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How to Get Keys Out of a Locked Car in 5 Ways

hand holding car keys

Imagine you have a busy day and suddenly realize that you’ve locked your keys in the car. It’s not a pleasant feeling. For now, you have to take a pause and retrieve them. Otherwise, you won’t be driving anywhere any time soon.

Luckily, there are different ways you can retrieve the keys and be on your way. But always try the more straightforward ways to get your keys before delving into stealthier methods.

Perhaps you can start by checking if any door is open or if you can access the car through the boot. If that’s not possible, here are some ways you can get your keys.

divider 5 The 5 Ways to Get Keys Out of a Locked Car

1. Using Shoestring

Shoe string
Image By: 2427999, Pixabay

Yes, you read that correctly. One of the simplest ways to get keys out of a locked car is by using a shoestring. Follow the procedure below.

  • Get a Long Shoelace: The ideal shoelace, in this case, needs to be quite long, at least 3 feet long. But if you can’t find a long one, get a string instead.
  • Make a Slip Knot: You want to find the middle section with the shoelace at hand. Here is where you make a slip knot. Start by making a loop and then deliver one end of the lace through it. After that, you have to make another loop about 3 inches away from the one you just made. Once you have two loops on the lace, deliver the second loop through the first. Make sure you pull the loose lace to form a tight knot that you can tighten from one end.
  • Slide the Lace into the Car Door: On the side of the car door, slide the lace inside. This requires a little wiggling back and forth to get the lace inside the car. Wiggle as much as possible to make sure that the lace gets in before proceeding to the next step.
  • Place the Loop above the Car Lock: When you get the lace inside the car, position the loop on the car lock. Make sure your hands are holding either end of the lace. Placing the loop on the car lock requires patience but try not to pull either end of the lace.
  • Pull One End of the Loop: Finally, the loop is on the lock! It’s time to act! Gently pull one end of the lace to tighten the noose around the car lock. Again, exercise some patience to prevent the loop from slipping from the lock. When the loop is tight around the lock, pull hard on both ends to unlock the car door. This is a handy way to get your car keys, especially when driving an old model car. At this point, you can open the car door and get your keys.

2. Use a Coat Hanger

Coat Hanger Rack by Instructions
Image Credit: Instructions

Have you ever thought about picking a lock? Mostly, it is done in burglary cases, but not in this instance. You can actually pick a car lock using a coat hanger to get your keys.

  • Find a Coat Hanger: A wire coat hanger works best in this method. Once you have one, start by unwinding it to make it straight. It’s best to get one that’s quite long for this method to work.
  • Bend One End: Once you have a straight coat hanger, bend one end to have a ‘V’ shape. This part will go into your car to help you unlock it. Make the ‘V’ shape large to have ample space to fit the car lock in between.
  • Find Space on the Car Window: Check for some space between the car window and the rubber stripping. This might require some effort on your part. Once you have some space, pass the coat hanger to the inside of the car. Remember, the ‘V’ shape is the one to open the lock. Do this step while taking extra care not to damage the window stripping.
  • Place the ‘V’ on the Locking Mechanism: Slide the coat hanger into the car until you reach the locking mechanism. Then proceed to wiggle the coat hanger until it snags the car lock. Most mechanisms aren’t too far down, but you still have to put in some effort to get the coat hanger in position.
  • Pull the Coat Hanger to Unlock the Lock: When you snag the locking mechanism, start to pull the coat hanger up to release the car lock. If the hanger slips off, you have to try again, hit the lock pin, and then start to pull the lock and wait for the pop.

At this point, the car door is unlocked. Remove the coat hanger and proceed to open the car door.

3. Remote Unlock Service

Newer car models might be hard to open using a shoelace or a coat hanger. Thanks to automation, you will not even need to use such traditional methods when you lock your keys inside. This is where remote unlock service comes in handy.

  • Check for Any Open Doors: Before you use the ‘Remote Unlock Service,’ it won’t hurt to check if any doors are unlocked. Walk around the car and even check the boot. If there’s nothing that budges, then proceed with the next step.
  • Call the Dealership: Modern cars come with certain features like remote access by dealerships. That way, if you ever lock your keys inside or lose them, you can still access your vehicle. Retrieve your phone and call the dealership for help. They might need some information from you to ascertain that it’s your vehicle, so be ready with the necessary documentation.
  • Wait For the Dealership to Do the Rest: Dealing with a dealership or car security service can be a daunting experience. This is because they have to ascertain that you are the owner and access the car remotely before unlocking the doors. So, be ready to wait for a little while. But if everything checks out, the car will be unlocked for you, and you can get out your keys.

4. Pick the Lock Using an Auto-Jiggler

Another way to pick the lock of a car is by using an auto-jiggler. It’s a simple way to see if you can get the car door open before opting for more drastic measures. You can use this method, especially when in the middle of nowhere.

  • Find a Simple Key: Do you have any keys in your pockets or a screwdriver that you can use? It’s important to have one or the other if you want to use this tactic to open the car door.
  • Place the Key on the Outer Car Lock: When you have the key or the screwdriver, place it on the car lock and start to jiggle the lock. This means you try different ways to open the car door with the item at hand. You can have a bump key at times, which can work on many car models made before 2005.
  • Find the Equivalent of a Bump Key for Newer Models: New car models have software that helps you run them. When you lock your key in the car, you can access its computer and override the system. This is the equivalent of a car bump key for these types of vehicles. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, call an expert to help you out.

5. Forced Entry

At the end of the day, no method listed here has a 100% guarantee of working. You might be forced to concede defeat and turn to forcible entry. But, you must be ready to incur the cost of damages to the car because you have to enter the car forcibly.

This will require breaking a window which can be quite dangerous. So, it’s best to call the professionals or the fire department.

Instead, the fire department or lock professional might use a bladder and pump to open your door. This pushes the side of your door to access the lock mechanism. Give them space to work and open the car door for you.

divider 5 Summing Up

It’s not uncommon to be in a hurry and forget your keys in the car. Thankfully, there are different tactics you can use to open the car door and get your keys. As described above, you can use a shoelace or a coat hanger for older car models. Most of these models didn’t have the complex lock mechanisms available today.

As for newer models, you need more sophisticated tactics. See if your local dealership or car security provider can help. They can remotely open your doors but make sure you have all the details they need at hand.

You could also use a bump key to pick the lock, and if all fails, forcibly enter the car. Once you get your keys, hopefully, another incident like this does not repeat itself!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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