Having a spare key is one of those things that never seem necessary until it is needed. You might lose it, get it stolen or leave it in your car and lock it while you’re out. It’s normal that it’s embarrassing and it’s a fucking punch to try to open the door. Think that, like you, another 100,000 Spaniards a year forget their keys inside.
So how could you open your car door without using the key? You can call a professional who will charge you several tens of euros for five minutes of work, but there are several free methods that can solve the problem. And no, you don’t have to break the window to get the keys back. You don’t have to get frustrated with yourself, these are things that happen, and here we are going to see some solutions that can be useful.
Unlocking a car door without a key
Locking mechanisms vary widely depending on the vehicle. The newer ones have remote locks to open and close them, and the older ones require a wrist twist movement to open them manually. Some have the pump on the inside of the door, right next to the window, while others have it on the handle. First of all, you need to know for sure where the release mechanism is.
Method 1: Shoe lace
It seems too good to be true, but the truth is that this method only works with internal locking mechanisms, that have a vertical spring to be operated. This is possibly the quickest, lowest-cost and simplest option in a moment of trouble.
You will have to remove the cord from your shoes and make a small sliding knot that, at the time of hugging the lock pivot, can be tightened. Place the string inside the car through the space between the door and the rest of the body, preferably from the top right corner (referring to the driver’s door). Then, try to put the loop in the lock, press it and pull it up.
Method 2: A hanger
This method, like the previous one, can be frustrating. Unless you’re a professional, you’ll need many tries until you get out. Don’t faint, in the end you always get it. You’ll need a wire hanger and pliers (or brute force) to give it an elongated hook shape that goes inside the window.
Once you have it, there are two options:
- Your car has the unlock button on the armrest. If you reach the button, press it and the problem is solved.
- Move the wire until you find the unlocking mechanism, taking care to always know its position. When you find the spring and notice that you have it hooked, pull (or push, depending on the vehicle).
Method 3: Rod and screwdriver
All you need is a flat-head screwdriver, a steel rod (although any long, thin, rigid instrument will do) and a few seconds of your precious time. Use the screwdriver to lever the door frame and try to open it just enough to insert the rod. Look for the unlock button and press it. Keep in mind that any metal object can damage the exterior and interior, so be careful.
Method 4: Slim Jim
You may not know what a Slim Jim is, but you’ve probably seen it more than once. It’s a picklock that is inserted through the rubbers that surround the window of the car and overlook the keyhole when opening the door. It’s a tool that has appeared on the big screen on numerous occasions, when cacos tried to steal cars, although the police also usually carry them.
This method is also designed for older locking mechanisms. Insert the thinnest stop inside the door in the same way you would with the hanger, and look for the spring in charge of unlocking the doors. If this tool is used improperly, instead of solving your problem you will add new ones. You can break the window, damage the internal wiring or simply leave the door locked.
Method 5: Tennis ball
Perhaps this is one of the most controversial methods explained so far. It is assumed that, with a tennis ball, a car lock can be forced to unlock the locking mechanism; a technique that requires some skill and strength, and is not a big complication, at least on paper.
Using a drill, screwdriver or any other sharp object, makes a hole in the ball thick enough to fit in the keyhole. Place the tennis ball over the top of the bowler and push hard. The pressure created in the spherical will force the mechanism and, as if by magic, the door can be opened… or so they say.
The truth is that it seems that the method of the tennis ball is not the most effective, because it does not always come out. If you want to check if it works or not, the best thing is that you try it yourself.
Method 6: Inflatable Wedge
The principle is the same as that of the rod and screwdriver. But, instead of forcing the door with a metal device that can damage the body of our car; an inflatable air bag is used using a hand pump that will wedge to open the door a few inches.
With the right and necessary hole, introduce the stick, rod, tuned hanger or whatever you have more at hand, and look for the opening button. With a minimally decent pulse and some patience, you’ll hit the right button. This tool is not a common thing to walk around the house, and getting one of them is more expensive than a screwdriver, from about 15 euros, approximately.
Method 7: Through the boot door
If, for some strange reason, your car’s trunk door is not locked, you may be able to access the passenger compartment from there. In some vehicles, there is usually a handle somewhere in the trunk that serves to fold down the second row of seats from the inside. If that’s the case, pull it out and crawl to unlock the doors and get your keys.
Method 8: Shuffle other alternatives
If none of these methods is valid for you, there are a number of alternatives that may be equally useful to you, but they may not be as practical:
- Call a locksmith.
- Call your contracted roadside assistance.
- Call the police.
- Ask a friend or family member to pick you up.
- Think about public transportation.
- Use the legs with which life has blessed you.