How To Get Keys Out Of Locked Car With Automatic Locks [4 Solutions To Try]

Imagine this scenario. You're getting out of your car without a care in the world. But, you forgot your keys in the car! Now, you have to figure out how to get them out. If you're trying to get your keys out of a locked vehicle with automatic locks, let's go over the process.

Before attempting anything, check to see if you have any spare keys. Try to jog your memory where they might be. Otherwise, here are a few ways to unlock the door:

  1. Try to find another point of entry.
  2. Use a wedge to make a small opening.
  3. Use tape, or a Slim Jim tool to unlock the door. 
  4. Call insurance to unlock the door.

As you can see, there aren't many options to choose. You'll have to attempt to unlock the car using various methods. But, if you don't have the tools, you're out of luck. Regardless, if you want to get an idea of the process, keep reading to learn more.

Woman looking into a car after locking her keys inside, How To Get Keys Out Of Locked Car With Automatic Locks [4 Solutions To Try]

Before You Attempt To Unlock the Door

It's worth noting a few things before attempting to unlock your car. 

There may be accusations of an attempted car break-in. If you have no proof that you own the vehicle, you may have a problem with the police. Also, even if there's no one around, the methods we listed have a high possibility of activating the car's alarm. 

Forgot the car keys with the car

So, try to remember if you have a spare key somewhere. If it's not within reach, have someone deliver it to you. 

When you don't have a spare key to work with, it's time to test your luck using other methods. Let's start with the easy ones first. 

1. Try To Find Another Entry

Partial view of woman opening car door on parking

When you initially lock yourself out, remind yourself that the driver's door isn't the only entry point. So, go around and check every passenger door. If it doesn't unlock, you'll have to keep searching around the car. 

Check the trunk, tailgate, or back window. You might get lucky and find that one of these areas is still unlocked. If that's the case, you don't have to proceed with the other methods. 

2. Use a Wedge To Make a Small Opening

When the easiest method fails, you'll have to put in a lot of effort to unlock the door. The first item you'll need is a wedge. You will need to jam it into the doorpost. 

Still, be careful not to damage the window and door gasket. The gap doesn't need to be too big. There needs to be enough room to fit a long rod through. Straightened wire hangers, car antennas, or a hood prop rod are tools you can use. 

Once there's enough room, stick a rod into the opening and find the door lock. The way the door lock works will vary from car to car. Sometimes, the handle unlocks a vehicle. 

In other cases, the lock will be separate from the door handle. It might sit lower or near the door handle. You'll have to keep in mind how the lock is on your specific car using this method. 

Then, stick the rod through and turn the lock to the right. Pull the handle, pull the locking mechanism down, or press the unlock button. Do whatever works for your situation.

Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how to unlock different locking mechanisms:


One way to make the process easier is to acquire a professional car lockout toolkit. This is something that firefighters, police, and locksmiths use to unlock a door without damaging your car. Getting this toolkit is difficult. 

You can try your luck at a car mechanic or locksmith shop. Of course, you'll want to explain your situation. Also, you'll  need to show proof that you own the car. Last, instead of insurance covering the cost, you'll have to pay upfront.

The toolkit contains airbags ,and a long-reach tool. Instead of using a wedge, it uses airbags to make the gap. It also comes with a malleable rod with a rubber tip. 

However, the only part of the kit you need is the airbag. It needs to be strong enough to force a gap in the door. Home Depot sells an industrial-grade airbag for about $18. You're more likely to find these in stores than the toolkit.

If you have a friend who's a mechanic or a locksmith, they might carry this toolkit, which saves you money. But, you will still need them to deliver it to you. So, it's going to involve some luck. 

Here's a YouTube video showing how to use the airbags:

3. Use Tape Or A Slim Jim Tool To Unlock The Door

The last two methods aren't recommended for a few reasons. They both have a low rate of success. And, they can damage internal wires, and the locking or window mechanisms. 

If you don't know how to use a Slim Jim tool, you'll have to pay for repairs. The tape method requires you to pull down the window forcefully. As you can already guess, it damages the window seal and much more. That's also the potential of breaking your window. 

A Slim Jim tool is a thin piece of metal. You can make one out of a wire hanger. Slip the tool between the weather stripping along the bottom of the window and the glass. Next, find the lock and open it with the hook. 

It may feel like a guessing game when you don't know what to feel for. 

Using Tape

A heap of packing tape and a masking tape

The tape method has a low chance of success. But, it's simple to do. All you need is a strong tape, which you will have to apply using a few layers along the glass vertically. Next, secure it with a few layers of tape applied across the vertical layer. 

Don't forget to leave the bottom of the vertical layer exposed. You will use this as a handle. Finally, you and a partner will grab onto the bottom of the tape and pull it down. 

This method may work on crank and electric windows. Although, your effort might go without reward. In the unlikely chance that it works, you'll have to repair the window mechanisms. 

Is it worth doing? That's your decision.

4. Call Insurance to Unlock the Door

Sometimes, it's best to leave it to the professionals. Of course, it's going to cost money. But, if you have insurance with roadside assistance, they will likely cover the costs.

You may also try calling the police to help. However, it's unlikely that they will offer services. The police department won't want to deal with damage claims and other liability issues. 

So, if these options aren't available to you, it's time to call a locksmith. You will most likely pay around $75-$150 for services. 

Can You Make A Copy Of A Car Key?

Close up of key copying machine with key

Locking yourself out of a car is a situation no one wants to go through. It's time-consuming and stress-inducing. So, it would make sense to get a spare key in case of emergency.

However, it raises the question, "Can you make a copy of a car key?" Yes, it's possible. But, depending on the type of key you need, it can be expensive.

It's easy to make copies of traditional car keys. Modern ones are a bit more trouble. The reason is that modern car keys need to be programmed to your car.

What Happens If You Lose The Only Key To Your Car?

Locking your keys inside the car is one thing. But, losing them completely is a different behemoth. Are you out of luck if you lose the only key to your car?

Not necessarily. However, it's going to cost you a lot to replace it. As mentioned, the cost and difficulty depends on the type of key your car uses. Traditional keys are easy to replace.

Locksmiths can usually make a new key on the spot. If you use a transponder or smart key, you'll have to visit a dealership to purchase a new one. Of course, it won't be cheap.

Transponder keys will cost you around $200-$250 to replace. The dealership will have to pair the new key with your car. Smart keys are the most expensive. They cost around $300 to replace. The dealership will also have to pair the new smart key with your car.

Are Lost Car Keys Covered By Insurance?

There's always a chance that insurance can cover the costs. Unfortunately, they don't cover the costs of lost car keys. Comprehensive coverage only covers the costs of a stolen car, which includes the key.

As you can see, it's expensive to own a car. So, be extra careful if you use a transponder or smart key.

In Closing

There is little you can do if you lock yourself out of the car. Only a couple of methods work without damaging parts. And, if you need professional help, it will be expensive. Hopefully, one of the methods we listed will work for your situation.

Before you go, do you have other car key concerns? Does the key get stuck in the ignition? To learn more, check out:

Key Stuck In Ignition - What To Do?

Are you trying to unlock a Ford Fusion? If that's the case, check out:

How To Unlock Ford Fusion With Keys Locked Inside

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