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What to Do if You’re Locked Out of Your Car

Image via Flickr by walknboston

Image via Flickr by walknboston

There’s no mistaking that sinking feeling you get the moment you realize you’ve locked the keys inside your car. It’s a major inconvenience and can cost you money if you have to call in a professional for help. Before you take that step, here are several options that may help you unlock the door yourself.

Follow the Obvious Steps

Think about whether you have a spare key someplace that’s accessible. Consider whether a friend or family member who also has a key to your vehicle can bring it by. Check to make sure all doors are, in fact, locked. If you’re lucky, you might find a back door that isn’t.

Take Off a Shoe

It may sound silly, but this simple trick can work for cars with a locking mechanism that pulls up. Remove a tennis shoe and pull out the shoestring. In the middle of the string, tie a loop that’s slightly bigger than the lock. Grasp the string at both ends and pull it taut. Slide it in between the door and the car so that the shoestring drops inside the vehicle. Drop the loop over the pull-up lock. Pull the ends of the string to tighten the loop. Then, pull up.

Grab a Coat Hanger and Blood Pressure Cuff

Admittedly, this one may require you to visit a nearby pharmacy. On the top right corner of the driver’s side window, use your finger to hook on to the top of the glass. Pull it down to create an opening that’s at least a quarter of an inch wide.

Insert a blood pressure cuff into the opening and remove your finger. Squeeze the bulb to inflate the cuff. Once you have a one-inch opening, unwind a wire hanger to create a long, skinny stick. Use the hanger to retrieve the keys or unlock the door.

Enter Through the Trunk

If you lock the doors but have the trunk open, you may be able to move the backseat. Doing so may provide enough room for someone to crawl into the car’s cabin and unlock the doors.

Use a Screwdriver and Metal Rod

This method may damage your car, so be careful. Insert the screwdriver at the top of the passenger side door, between the door and car. Pull until the door separates from the car body, and insert the metal rod. Use it to push the automatic lock button.

Know When to Get Outside Help

if you lock the keys in the car with a baby or small child inside, call emergency responders. Likewise, if you’re locked outside in dangerous weather, call a tow truck or the police.

In some cases, the design of the car makes a do-it-yourself job impossible. If your car features recessed locks, almost no amount of creative engineering will allow you to access them from the outside. Prevent the need to take extraordinary measures by putting an extra key inside a magnetic box that stays underneath your car.