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Vehicle Lockout? Here’s How to Unlock Your Car Door Without Damaging It

Discover Effective Methods and Tips for Regaining Access to Your Locked Car

Key Takeaways:

  • Being locked out of your vehicle can be frustrating, but there are several options to regain access without causing damage.
  • Calling a locksmith or utilizing roadside assistance services can provide professional help, but they may come at a cost.
  • Alternative methods, such as using a string or a rod, can be employed to unlock a car door in certain situations.
  • Patience and persistence are essential when attempting DIY car door unlocking methods.


Discovering that you’re locked out of your vehicle can be a frustrating experience. Whether you left your keys inside the car or misplaced them, regaining access without damaging your vehicle is a top priority. In this article, we’ll explore various methods and tips to unlock your car door safely and efficiently. From calling a locksmith to utilizing DIY techniques, we’ll provide valuable insights to help you navigate a vehicle lockout situation.

Call a Locksmith or Roadside Assistance

If you have a membership with the American Automobile Association (AAA) or similar organizations, you can call for professional assistance without incurring additional costs. Lockout services are often included as a benefit of membership. Alternatively, contacting a locksmith directly is another option, although this may require out-of-pocket expenses. Consider your available resources and choose the best option for your situation.

Lockout Apps and Manufacturer Assistance

Some automakers offer smartphone apps that allow you to access your vehicle during a lockout. By using these apps, you can remotely unlock your car doors. Certain manufacturers, such as General Motors, BMW, and Hyundai, provide these apps to their customers. Additionally, many new or certified pre-owned vehicles come with free roadside assistance for a limited period, which may cover lockout situations. Check your manufacturer’s website for details on available apps and assistance programs.

Unlocking Car Doors with a String

In situations where your car has a traditional, post-type door lock with a small knob at the top, using a string can be an effective method for unlocking the door. Follow these steps:

  • Tie a slipknot in the middle of a long, sturdy string, such as a shoelace.
  • Gently create a small opening between the top of the front door’s window frame and the vehicle body, using a doorstop or a thin piece of wood.
  • Lower the slipknot into the car’s cabin through the opening.
  • Position the slipknot around the door lock’s post, beneath the knob.
  • Tighten the slipknot by pulling both ends of the string.
  • Secure the knot and pull the post upward to unlock the car.

Utilizing a Rod or Wire Clothes Hanger

If your car has power door locks with lock buttons located on the armrest, a rod or a straightened wire clothes hanger can be used to unlock the door. Follow these steps:

  • Gently pry open a space between the top of the front-door window frame and the vehicle body using a doorstop or a thin piece of wood.
  • Slide the rod or straightened wire clothes hanger into the opening.
  • Use the tool to slide or depress the car’s door-lock flipper or button, thereby unlocking the car door.

Important Considerations

When attempting DIY car door unlocking methods, it’s crucial to exercise patience and persistence. Maneuvering strings or wire hangers into confined spaces can be challenging and may require multiple attempts. It’s essential to be gentle to avoid damaging the vehicle during the process. Remember, these methods may not work on all car models or lock mechanisms, so it’s important to assess your specific situation and choose the method that best suits your needs.


Experiencing a vehicle lockout can be a stressful situation, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent roadblock. By exploring different options and methods, you can regain access to your locked car without causing damage. Whether you choose to call a locksmith, utilize lockout apps, or employ DIY techniques with strings or rods, remember to exercise caution and remain patient. With persistence, you can successfully unlock your car door and get back on the road in no time.

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