person helping someone who locked their keys in the car

Locking yourself out of your car is both humiliating and inconvenient. Realizing that you locked keys in your car typically leads to an uncontrollable burst of anger followed by the question, “what do I do next?”

You can’t really control the frustration part, but you can certainly be prepared for a time when it happens to you. We’re going to discuss some of the most effective ways to get into your car when you’ve locked yourself out.

The difficulty of getting back in will depend on the supplies you have, the model of your car, and how determined you are to do it yourself. Hopefully, some of our tips will apply to you and your vehicle.

Let’s get started:

Locked Keys in Your Car: What to Do Next

Figuring out what to do in such a stressful time is extremely difficult if you haven’t prepared. A lot of people try to hide a key somewhere on the exterior of their vehicle

This is an option that will certainly work until someone else finds the key and steals your car along with everything in it. It seems like a great idea until it doesn’t.

If you still plan to hide a key somewhere on your car, make sure you are extremely stealthy and don’t place it anywhere that could be seen or cause the key to fall off while you’re driving.

With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the ways to effectively “break” into your own car.

Opening Older Vehicles

Older vehicles with straightforward manual locks are the easiest to get back into. The most tried and true, time-tested way to break into an old vehicle is with a coat hanger.

If you can get your hands on a coat hanger, cloth, and prying device in your time of need, here’s what to do:

1. Straighten the Hanger

First, untangle any wrappings that the wire hanger has in it. Typically, the top is twisted around itself and the bottom is curved into a sort of triangle.

Straighten out the entire object, the turn the end into a sort of “V.” Bend the end around 3 inches in, moving it more than 90 degrees and less than 150.

2. Pry and Prop

Next, you’ll have to get something to pry the top of your door open with. You only have to open it a little bit, so a lot of objects could be of use in this situation. The most effective object has proven to be a paint scraper.

Many people use a crowbar, but you don’t want to have the policed called on you. Something about a crowbar just makes the whole operation seem like theft to outsiders.

So, take your paint scraper(or whatever you can find), and pry the top of your door open enough to stuff a folded cloth (or T-shirt, or any fabric) into the space between the door and the frame.

This will serve as a prob for the door as you jimmie around with the coat hanger in the next step.

3. Insert the Hanger

Next, slide your hanger into the open space with the “V” shape you created pointing down.

At this point, it’s important to make a distinction about your vehicle. Your older vehicle will either have a locking post or require that you press down upon a button. A locking post is simply the little stick that pops up or down next to your window when you lock and unlock the vehicle.

In the case of the locking post, situate the post in the center of the angle of your hanger. Make sure that you can pull up on the hanger and have the lock post come up as well as a result of the pressure of the angle.

In the case of the lock button, you may want to add tape or a rubber band to the tip of the hanger. This is because hangers can often slide off of the plastic of the button, making the process very frustrating. Adding some kind of tip can help to make pressing the button go more smoothly.

Unlocking Newer Vehicles

Newer cars have more sophisticated security systems. This makes the process much more difficult, and you should try to unlock your car with extreme care.

You may be able to unlock your newer vehicle in the way listed above. Before you do so, try unlocking it at your house with the same method. Keep your keys in your hand in case the alarm goes off as you’re practicing.

The last thing you want to do is try to unlock your car while the alarm is going off in public. If the above method doesn’t work, try some of the following options.

Who to Call to Get Back in

The unfortunate truth is that you might have to wait for a locksmith to make their way down to you. Don’t worry too much, though, because locksmiths tend to be quick and effective, sending you on your way in a reasonable amount of time.

The odds are that you don’t have all of the equipment you need to unlock your car, and trying to hunt down random objects could very well lead to a scratch or break in a component of your car.

Calling a locksmith is the better alternative to calling the police. Police tend not to respond to lockout situations unless there is an immediate threat of danger. If you’re in danger, though, the best option is to call the police.

If you’re concerned about costs and access, you should consider signing up with a service like AAA that gives you access to tow companies, locksmiths, gas assistance, and more. You might just need to pay a monthly fee, but you’ll have access to those services for close to nothing as a result.

Stay Prepared, Be Careful

The most important thing you can do when you’ve locked keys in your car is to stay safe. Don’t stand near a highway and fuss with a hanger if it will put you in danger. Additionally, don’t rush the process, because your window or frame could break and cause you harm.

Sometimes we need a little help, and that’s okay. Explore our site for more helpful information to keep your life moving smoothly.