What to Do If You Lock Your Keys in the Car

These genius tricks will come in handy the next time you accidentally lock your keys in the car.

Each year, millions of drivers lock their keys in their cars – and now you’re one of them. Fortunately, newer cars make it much harder to do this, but if you find yourself standing outside your locked car with your keys in the cup holder, these tricks can save the day.

Find out how to unlock a car door without your keys with these simple (and cheap!) methods before sending out your “locked keys in car” SOS text. Here are car safety features, secret uses for your key fob, instructions on how to change the battery in a key fob, and car gadgets to help you drive better.

What do I do if I locked my keys in the car?

According to Mark Takahashi, senior reviews editor at Edmunds, it’s getting harder and harder for consumers to lock themselves out of their cars. “The idea of locking your car keys is becoming a thing of the past,” Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader, agrees. Depending on the urgency of the situation, Moody recommends calling a locksmith, roadside assistance service, or the police if you are locked out.

Will the police unlock your car for free?

In an emergency situation, such as if a child or animal is locked inside a car, call 911 immediately and let them know your vehicle’s make and model and where you are. The police and fire department will arrive more quickly than a locksmith or roadside assistance.

Moody says the police often break windows or use thin metal devices to unlock doors without keys. They won’t charge you for the service, but you should only call them in an emergency, and you’ll have to pay to fix the damage. Here’s how to prepare for every common roadside emergency so you won’t have to call the police.

Does AAA unlock your car?

Moody says roadside assistance providers such as AAA can come in handy when you’ve locked your keys in the car. In addition to 24/7 service, AAA members receive a free lockout per year up to a fixed cost, depending on their membership level.

In this situation, call AAA and let them know your location, the make and model of your vehicle, and your membership number. If you don’t have a membership or you get locked out repeatedly, you will have to pay out of pocket if a professional takes a half hour or more to arrive.

How do you unlock your car with keys inside?

Would you like to avoid an expensive call to a locksmith or roadside assistance professional? As long as you are patient and good with tools, you can unlock your car without keys using several cheaper tricks. Here’s how to get your keys out of a locked car without a locksmith. Try these simple methods to prevent losing your keys (or anything else) in the future.

How do you unlock a car with a cell phone?

With a growing number of smartphone apps for cars, you can unlock your car without breaking the bank. Apple and Android apps allow drivers to control their cars without keys in many new vehicles. Users can lock, unlock, and start their cars remotely using the apps, which turn smartphones into second key fobs.

Takahashi says the key is to pair your car key with the app before you lock yourself out. For the next time your keys get locked in your car, download the manufacturer’s app for Hyundai, GM/Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Ford, or Honda models. You might not be aware of these hidden features in your car.

How do you unlock a car with a shoelace?

If you have an older car with manual locks and you’re wearing shoes with shoelaces, you might not need roadside assistance. Create a loop the size of your index finger by tying a slipknot in the middle of the shoelace.

Wiggle the shoelace around the right corner of the driver’s side door until the slip knot is inside the seam. Move the shoelace back and forth like you’re flossing a giant tooth while holding it with both hands. In this way, the slip knot will be shifted toward the car door lock and further down the window. 

The loop should be carefully maneuvered over the lock, then tightened by pulling the ends of the string. You can unlock the car door by gently pulling up on the lock when you are sure you have a good grip on it. It’s done! Congratulations! You’re in! As an alternative to shoelaces, you can use a sturdy piece of string. Don’t leave home without these road trip essentials or these other must-haves.

How do you unlock a car with a hanger?

The coat hanger method is classic; you’ve probably seen it in a few movies. In the same way as the shoelace trick, this method only works on older vehicles with manual locks. The only tools you’ll need are pliers and a thin wire coat hanger.

Laura Gonzales, a marketing manager at Audi Bellevue, recommends unraveling the coat hanger with pliers so you have one side hooked and one straight. “You’ll slide the coat hanger between the window and the weather stripping.”. When the hook is below the window, you can start fishing for the control arm. Pull up with the hook, and your door will open.” FYI, that’s not the only secret your locksmith won’t tell you.

How do you unlock a car with a bobby pin?

You can try this old-school trick on a manual car lock if you only have bobby pins and time. The first pin should be bent at a 90-degree angle, and the second pin should be slightly bent at one of its tips. Stick the bent side of the first pin into the lock and the straight side of the second pin into the lock.

As you hold the first pin still, move the second one around inside the lock until it clicks open. You could damage your car if you perform this trick incorrectly. The best thing you can do if you’re worried about damage is to consult a professional. You’ll also be blown away by these 99 other uses for everyday household items.

How do you unlock a car with a wedge?

Invest in an automotive toolkit with a curved or inflatable window wedge if you want to unlock a car without keys. You should be aware that using a wedge to unlock a car can be a little tricky, warns Bill Evans, manager of J&E Auto Body in Clark, New Jersey.

Push the wedge into the door frame to hold it out after pulling the top of the door frame out with a pry tool. Push the unlock button using a long, skinny rod (it could even be a coat hanger). Tow truck drivers and triple A drivers usually do it this way, and that’s also how we do it.” It works for both old and new cars.

However, there is a downside. “Even experienced people will scratch the paint or tear the weather stripping during this process,” Evans says. “After using a wedge, you may have to see a body shop to realign the top of the door frame. Make sure the repair costs are worth it before using a wedge to unlock your car.”

What to do before locking yourself out

If you have regularly locked your keys in your car, you can take certain precautions to save time, money, and hassle in the future. Moody suggests getting a roadside assistance plan, while Takahashi suggests downloading your car manufacturer’s app. A spare key can also be kept in a convenient place, such as a small magnetic safe underneath the vehicle.

It is possible for car thieves to easily access your vehicle if you attach extra keys to easily accessible locations. In contrast, a magnetic key vault protects your key with a code, so only you can access it. It is also possible for your car to become a target for thieves if you make these mistakes.

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