What To Do When You Lock Your Keys in the Car

Locking car keys inside the car can be frustrating. However, there are several ways to retrieve them. This article will provide life-saver tips on what to do in this predicament.


Remain Calm and Assess the Situation 

When you lock your car keys, remaining calm helps you think clearly and assess the situation. Take a few deep breaths and evaluate the area where your car is parked to ensure that it is safe to stay there while you figure out a plan. Do not try to break into your car, as this could be dangerous, damage your vehicle, and may even void your insurance policy. Consider a friend or family nearby to see if they have a spare, functional key that you can use to get into your car.

Effective Tricks You Can Do 

If the above steps do not work, the following are effective tricks you can do:

Use a Slim Jim or Coat Hanger 

A slim jim is a thin metal strip used to unlock automobile doors. Its notch allows it to slide in between the window and weather stripping to unlock the door. Slide the slim jim in, press the release button, and your door should now be opened.

If you do not have a slim jim, use a coat hanger bent into a hook shape. Wrap any sharp edges with tape or cloth before attempting to use them to ensure you do not damage your car. Insert the hooked end of the hanger into the door and try to maneuver it around to find the control arm until it releases the lock.

Find a Wooden Wedge 

You can also use a wooden wedge if you do not have a slim jim or a coat hanger. This is an ideal solution if you have a slightly open car door. Insert the wedge into the top of the slightly open door, and then use a screwdriver or a metal bar to push down on the wedge until it creates enough space for you to unlock the door.

Use a Strip of Sturdy Plastic 

Plastic strips can be bent and slid into the door as a slim jim. This method is less reliable but sometimes works if you get the plastic strip in the right spot. It is a safe way to get into your car without risking any damage.

Use an Inflatable Wedge 

An inflatable wedge is a tool that can be used to create a gap between the car door and the frame. Insert the wedge between the door and frame, then inflate it until there is enough room to insert a tool to unlock the door. This is especially helpful if you have a slightly open window, as it can be used to create even more space.

Call for Roadside Assistance or Tow Truck 

Most auto insurance companies provide roadside assistance that can help you get back into your car. If you feel uncomfortable retrieving your keys, the best option is to call a tow truck or roadside assistance service. They can unlock your vehicle and replace any broken parts.

When dealing with roadside assistance, ask about the cost, as it may be more expensive than if you had just called a locksmith. When you call, it is also essential to have your car’s make, model, and year handy so that they can send the right specialist. Check if they are licensed and insured to ensure you get quality service.

Get an Extra Key

Having a spare key can prevent lockout situations in the future. To ensure you always have access to it, keep it in a safe place, such as your wallet or purse. You can also give a copy of the key to someone you trust.

However, when getting an extra key, it’s crucial to ensure that you get it from a reputable locksmith. The key must be compatible with your car’s ignition system, and it’s best to have the locksmith program the key to your car’s specific security system. This way, it will be harder for someone to duplicate the key without your knowledge.

Opt for Keyless Entry

Investing in a keyless entry is a convenient way to unlock your car without a physical key. You must press a button with a key fob, and your car will open automatically. This option is ideal for those who are always on the go and persons with disabilities with difficulty using keys.

Moreover, using a smart car key can save time and money. It lets you lock and unlock your car from a distance using your smartphone or other compatible devices. When you want to let other people into the car, smart car keys are also helpful, as you can give them temporary access without giving them a physical key.

Final Thoughts

A lockout can be a stressful experience, especially if it occurs in an obscure area or at night. However, several measures can help you retrieve your car keys and continue operating your vehicle safely. If you’re in a hurry to fix it, always remember that you can call a professional and reliable locksmith 24/7. Therefore, keep their contact information handy in case of an emergency. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Following these simple tips and precautions can save time, effort, and money in the long run.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.