We Value Your Privacy

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.

Update Consent
Loading ...

How to Open a Car Door With the Keys Locked Inside

Updated February 21, 2017

Locking your keys in your car is a great inconvenience. It is also a serious issue if you are in an unfamiliar place and need to get home fast. In order to open the car door, you must gain access to the interior. The door itself must be pried back in order to operate the electrical locks. The process is moderately challenging and can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more.

Loading ...
  1. Place a rag on top of the door in the upper corner farthest from the door handle. This is the easiest part of the door to pry open since it is farther away from the door latch.

  2. Insert a screwdriver in between the door and the door frame of the car, and on top of the rag. Make sure the screwdriver is on top of the rag, otherwise you may damage the vehicle.

  3. Pry open the door about a half inch, by pushing the screwdriver handle down. Insert a shim between the door and the car door frame to hold the door open. A thin piece of wood board or small metal pipe works best. Wrap the shim piece in another rag before inserting it into place to protect your car's paint job.

  4. Insert a long metal wire (such as an unfolded coat hanger) into the car through the crack between the door and the door frame. Manoeuvre the rod towards the door lock button and then depress the button with the rod.

  5. Remove the metal rod from the car and then slowly open the door to remove the shim. It will fall out of place once the door is open.

  6. Tip

    Bend the metal rod as necessary so it will make contact with the door locks. The handle of a small screwdriver or paint scraper also works as a shim for the door.


    This should be considered an emergency procedure--you may damage the car by bending the window frame or ripping the weather seal. You may also set off your car's alarm system. If possible, it is preferable to call a professional to unlock your car.

Loading ...

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Rags
  • Shim (thin piece of wood, plastic or metal)
  • Long metal wire

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

Loading ...