a key accidentally left inside a locked car

How to get your keys out of a locked car

Unlocking your car door without damaging it

Hire an auto locksmith

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Did you unintentionally lock your keys inside your car? It’s a vexing situation, particularly when you have to be somewhere ASAP. But worry not. This article will guide you on how to retrieve your keys from a locked car and provide tips on how to prevent such a predicament in the future.

How to open a car door without keys

Some of the methods shared in this guide seem extreme, but others can be done with minimal force and pressure, reducing the risk of damaging your car.

1. Check for unlocked entry points

a person holding a car door handle
Slightly opened car doors and windows sure come in handy when you get yourself locked out of your car. Go around the vehicle and check for any unlocked entry points you can penetrate. These could be your ticket to having access to your car without causing any damage. If you find unlocked doors or windows, open them carefully to retrieve your keys.

2. Use a wire or string

One of the oldest tricks in the book when you’re in a lockout situation is using a wire or string. In this case, you may use twine, fishing lines, or any type of string or wire that is slim and long enough to be hooked on the car’s lock. 

To make this work, you need to make a loop in the middle of the string, hook it between the weather stripping and window glass, and pull the lock. With a bit of patience and finesse, this technique can be one of the least intrusive ways to unlock a car without keys. However, it only works on manual cars.

3. Use your smartphone

a car owner using a smartphone
Due to the increasing number of car applications for smartphones, it is now possible for you to unlock your car without requiring physical keys. If you have one of those cars with a built-in keyless entry system, retrieving your keys inside shouldn’t be that complicated. All you need to do is download the app on your phone.

4. Use a bobby pin

This might sound simple, but using a bobby pin is considered one of the best hacks to get into a locked car. For this old-school trick, bend the pin into a V shape. Then, remove the rubber ends of the pin and insert it directly into the lock. At this point, you must make the right movement to avoid damaging your car. If done correctly, you’ll hear a faint clicking sound, signaling that the car door has already been unlocked. 

5. Contact a friend or a family member

If you have a spare key in your house, you may seek help from a roommate or family member who lives with you. This is another way to gain access to your car without requiring you to force your way in or perform out-of-the-box hacks. This might take a while, especially if you live in a faraway location, but it can be a great option if you’re not in a rush. 

6. Seek help from an auto locksmith

a locksmith unlocking a car door
If the solutions above don’t work for you, a professional auto locksmith can save the day. Locksmiths are trained to open locked cars without causing damage. While they cost more than your usual DIY solution, they offer professional services to help you get back on the road quickly.

Auto locksmiths can also teach you how to prevent getting locked out of your own car. If you accidentally lock your keys inside your car and don’t know what to do, it always pays to turn to experts. 

What not to do when locked out of your car

While feeling anxious after finding out you’re locked out of your car is understandable, the best thing you can do is remain calm and patient. Being in a panic mode will not help you think of possible solutions to retrieve your keys inside. As they say, do not let frustration prevent you from thinking clearly. 

Another huge mistake some car owners make is breaking their windows to regain vehicle access. Unless you have a lot of money to spend on repairs, smashing your windows will only add more problems to your day. You might also hurt yourself in the process.

How to avoid being locked out of your car

  • Always lock the door from the outside.

  • Always bring a set of spare keys.

  • Use your key fob at all times.

  • Make it a habit to check your keys before leaving your car.

  • If available, use a smart lock application on your phone.

Unlock your car easily with Airtasker

a person holding an unlocked car door
And there you have it! These are some of the best ways to get into a locked car, even if your keys are still inside. While trying the DIY methods can be cheaper and more rewarding, calling a professional auto locksmith is a good option.

Airtasker can connect you with experts who can help with various tasks, whether you need to unlock your car without a key or schedule auto electrician services. Simply post a task and wait for qualified auto locksmiths to submit offers. You can then review them and choose the Tasker who best meets your needs.

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FAQs on retrieving keys from a locked car

No. Supposedly, the air pressure generated by a tennis ball can create a shockwave powerful enough to unlock a car door. However, in practical terms, the air pressure simply isn’t strong enough to bypass a car lock’s security mechanisms.

You’ll need a pair of pliers to unlock a car door with this method. Start by reshaping the wire hanger into a hook using the pliers. Then, slide the hook through the upper corner of the car door, close to the lock. Maneuver the hook inside the door until you sense the release of the lock. To finish, give the hook a swift pull. 

Try to access the trunk from the inside by reaching through the back seat, if possible. Attempt to use your remote key fob to unlock the trunk, if you have one. If neither of these options is available or successful, your best course of action is to contact a locksmith or roadside assistance service.

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