Auto Service World
News   May 8, 2023   by Auto Service World Staff

Car Lockout 101: 5 Tips And Tricks

Experiencing a car lockout can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient, especially when you’re in a hurry or stuck in an unfamiliar area. However, there are several techniques that can help you regain access to your car without causing any damage. This article discusses various tips and tricks to unlock your car during a lockout, as well as precautionary measures to prevent such situations in the future.

1. Call A Professional Locksmith First 

When faced with a car lockout, the safest and most reliable course of action is to call a professional locksmith right away. They have the necessary tools, expertise, and experience to safely unlock your car without causing any damage. Locksmith Plus Inc. Portland Oregon Locksmith is among the reliable locksmiths that offer 24/7 emergency assistance for car lockouts and other locksmith needs.

2. Utilize A Spare Key 

The next easiest solution to a car lockout is to use a spare key if you have one available. Simply use it to unlock your car and retrieve your main set of keys. It’s a good idea to keep a spare key in a safe and accessible place, such as at home or with a trusted friend or family member. This way, you can quickly and easily regain access to your car in case of a lockout.

If you don’t have a spare key, consider getting one made as a precautionary measure. Most car dealerships and professional locksmiths can create duplicate keys for your vehicle, sometimes even on the spot. Be sure to store your spare key in a secure location to avoid further lockout situations. 

3. Use A Slim Jim

A Slim Jim is a thin, flat strip of metal commonly used by locksmiths and emergency personnel to unlock car doors. This tool can be inserted between the car window and the door frame to manipulate the lock mechanism inside. However, using a Slim Jim requires some skill and knowledge of your car’s lock system to avoid causing any damage. 

Before attempting to use a Slim Jim, consult your car’s owner manual or search online for information on your vehicle’s specific lock mechanism. Remember that using a Slim Jim may not be suitable for all car models, especially those with modern electronic lock systems. Exercise caution when using this tool, as improper use can damage your car’s window or door components. 

4. Unlock With A Coat Hanger

In the absence of a Slim Jim, a coat hanger can serve as a makeshift tool to unlock your car door. To do this, straighten out the coat hanger, leaving a small hook at one end. Carefully insert the hooked end between the window and door frame, and then maneuver it to catch the lock mechanism inside. Gently pull the hanger to unlock the door. 

This method may require some patience and trial and error, and it might not work for all car models. Be cautious when using a coat hanger, as it can scratch your car’s paint or damage the window seals if not handled carefully. 

5. Employ A Wedge And Long-Reach Tool

Another method for unlocking your car during a lockout is using a wedge and a long-reach tool. A wedge can be made of plastic, rubber, or even wood, and it’s used to create a small gap between the car door and the window frame. This gap allows you to insert a long-reach tool, such as a dedicated car unlocking tool or a long, thin rod, to manipulate the car’s lock mechanism or press the unlock button.

Again, like with the previous tips, keep in mind that this method may not work for all car models, especially those with advanced security features. Be cautious when attempting this method, as improper use of the wedge or long-reach tool can cause damage to your car’s window, door components, or paint.


Prevent Future Lockouts

To avoid experiencing car lockouts in the future, consider implementing the following precautions: 

1. Keep A Spare Key: As mentioned earlier, having a spare key stored in a safe place can save you time and stress during a lockout. Make sure to have a spare key made and stored securely. 

2. Use Keyless Entry Systems: Many modern cars come equipped with keyless entry systems, which can help prevent lockouts by allowing you to unlock your car using a remote or smartphone app. If your car doesn’t have a keyless entry system, you can have one installed by a professional. 

3. Develop A Routine: Get into the habit of always checking for your keys before exiting your car. This simple routine can help you avoid accidentally leaving your keys inside the vehicle. You can also attach a brightly colored keychain to your keys, making them more noticeable and harder to forget. 

4. Store Emergency Contact Information: Keep the contact information of a trusted locksmith or roadside assistance service in your phone or wallet. This way, you’ll be prepared in case of a lockout and won’t have to waste time searching for a reliable service provider. 

5. Maintain Your Car’s Locking System: Regularly check your car’s door locks and key fobs for signs of wear or damage. Address any issues promptly to avoid unexpected lock failures that can lead to lockouts. 

6. Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings: Always be aware of where you place your keys, especially in unfamiliar locations. When traveling, avoid leaving your keys unattended or in easily accessible areas where they may be stolen or misplaced. 

7. Invest In A Key Locator: A key locator is a small device that attaches to your keychain and can be tracked using a smartphone app. This can be a helpful tool in locating misplaced keys and preventing lockouts.


Car lockouts can be stressful and inconvenient, but with the right knowledge and tools, you can regain access to your vehicle without causing any damage. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you’ll be better prepared to handle a car lockout situation and take preventative measures to avoid future incidents. Remember to always exercise caution when attempting to unlock your car, and don’t hesitate to call a professional locksmith if you’re unsure or unsuccessful in your attempts.

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *