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The next time you accidentally lock your keys in the car, you’ll want to try these genius tricks.
How To Break Into My Car
Millions of drivers lock the keys in their cars every year — and now you’re one of them. Fortunately, newer cars make this much harder to do, but if you find yourself standing outside your locked car with your keys in the cup holder, these tricks can be a lifesaver. Before you send a “keys locked in car” SOS text, learn how to unlock a car door without your keys using these simple (and cheap!) methods. Stay safe on the road, too, with these car safety features, secret uses for your key fob, a guide to changing the battery in a key fob, and car gadgets that will improve your driving skills.
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Rest assured that “it’s becoming more difficult for consumers to lock out of their cars, because many transponder keys don’t allow it,” says Mark Takahashi, Edmonds’ senior reviews editor. Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader, agrees: “The idea of locking keys in cars is becoming a thing of the past.” If you’re locked out, your best bet may be to call a tow truck, roadside assistance or the police, depending on the urgency of the situation, notes Moody.
In high-risk situations — such as if a child or animal is locked in a car — call 911 immediately and tell them the make and model of your vehicle and where you are. Emergency services like police and fire will arrive faster than locksmiths or roadside assistance. Often, police break windows or use thin metal tools that can unlock doors without a key, Moody says. Although they won’t charge you for the service, you should only call them in an emergency, and you’ll have to pay the bill to repair the damaged window.
Roadside assistance providers like AAA can come in handy when you lock your keys in the car, Moody says. Not only are AAA services available 24 hours a day, but AAA members also get one free exclusion per year at a fixed cost based on membership level. If you find yourself in this situation, call AAA and let them know your location, the make and model of your vehicle, and your membership number. However, keep in mind that it may take half an hour or more for a professional to arrive, and if you don’t have a membership or if you’re locked out more than once you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Want to avoid an expensive call to a locksmith or roadside assistance specialist? Fortunately, there are many inexpensive tricks to unlocking your car without a key, as long as you’re patient and good with tools. Here’s how to get your keys out of a locked car—no locksmith required. And in the future, try these simple methods so you never lose your keys (or anything else) again.
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Thanks to a growing number of car apps for your smartphone, you can unlock your car without leaving the bank—or the window. Many new vehicles offer free Apple and Android apps that allow drivers to control their cars without the keys. The apps turn smartphones into second key fobs, allowing users to lock, unlock and start their cars remotely. “The trick is to pair [your car key] with the app,” says Takahashi. “If you have a newer car model from Hyundai, GM/Chevrolet, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Fo or Honda, install the manufacturer’s app the next time your key is locked to your car.” Here are more hidden car features you might not realize.
Good news: If you have an older car with manual locks and you’re wearing lace-up shoes, you may not need roadside assistance. Tie a slip knot in the center of the shoelace and make a loop the size of your toe. Then wrap the shoelace around the right corner of the driver’s door until the slide knot is inside the door seam. Now holding the shoelace with both hands, move it back and forth as if you were flossing giant teeth. Doing so will move the slide knob down the window and pull the lock onto the car door. Carefully move the loop over the lock, then pull the end of the string to tighten the loop. When you think you have a firm grip on the lock, gently pull it up to unlock the car door. Da-da! You’re in! You can also use a piece of string instead of a shoelace. Don’t leave home without one of these items — or these other must-haves on our travel essentials checklist.
The coat rack method is a classic; You’ve probably seen it used in some movies. Like the shoelace trick, this method only works on older vehicles with manual locks. You will need thin wire hangers and pliers. “Use pliers to open the coat hanger so you have one end hooked and the other straight,” says Laura Gonzales, marketing manager at Audi Bellevue. “You’re going to slide the clothes hanger between the window and the weather stripping. Once the angled window is down, you can start fishing for the control arm. Once you find it, pull on the hook and your door will open.” FYI, this isn’t the only secret your locksmith won’t tell you.
For drivers with nothing but bobby pins and time, it won’t hurt to do this old-school trick on manual car locks. Bend the first pin at a 90-degree angle and pull out the second pin by bending one end slightly. Insert the bent end of the first pin into the lock and insert the second pin straight into the lock. While holding the first pin still, rotate the second pin around the lock until it opens. However, this trick can damage your car if you do it wrong. If you are concerned about damage, you can always leave it to the professionals and call someone to help.
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To unlock the car without keys like a pro, invest in a car tool kit with a rotating or inflatable window wedge. Just be aware that using a wedge to unlock a car can be a little tricky, warns Bill Evans, manager of J&E Auto Body in Clark, New Jersey. Start by pulling the top of the door frame with the trim tool and push in the wedge to hold the door frame out. Then press the unlock button with a long, thin rod (this can also be a coat hanger). “Triple A drivers and tow truck drivers often do it this way, and that’s how we do it,” says Evans. This trick works on both old and new car models.
But there is a downside. “Even experienced people will scratch the paint or tear the weather stripping in the process,” says Evans. “You may need to see a body shop to realign the top of the door frame as they sometimes come off the body after using a wedge.” Make sure the repair cost is worth it before using a wedge to get yourself out of your “keys locked in the car” debacle.
Drivers who frequently lock their keys in their cars can take some precautions to save time, money and effort in the future. Takahashi recommends downloading your automaker’s app, and Moody suggests getting a roadside assistance plan. You can also keep an extra key in a convenient location, such as a small magnetic safe under the vehicle, Moody says. While some people attach extra keys to their car in easily accessible places, this can make your vehicle an easy target for car thieves. A magnetic key safe, on the other hand, protects your key with a code so that only you can access it. Caution: These mistakes can also put your car at risk from thieves.
If you have a habit of losing your keys, check out this key finder that makes it easy to track them down.
Trying To Break Into My Car, Maybe Potential Easy Access Into Our Car?
Brooke is a tech and consumer product writer who covers the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features.
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There comes a time in every car owner’s life when they lock their keys in their vehicle, or lose them altogether. Sure, you can pay to have a professional break on your car for you… or you can learn how to do it yourself to save time and money.
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