Locked Keys in the Car: Learn – Here’s Our Guide to What You Can Do

Locked Keys in the Car: Learn - Here's Our Guide to What You Can Do

Being locked out of your car is an experience that can range from mildly inconvenient to downright stressful. This scenario can occur at the most unexpected times, making it essential to know some unique and effective strategies for regaining access to your vehicle. Here are some inventive methods and tips to help you handle such situations with ease and confidence.

1. The Classic Coat Hanger Trick

One of the most well-known methods involves using a wire coat hanger. This trick is particularly useful for older cars with manual locks. Here’s how to do it:

  • Straighten the Hanger: Untwist the coat hanger and straighten it as much as possible.
  • Create a Hook: Bend one end into a small hook.
  • Insert into the Door Frame: Slide the hooked end between the window and the weather stripping of the door.
  • Catch the Lock: Maneuver the hook to catch the lock mechanism inside the door and pull it up.

2. Shoelace Method

This technique works best for cars with horizontal locks. If you find yourself locked out with no tools around, your shoelace might save the day.

  • Remove a Shoelace: Take off one of your shoelaces.
  • Tie a Loop: Make a small loop in the middle of the shoelace.
  • Wiggle it into Place: Wiggle the shoelace into the door frame, using a sawing motion to get it past the weather stripping.
  • Catch and Pull: Once the loop is inside, position it around the lock button, tighten it, and pull upwards.

3. Using a Slim Jim

A Slim Jim is a specialized tool designed for unlocking car doors. If you have access to one, it can be very effective.

  • Insert the Slim Jim: Slide the Slim Jim between the window and the weather stripping.
  • Locate the Lock Rod: Use the tool to locate and hook the lock rod inside the door.
  • Unlock the Door: Pull the rod to unlock the door.

4. Call a Professional Locksmith

If DIY methods fail, calling a professional locksmith is a reliable option. They have the expertise and tools to unlock your car without causing damage. It’s especially useful for newer cars with advanced security systems.

5. Use a Wedge and a Rod

This method requires a wedge (like a door stop) and a long rod or stick.

  • Create a Gap: Insert the wedge into the top corner of the door to create a small gap.
  • Insert the Rod: Slide the rod through the gap and use it to press the unlock button or manipulate the lock mechanism.

6. Keyless Entry Systems

For those with modern cars equipped with keyless entry systems, there are some high-tech solutions:

  • Remote Unlock Services: Some car manufacturers offer remote unlocking services through their apps or customer service.
  • Spare Key Fob: Keep a spare key fob at home or with a trusted friend.

7. Preventive Measures

Preventing a lockout can save you time and stress. Here are some tips:

  • Hide a Spare Key: Use a magnetic key box to hide a spare key under your car.
  • Routine Checks: Always double-check that you have your keys before locking your car.
  • Key Replacement: Consider getting a spare key made and keeping it in a safe place.

8. Emergency Kits

Having an emergency kit in your car can be incredibly helpful. Include items like a coat hanger, shoelace, wedge, and rod. Being prepared can turn a frustrating situation into a manageable one.


Getting locked out of your car is never fun, but with the right strategies and a calm approach, you can resolve the situation quickly. Whether you use a classic coat hanger, a professional locksmith, or a high-tech solution, being prepared is key. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so take steps to avoid lockouts in the first place.