Got your keys inside your car? Here’s what you should do

luxury car keys
(© Moose

Drivers locking their keys inside their cars is not news. Millions of drivers accidentally lock their keys in their cars each year, and now, you are a part of that number. Newer cars have more safety features that protect the car from being opened. But, in case you find yourself looking at your car keys from outside your vehicle, then there are some things that you can do to retrieve your keys.

What should I do if I lock my keys in my car?

Recent car models already have safety features that prevent this type of accident. For example, newer models don’t automatically lock their doors when they detect that your car keys are left inside.

Unfortunately, old models don’t have the same privilege. If you lock your keys in your car, you can call a locksmith, roadside assistance, or the police depending on the situation’s urgency.

The first thing you should do when you lock your keys inside your car is to check all the doors. You may have left one door open before you left your car. You can also look for a back latch in the trunk to use so that you don’t have to use intrusive methods for opening your car.

Should I call the police first?

It would be best to leave calling the police as a last resort if you can’t contact any locksmith nearby and the situation is not that urgent. However, if you leave a child or animal locked inside, immediately call for help.

The police or the fire department will arrive faster than a locksmith or roadside assistance. But, do know that emergency services will resort to breaking your windows or using a pick to unlock your door to open it. You can also call the police to lessen suspicion when people think you are breaking into your car.

Emergency services won’t charge you for opening your door, but you will have to pay for the repairs on your car if they resort to breaking your windows.

How can I unlock my car with the keys inside?

There are different DIY methods that you can try if you don’t want to pay for an expensive locksmith or when your other options are not viable. Remember that breaking into your car is always a bad idea unless it’s an emergency. There are other methods that you can peacefully try for your car to open:

  • This method can work on older cars. First, do a slipknot in the middle of the shoelace and create a loop the size of your index finger. Next, wiggle the shoelace around the right corner of the door on the driver’s side until the knot goes inside the seam. Next, hold both ends of the shoelace with each hand and move it in a flossing motion. It will slip the knot further down until you reach the door lock. After you have maneuvered the loop into the knot, carefully pull both ends of the string and pull it up to unlock the door.
  • The hanger is a classic method for opening up locked cars. Like the shoelace technique, this will only work with manual locks. What you need are a thin wire hanger and pliers. Use the pliers to untwist the hanger, so you have one side hooked and another side straight. Slide the coat hanger carefully between the window and the weather stripping. Fish around for the control arm once you get the hook below the window. When you feel it, hook the hanger and pull it up. The door will open instantly.
  • Bobby pins. In some circumstances, you might not have the luxury of resources. As you must know, bobby pins are also an old-school trick on opening a manual car lock. Bend one bobby pin at a 90-degree angle. Get another bobby pin and pull it apart. Slightly bend the tip of the second pin. Stick the bend side of the first pin into the lock and put the second pin straight into the lock. While holding the first pin, move the second one around inside the lock until you hear it click open. Just be careful with this technique because it can potentially damage your car if you do it the wrong way. But, if you don’t want to risk your car getting damaged, you can always wait for a locksmith or professionals that can open your car door for you.
  • There are automotive toolkits that have an inflatable or bowed window wedge. However, using a wedge to unlock a car can be difficult. Pull the top part of the door frame using a pry tool. While doing so, push the edge in to support out the door frame. Using a long, thin rod, push the button to unlock the door. A downside to this is that your car will surely get scratched, or the weatherstripping will tear during the process. If you end up using this technique, you may want to see an automotive shop to realign the top of your door frame since you might have bent the body using the wedge. Pro tip: make sure the the repair cost is worth wedging your car.

What to do if it’s not your first time locking your keys inside your car

When locking your keys inside your car has become a regular occurrence for you, you should take precautions to avoid more of these types of incidents.

Automotive locksmiths suggest downloading your car manufacturer’s app on your phone when you have a newer model. You can also get a roadside assistance plan to get ahold of help whenever you need it easily.

Another tip: keep a spare key in a small magnetic safe under your car. However, use caution as it can cause your vehicle to be an easy target for car thieves. You can also use a magnetic key vault that a code can only access. Again, use this with caution as it can easily be pried open by thieves.


Remember to check for any open doors first in the unfortunate incident that you lock your car. It would save you a lot of trouble when attempting to pry or pick your door open, and it turns out that a door was already open.

But, if help is easily accessible, it would be best to ask assistance first so that you don’t risk damaging your car or you don’t get suspected of breaking into your vehicle.

augusta free press
augusta free press