damage your car is to keep the hook part intact, but bend it at the stem to make a “V” shape, and slide it between the window and weather stripping on the outside of the door. You can then use it to find the locking mechanism and deactivate it.

The beauty of this method is that if you don’t have a coat hanger or can’t find one, it’s adaptable to work with any kind of long bendable wire. Alternatively, if you’re near a store and find yourself locking the keys in the car often, it might be a good idea to invest in a kit of some kind.

Driving Tips
Safety Tips

If you have what’s called a post lock, that is, a door lock that sticks out of the top of the interior door trim, it is possible to use a shoelace to unlock the door. It’s a bit complicated if you don’t know how to do the first stage, but basically you need to make your shoelace into a slip knot, weave it into the car through the top right corner of the window, down around the post lock, pull to tighten the loop around the lock, and then you can pull again to force the lock upwards, thereby unlocking the door.

Keys are in the trunk

If your keys are in the trunk, you can use any of the above techniques to unlock your door, and then use the trunk opening switch to get back there. If there is no switch, or if it’s not working for whatever reason, some cars will allow you to fold down the rear seats and allow access to the trunk. If you are unable to access it, you may have to call a locksmith. If you take that route it is expensive, but the company you call will send a locksmith out and will pick your lock for you.

It is possible to pick the lock yourself, but unless you’re an expert we don’t recommend that method. In that instance, the best and last resort would be to break down and call a locksmith. Or, if you don’t have cell signal, you can call an emergency number, like the police, and they should be able to help you in some way. Some police officers are equipped to unlock your door for you, so an officer may be sent to you.

If you find yourself in that very rare occurrence where you don’t have cell signal, your phone will still dial out to emergency numbers. Basically, as long as you have a cell phone with battery life, you’re well equipped to handle when your keys are locked in your car.

The Instamotor TeamThe Instamotor Team

Not your typical used car salesman. Our team is here to provide honest and transparent advice about car buying and selling.