Amanda with keys locked in her car

Keys locked in your car? Have you ever tried or thought about trying to unlock your car using a tennis ball? Seems absurd and impossible right?

Believe it or not there is a video floating around the internet demonstrating this method. Let me start by saying that attempting to unlock your car on your own can lead to costly damage being done to your car. This can include scratches to window tint, scratches to your door, damaging the interior panel of the car door and even damaging the lock mechanism.

Below we have provided the top 10 most common ways people use to unlock their own car.

A little background on me first. I have been a locksmith for over 30 years and have unlocked hundreds if not thousands of cars.

Here are the 10 most common ways people try to unlock their own car.

  1. Locksmith – of course, I am going to tell you to call a locksmith, it is the most reliable method of unlocking your car, after all, I am a locksmith. Stop reading right now and call 972-914-9446, see our service page for pricing and details.
  2. Using a shoestring – yes, you read that right. There is a video floating around the internet that shows a man unlocking a car using his shoestring. For this method, you will need to have a car door that has a pop-up lock on the door by the window. You will also need to know how to tie a loop knot that can be tightened around the pull knob. I don’t know about you but I don’t see my wife or daughter being able to pull this off.
  3. Coat hanger – now this is by far the most common method people try using to unlock their car without a key. This can also be one of the most damaging. First, do you carry a metal hanger with you that is not going to be locked in your car along with your keys? I didn’t think so. The ends of the metal/wire hangers can scratch the tint and damage the lock mechanism inside the door causing costly repairs.
  4. Rod & Screwdriver – Using this method can be even more costly than the coat hanger. The video I found demonstrating this method tells people to use the screwdriver to pry the door away from the car body. Ummm, hello bent door that will no longer seal correctly and potentially leak. Plus, that screwdriver you are separate your door open with can damage the paint and the frame of the door itself. While professional locksmiths will sometimes use a wedge on your door, they are PROFESSIONALS they know exactly where and how much to use them without damaging the door.
  5. Slim Jim – not all cars can be unlocked with this tool. However, just like with the coat hanger, if you don’t know how to use it or what you are looking for you can damage the lock mechanism inside the door of your car.
  6. Breaking the Window – many people are in a hurry and think breaking out the small window in the back will be an inexpensive alternative to waiting for a locksmith. This is simply not true. That small window will cost you approximately $500 to replace while your regular window glass would be a couple hundred. It makes that 15-30 minute wait for the locksmith more appealing, doesn’t it.
  7. Plastic Strip – there is another video I found where a man was using a folded piece of plastic and a wedge to unlock his car. He pried apart the door and used the strip of plastic to pop the knob at the top of the door. Again, unless you are skilled at knowing where and how to place the wedge you can damage the car door and its seal. Also, you have to have a pop-up lock on the door in order for this one to work.
  8. Tennis Ball – this one kind of has me intrigued (but please DO NOT try this on your car). We may have to do an experiment and will share the video when we do. This video basically shows a young lady burning a hole in a tennis ball and then placing the hole over the lock and pushing as hard as she could on the ball while maintaining the position of the ball. The pressure “created” by the ball supposedly popped up her lock. Seems a bit far fetched for me.
  9. AAA – If you are a member they work with reputable locksmiths to provide their member car unlocking services.
  10. Police – while some officers may have a tool they used to unlock a car, these calls are not a high priority and use valuable city resources.

If you are out shopping or leaving work or even locked out of your house (after all your keys are locked in your car). You won’t have access to the items needed for some of these methods.

If you choose to call a locksmith be sure you work with a licensed company and get a price BEFORE they are dispatched to your location. If they cannot give you a dedicated price over the phone, call someone else. Always ask to see their license. Check out our article on how to avoid locksmiths scams for more information.


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