Drivers of all ages know that sickening feeling that arises when you realize, just seconds too late, that you’ve locked your car with the keys still inside. When such a situation occurs, you may feel that your only choice is to call on the services of a professional and sit tight until help arrives. However, whether your vehicle has a manual or automatic locking system, you can actually use one of several methods to open your car on your own. Let’s take a look at four possible ways of getting the job done with as little fuss and hassle as possible.
1) Use Your Shoelace
If your shoes have laces, you may have a quick and easy way to unlock a car with a manual locking system (that is, as long as the lock stem has a knobbed top). Start by taking off your lace and making an adjustable knot called a slipknot near one end. Next, with two hands, gradually wedge the length of the lace into the top corner of a doorframe and work it downward with a sliding back-and-forth motion. While performing this maneuver, pass the knot through the doorframe gap. Once the knot is low enough, slip it under the knob of the lock stem. Pull the knot tight, then yank upward to unlock the door.
2) Use a Coat Hanger
If you have a car with manual locks, you can also try to unlock it with the help of a metal coat hanger. (Beware: Use of this method on a newer car with automatic locks can lead to serious wiring damage.) Start by straightening out a metal coat hanger; however, make sure to leave the hook at the top intact. Next, pull back the weather stripping at the bottom of your car window and insert the looped end of the hanger down inside the body of the door. Jiggle the hanger around in the area of the door’s locking mechanism, which is usually about half a foot from the rear edge near the door handle. When it catches the mechanism, pull up until the door unlocks.
3) Use a Hanger with a Door Wedge
This method works for both manual and automatic locking systems. Start by finding something to slightly wedge open the top corner of your car door. Potential options include everything from a ruler or a putty knife to an inflatable blood pressure cuff. Once you’ve created a sufficient opening, slide a straightened metal hanger down into the car’s interior. If you’re trying to unlock a car with manual locks, leave a loop on the end to catch the door knob or interior door handle. If you’re trying to access an automatic lock, make a tighter loop or hook on the end of the hanger and press down on the lock button on the door panel.
4) Climb In Through Your Trunk
In many modern cars, it’s possible to lock your doors while leaving your trunk or hatch unlocked. An unlocked hatch makes it extremely easy to climb in from the rear and access the interior of your vehicle. It’s a little harder to gain access through an unlocked trunk, but you can do it. Just look for an emergency cord mounted on the back of your rear seats. When you give this cord a yank, it should pitch your seats forward into the car’s cabin, providing you sufficient room to climb in and either grab your keys or unlock the nearest car door.
If you can’t get your car doors unlocked, you can always call on the services of a qualified towing expert in your area like those at NK Towing. In a best-case scenario, this professional will be able to help you unlock a door or otherwise access your keys. In a worst-case scenario, you can have your vehicle towed to a business where you can get specialized help in unlocking your particular make and model of car, truck or SUV.