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Most Common Locked Out of Car Situations and How to Handle Them

Common Reasons for Being Locked Out of a Car

Being locked out of your car is more than a minor inconvenience; it can disrupt your day and even put you in a vulnerable situation. This comprehensive guide explores the various scenarios where you might find yourself locked out of your car and provides detailed solutions to help you regain access. Whether you want to know how to get into your locked car or who to call when locked out of your car, this guide has you covered.

Every day, countless individuals find themselves locked out of their cars due to various reasons. Understanding these common situations and knowing how to respond can save you time, frustration, and money. If you ever find yourself in a locked car situation, remember to schedule a visit with 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services.

Losing or Misplacing the Keys

It’s easy to misplace car keys in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether left at home, work, or a public place, losing your keys is a stressful experience. Here’s what to do if locked out of your car due to lost keys:

  1. Check Your Surroundings: Before panicking, take a moment to thoroughly check your immediate surroundings.
  2. Call a Friend or Family Member: If you have a spare key at home, someone might be able to bring it to you.
  3. Contact a Locksmith: If the above solutions don’t work, calling a professional car locksmith like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services is the safest option.

Locking Keys Inside the Car

A common yet frustrating scenario is locking your keys inside the car. This can happen when you’re in a rush or distracted.

Here’s how to get in a locked car when the keys are inside:

  1. Check for Unlocked Doors or Windows: Sometimes, one of the doors or windows may be left slightly open, allowing you access.
  2. Call Roadside Assistance: If you have a membership with a roadside assistance program, they may provide lockout services.
  3. Utilize a Locksmith’s Services: As a last resort, contact a reputable locksmith like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services to assist you.

Key Breaking Inside the Lock

Keys can wear out and break, sometimes inside the lock itself. Here’s how to handle this situation:

  1. Don’t Attempt to Remove the Key Yourself: Trying to remove a broken key can further damage the lock.
  2. Call a Professional Locksmith: A locksmith like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services has specialized tools to safely remove the broken key and provide a replacement.

Understanding the Most Common Locked-Out-of-Car Scenarios

locked out of car 

Keys Locked Inside the Car

How does it happen? It’s a scene straight out of a movie – you step out of your vehicle, shut the door, and realize the keys are still inside. This common mishap can occur when you’re in a hurry, distracted, or simply not following your usual routine.

What to do if locked out of car in this situation?

  1. Check for Unlocked Doors: Sometimes, a back door or trunk may be unlocked, providing access to retrieve the keys.
  2. Call for Help: If you’re near friends or family, they may have a spare key or can assist you in other ways.
  3. Use a Professional Service: If all else fails, calling 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services ensures safe and efficient access to your vehicle.

Key Breaks in the Lock

How does it happen? Keys can break in the lock due to wear and tear or using excessive force. This situation can be more complex, as part of the key may remain inside the lock.

How to get in my locked car if the key is broken?

  1. Avoid Using Force: Trying to remove the broken piece yourself might cause further damage.
  2. Utilize Tools: If available, tools like pliers might help in carefully extracting the broken piece.
  3. Call a Professional Locksmith: When in doubt, calling a skilled locksmith like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services ensures proper handling of the situation without damaging the lock.

Malfunctioning Lock or Key Fob

How does it happen?

Electrical or mechanical failure can lead to a malfunctioning lock or key fob. Wear and tear, battery failure, or a system glitch can cause these issues.

What to do if locked out of car in this situation?

  1. Try Manual Unlocking: If the key fob fails, many cars have a manual key within the fob or a keyhole for manual unlocking.
  2. Replace the Battery: If the key fob battery is the issue, replacing it may solve the problem.
  3. Call 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services: In case of a more complex failure, professional assistance is the safest solution.

Accidentally locked out of Car with Child or Pet locked-in

How does it happen?

Children playing with keys or pets stepping on the lock button can accidentally lock themselves inside the car.

What to do if a child or pet is locked in the car?

  1. Remain Calm: Panicking will only add stress to an already stressful situation.
  2. Call Emergency Services if Necessary: If the situation appears dangerous, don’t hesitate to call emergency services.
  3. Utilize Spare Keys: If available, use any spare keys to unlock the vehicle.
  4. Call 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services: A professional locksmith can quickly and safely unlock the vehicle without causing damage.

Frozen Locks in Cold Weather

How does it happen?

Extreme cold can cause locks to freeze, making them inoperable.

How to unlock a frozen car lock?

  1. Use a De-Icer: Specialized products are designed to melt ice within locks.
  2. Warm the Key: Heating the key with a lighter or holding it in your hand can help melt the ice.
  3. Call a Locksmith: If DIY solutions fail, professional locksmith services like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services can handle the situation.

Dealing with High-Security Car Locks

How does it happen?

Modern cars often have advanced locking systems that can be tricky to deal with if something goes wrong.

How to handle a locked-out situation with high-security locks?

  1. Refer to the Owner’s Manual: Your manual might contain information on resolving minor issues.
  2. Call the Dealership: They may provide specific advice or services for your vehicle model.
  3. Contact 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services: For complex high-security locks, professional locksmiths with expertise in modern car technology are often the best solution.

Alternative Unlocking Methods

While there are various DIY methods and tools available online, they might lead to more significant problems if not handled correctly. It’s always safer to call a professional locksmith like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services.

DIY Lockout Solutions and Risks for Locked Keys in Car

Using a Slim Jim or Other Tools

How to Unlock Your Car with a Slim Jim:

  1. Find a Suitable Entry Point: Usually, the area between the window and the weather stripping.
  2. Insert the Slim Jim: Carefully slide the Slim Jim into the door.
  3. Locate the Locking Mechanism: Feel for the lever or rod that controls the lock.
  4. Manipulate the Lock: Gently pull or push on the mechanism to unlock the door.
  5. Remove the Tool Carefully: Once the lock is disengaged, carefully pull the Slim Jim out.


  • Slim Jims can damage wiring, airbags, or other sensitive components inside the door.
  • Using this tool without experience might lead to more significant problems.
  • In some jurisdictions, possession of a Slim Jim without proper licensure might be illegal.

How to Unlock Your Car Without a Key

Using a Wire Coat Hanger:

  1. Unwind the Hanger: Straighten the coat hanger but leave a hook at one end.
  2. Insert the Hook: Slide the hooked end between the window and the weather stripping.
  3. Find the Lock Button or Lever: Carefully guide the hook to the locking mechanism.
  4. Pull or Push to Unlock: Depending on the design, pull or push the lock to disengage it.
  5. Retrieve the Hanger: Carefully remove the hanger, avoiding any damage.

Using a Tennis Ball:

  1. Make a Hole in the Tennis Ball: Cut or puncture a hole in the tennis ball.
  2. Place the Ball over the Lock: Hold the ball over the car’s keyhole.
  3. Press Firmly: Apply firm pressure to force air into the lock, which might unlock it.

Note: The tennis ball method is widely disputed and may not work on modern vehicles.

Risks and Warnings of DIY Locked Keys in Car Methods

  1. Potential Damage: These methods can cause severe damage to the lock, wiring, or other internal components.
  2. Security Risks: If done incorrectly, these methods can compromise the car’s security system.
  3. Legal Issues: In some areas, using these tools or methods without proper authorization can be against the law.
  4. Safety Hazards: Incorrect usage can lead to personal injury or harm to others, especially if airbags are accidentally triggered.

Unconventional Methods for Dealing with Locked Keys in Cars

How to Get a Key Out of a Locked Car with Duct Tape

Getting a key out of a locked car with duct tape may seem like an odd solution, but it can be done. Here’s a general guide:

  1. Prepare the Tape: Cut a long strip of duct tape, making sure it’s long enough to reach the key inside the car through a window crack.
  2. Create a Handle: Fold the tape over at one end, leaving a sticky section exposed. This will be the part that attaches to the key.
  3. Insert the Tape: Carefully slide the sticky end of the tape through a slightly opened window or any available opening.
  4. Attach to the Key: Maneuver the tape to stick it to the key. This may take patience and precision.
  5. Retrieve the Key: Gently pull the tape, bringing the key towards the opening.
  6. Warnings: This method might not work for all situations and may even risk damaging the window or locking mechanism. Use it as a last resort.

Opening a Locked Door from the Outside

Another unconventional method is attempting to open a locked door from the outside. Note that this approach should be used with caution, as it may be illegal in some jurisdictions and may cause damage to the vehicle.

  1. Use a Slim Jim or Similar Tool: A Slim Jim or a coat hanger can sometimes be used to reach the internal locking mechanism.
  2. Insert the Tool: Carefully slide the tool into the space between the door and the car frame.
  3. Locate the Locking Mechanism: Feel around for the lever or rod that controls the lock.
  4. Manipulate the Lock: Once located, attempt to move the lock into the unlocked position.
  5. Exercise Caution: This method has a high risk of damaging the car’s seals, paint, or internal mechanisms.

Other Unconventional Methods for being Locked out of Car

Some other unconventional methods that might be attempted, although they come with significant risks, include:

  • Breaking a Window: This should only be considered in an absolute emergency, such as a child or pet locked inside on a hot day. It will cause significant damage and potential injury.
  • Using a Tennis Ball: Some people claim that creating a hole in a tennis ball, placing it over the keyhole, and applying pressure can unlock a car door. This method is largely debunked and unlikely to work but is mentioned for completeness.

Final Thoughts on DIY and Unconventional Locked Keys in Car Solutions

While DIY solutions can seem attractive, especially in an emergency, the potential risks and costs of damage usually outweigh the benefits. These methods should be used with caution and awareness of the possible consequences. Unconventional methods of unlocking a car can be intriguing but are often risky, potentially illegal, or damaging.

They should only be used in extreme circumstances and after careful consideration of the potential consequences. If in doubt, it is often wiser to call professional services like 24Hr Car Unlocking Emergency Roadside Services to handle the situation safely and professionally.

Seeking Professional Assistance with Locked Keys in Car Situations

Who to Call When Locked Out of Your Car

If you find yourself locked out of your car, it’s advisable to contact a professional locksmith or roadside assistance service. Here’s who you can call:

  1. Local Locksmiths: Specialized auto locksmiths have the necessary tools and expertise to unlock your car without damaging it.
  2. Roadside Assistance Services: If you have a membership with an organization like AAA, they can send a professional to help you out.
  3. Car Dealership: If you’re driving a newer model, contacting the dealership may be an option as they can provide specific solutions for your vehicle.
  4. Insurance Provider: Some car insurance policies include roadside assistance. Check your policy or call your agent.

Benefits of Professional Locksmith Services

Professional locksmiths offer several advantages over DIY solutions:

  1. Expertise: Trained in the specific mechanisms of various car locks, they can unlock your vehicle without causing damage.
  2. Tools: They have specialized tools designed for unlocking vehicles safely and efficiently.
  3. Quick Response: Many locksmiths offer 24/7 emergency services, providing prompt assistance.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that a professional is handling the situation reduces stress and minimizes risk.
  5. Insurance: Some locksmith services are insured, meaning that if anything does go wrong, the costs are covered.

Selecting a Reputable Locksmith

Choosing the right locksmith is crucial to ensure quality service. Here’s how to select a reputable one:

  1. Verify Credentials: Look for locksmiths with certifications from professional associations.
  2. Check Reviews: Look for online reviews or ask for recommendations from friends or family.
  3. Ask for a Quote: Reputable locksmiths should be able to provide an upfront estimate, including any potential additional fees.
  4. Confirm Identification: Ensure that the locksmith has proper identification and a marked vehicle representing the company.
  5. Check Insurance: Ask if they’re insured against potential damages.

Seek Professional Help to Avoid Damages for Locked Keys in Car

Being locked out of your car doesn’t have to be a disaster. With the help of professional locksmith services, you can regain access to your vehicle without risking damage or other complications. Carefully selecting a reputable locksmith alternative service like 24hr Car Unlocking, ensures that the job will be done correctly, providing peace of mind in a stressful situation.


How do you get in your car if you’re locked out?

  1. Check All Doors and Windows: Sometimes one may be unlocked.
  2. Call for Assistance: A friend or family member with a spare key, or a professional locksmith.
  3. Use a Spare Key: If available.
  4. Try DIY Methods: Such as a coat hanger or Slim Jim, but be aware of legal and damage risks.
  5. Call Roadside Assistance: Many services offer lockout assistance.

How can I unlock my car without a key?

  1. Use a Slim Jim or Similar Tool: If you have experience with them.
  2. Try Unconventional Methods: Like the tennis ball method, though they may not work.
  3. Call a Locksmith: They have specialized tools and expertise.

How do you open a car if the key is locked inside?

  1. Use a Spare Key: If one is available.
  2. Call a Professional Locksmith: They can safely unlock the car.
  3. Attempt DIY Methods: Such as using a coat hanger, though these carry risks.
  4. Call Roadside Assistance: If you have a membership with a service that offers this assistance.

How do you get a key out of a locked car with duct tape?

  1. Cut a Strip of Duct Tape: Long enough to reach the key.
  2. Create a Sticky End: To attach to the key.
  3. Insert Through a Window Crack: And maneuver to the key.
  4. Attach and Retrieve the Key: Gently pull it out.

How do you open a locked door from the outside?

  1. Use a Slim Jim or Coat Hanger: If legal and with great caution to avoid damage.
  2. Call a Locksmith: This is the safest and most legal method.

How can I prevent being locked out of my car in the future?

  1. Always Check Your Keys: Before closing the door.
  2. Keep a Spare Key: In your wallet, home, or with a trusted person.
  3. Use Technology: Such as apps that can unlock the car.
  4. Develop a Routine: Always put keys in the same place.
  5. Consider Keyless Entry Systems: Many new cars have systems that prevent locking keys inside.