Locked Your Key In The Car? Follow These Easy Steps To Retrieve It


What to do when your keys are locked in the car

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It's happened to all of us at one point or another; you walk up to your Chevy Malibu after a nice dinner or with your arms full of groceries, you check your pocket for your key, getting more frantic by the second, only to realize you've locked your key in the car and are now stranded in a parking lot. It is definitely one of the worst feelings, that sickening combination of foolishness and helplessness. However, this guide on what to do when your keys are locked in the car exists because enough people make this mistake to warrant it, so don't feel too bad.

Many modern cars typically come with keyless entry in some form or another. Often, this includes remotes, or a paired app on your smart device like those found in the newest electric cars. This lets you unlock the vehicle without needing a key at all. But, if you have an older model or the maker hasn't included this feature as part of the standard installation, never fear - there is no such thing as a hopeless situation. A little bit of foresight or some street smarts can get you out of this tricky situation. First things first, take a deep breath, then try out this list of tips and suggestions.

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Who to Call for Help if Your Keys are Locked in the Car

Before you risk getting your hands dirty or drawing unwanted attention to yourself, there are a few different, less drastic, measures you can take to gain access to your car. In most cases, this revolves around calling for help. Assuming you were fortunate enough not to lock your mobile in the car, there are some people you can dial up.

  • Family or friends - You should have a spare key for your car, usually safely tucked away at home. Call a family member or friend to bring it over.
  • Roadside assistance - It's a story they've heard countless times, so don't feel shy to call them. Most service providers in the USA should include this as part of their package.
  • A locksmith - Yet another professional who will have the tools needed and won't be surprised when you say, "My keys are locked in my car."
  • Police or emergency services - This should only be a viable option if you have also locked a child or animal inside the car. In either situation, they should be your first call if it is a hot day or there is a risk of dehydration or injury to the occupants.

How to Unlock Your Car Door Without a Key

As mentioned, there may be times when calling for help isn't an option. Still, taking matters into your own hands should always be a last resort as there are always risks involved. Keep firmly in mind that your insurance provider will be unlikely to cover the cost of damages you cause in the process. That said, here are some of the DIY methods on how to get your keys out of a locked car:

  • Use a coat hanger: This is rather situational. Firstly, you will need a wire coat hanger, and secondly, a pop-up door lock like those on the old-school Chevrolet Spark. Simply straighten out the hanger and insert it into the door between the window and the rubber seal. Angle it downwards until you can hook the pin and pull it up to unlock. This can, potentially, be done using a shoelace as well, but this is much more involved.
  • Wedge the door open: A higher risk method would be to use something like a screwdriver or letter opener to wedge the door open. This creates more room and you may be able to insert a rod to interact with the locking system.
  • Pick the locks: Aside from the fact that it will look like you're trying to steal the car, this requires special tools and proficiency in the art of lockpicking. Then again, every other method could easily be misconstrued as car theft, so have at it. Alternatively, some people claim that you can pop the locking mechanism open using a tennis ball. All you have to do is cut a small hole in it then place it over the keyhole. Simply, squeeze, and the rush of high-pressure air might pop the lock - this seems like a long-shot, though, and is much less likely to work on newer car models.
  • Break the window: This is an absolute last resort! You should never do this if there are children or pets inside, as the shattered glass could cause them injury. Call emergency services and wait. However, if you don't have to worry about this, but you are concerned with your own safety, you can try breaking a window. Be sure to wrap your hand and arm in something for protection, a towel from the trunk or even a jacket should suffice. Apart from the potential risks this involves, you'll need a replacement window after, so it could be costly.

At the end of the day, you'd be best served calling for professional help from a locksmith or roadside assistance. Even a towing company may have the tools and expertise to open your car without causing damage. This peace of mind is well worth the price. Just be sure to explain beforehand what your situation is, so that they know which tools to bring with them.

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Car Door don't Open Pexels.com


Should I try to get my keys out of a locked car myself?

Ideally, no, you should not try to gain entry yourself. Apart from the risk you run of damaging the vehicle, you may be mistaken for a car thief, which could lead to an awkward conversation with law enforcement if someone spots you.

How much does it cost to get your keys out of a locked car?

If you have roadside assistance, then you can call them for help if you've locked your keys in your car, and you won't need to worry about additional costs. However, a locksmith will charge you. The price varies from around $50 to $100 for a callout, going up to $150 to $250 when working after hours.

Will the police unlock your car for free?

The police do not unlock cars for anyone as a general rule, for free or otherwise. However, if there is an emergency, such as a pet or child trapped inside the vehicle, they will either pick the lock, if they have the tools, or safely break the window. Though free, it may cost you in the long run.

Will AAA unlock my car?

You are definitely free to call AAA to unlock your car for you, and they will send a technician to assist you anywhere in the US. If they are unable to do so on site, they will tow your vehicle to an accredited service station.

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