How Does a Locksmith Get a Car Open?

Most of us have been there at least once. You get out of your car, lock it, and shut your door. The second the door is closed it hits you — your keys are still inside.


Now you are stuck. Even if you are home, you might be locked outside, unable to get in. This is a serious situation that requires prompt attention from a quality locksmith. While you are waiting for one to arrive to get your car open, you may be wondering just how does a locksmith get a car open?

Tools of the Trade

There are multiple tools available in the locksmithing trade that can allow access to a locked car. They all come with risks and can cause permanent damage to your vehicle even if used by an experienced locksmith, so do not be afraid to speak with your locksmith about your options before they begin work.


So, what tools are used and how does a locksmith get a car open?

Slim Jim

A slim jim is a classic tool used to open locked car doors. Locksmiths insert this rigid tool between the weatherstripping and glass of your door, down into the frame, and use the tool’s hook to unlatch the mechanical lock of your door.


This tool is a long-time go-to for both locksmiths and burglars alike, but the slim jim is outdated for use on modern cars. An experienced locksmith can open your car with a slim jim, but using this tool risks damaging your airbags and electrical system.

Air Wedge and Long Reach Tool

The go-to for many locksmiths today is the combination of an air wedge and long reach tool. The locksmith will force the air wedge between your door and weatherstripping and manually pump it up to create a small opening. They then insert a long reach tool, a specialized metal bar designed to grab handles or push buttons, into your car to unlock the door.


When this service is performed by an experienced locksmith there is little risk for damage, but be aware that your doorframe may be permanently bent after this procedure.

Make a New Key

Having a locksmith make a new key for your car is the best way to ensure you gain access with no potential damage. This is the recommended option if you have the time and can wait for the key to be made. Having a new key made also comes with the added benefit of having an extra spare key if you lock yourself out again.

Weigh Your Options

If you need to gain access to your car as quickly as possible, such as a child or pet being locked in the car, it is best to go with one of the forced-entry options, even if they come with risk.


Sometimes it’s difficult to think when you are locked out of your car, especially if you have a child or pet locked inside or if you just want to get home as soon as possible after a long day at work. This is why you should try to stay calm, assess your situation, and give all the details to your locksmith when you call them to get your car open.


Just remember, this happens to people every day. Most locksmiths are on call 24/7 because people can lock themselves out of their car before leaving for work in the morning, on their way home, or having fun after hours.


If you find yourself locked out of your car, do not hesitate to call and get the help you need. Revisit this article as many times as you need to answer the question, how does a locksmith get a car open?


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