What Is The Safest Way To Open A Locked Car Door?

by Daniel on

If you need to open a locked car door, make sure you don’t break anything while you are doing it. Sure, you could throw a rock through your window because the damage is not going to be worth it. A rock is an extreme example, but not when you compare the devastation of a rock to the damage you could cause by using other car unlocking methods incorrectly.

I will be outlining the safest way to open a locked car door, as well as what risks you face performing other car lockout solutions. And if you think you may be overlooking some other obvious answers to being locked out of your car, we will cover some obviously safe methods for opening a locked car door.

Materials Needed to Open A Locked Car Door

The reason that this method is so safe is because there is very little that you need. Gathering the right materials for the right type of lock is paramount to safely using any method to complete any task. When it comes to the safest way to open a locked car door, this is all you need.

  • A shoelace – If you do not have laces on your shoes that you can remove, you can use a similarly flexible and long strand of cord/rope. The most important thing is that the material does not create too wide of a gap in the door.
  • Post locks – Your doors need to have interior locks that push down to lock and pull up to unlock. They are visible through the window and rest on the interior window sill. These are also called upright locks because they stand upright.

Steps To Safely Open A Locked Car Door

Be very gentle during this process. Do not make yanking, prying, or jerking motions. Move smoothly and do not do anything out of frustration. Keep a calm and level head while opening your locked car door.

  1. Make a slip knot towards the center of your string-like material.
    1. Here is a video on how to make a slip knot.
  2. Holding the string on either end of the knot, use a sawing motion to move the knot into the interior side of the door.
  3. Work the string in at the top corner opening of the car door.
  4. With the knot now inside the car, try to loop the knot around the post lock.
  5. Pull on both ends of the string to tighten the loop.
  6. Holding both ends of the string, pull up and slightly to the side to leverage the post lock up.
  7. When the post lock is raised up high enough, there will be a click and the door will open.

Why is this the safest way to open a locked car door?

There is almost no risk of damaging your car in any way during this process. The door can compress on the small diameter rope so there is no gap being forced in the door. Because the thin shoestring is also made of a soft fabric, you are not scraping anything along the door frame or risking scratching any paint.

As the materials are easy to come by, there is also very little risk of having to make an improvised tool. When you can use the exact supplies recommended, there is no need to adapt the working formula when you are trying something for the first time. The closer you can keep to the steps in any process, the better.

There is also very little skill needed to do this properly, and no time crunch created by starting the process. You have a lot of time to work through the steps and do the work properly. Making mistakes will not create catastrophic consequences unless you disregard the steps and do something entirely different from what was described.

The Risks Of Other Ways to Open A Locked Car Door

If your car does not use post locks, you will likely be looking for other ways to open a locked car door. Unfortunately, the other methods of opening a locked car present rather large risks to your vehicle. Not all of these methods are not extremely dangerous when used by novices, but they require a level of craftiness that is not abundant in the general public.

I would suggest calling a locksmith if you are at all unsure about how to unlock a car door. When going forward with any of the other less safe steps to open a locked car door, proceed with extreme caution, and be aware of the following risks.

1. Prying Your Doors

A very popular method of opening car doors is the wedge and probe method. It looks easy enough, but you can really damage your car by doing it wrong. When you are wedging the door open, the gap you are making should not be too wide and it should not be held for extended amounts of time.

Too wide of a gap can actually break your window, and a prolonged gap can break the door so it does not close or open properly. If your probe is too big, then the gap you need to make will be too big. If you are inexperienced with the process, you will take longer and prolong the gap. Consequences can be tremendous, so don’t pry your door unless you can mitigate the risks.

2. Fidgeting With The Keyway

Lock picking is not something that I can recommend to any untrained person. If you start messing around with the keyway for your door lock, you risk breaking the lock or breaking something off in the lock. This can really be desirable when you need to open a locked car door that you broke your car key inside.

With a broken car key in the door lock, fidgeting with the keyway can push the broken key farther into the lock. All of this easily exacerbates the problem you are experiencing. Just trying to open a locked car door should not involve this very risky method. Unless you have a professional or elite hobbyist background, stay away from the keyway when you are unlocking your car.

3. Coat Hangers Etc.

Some people will try to use a coat hanger (or similar objects) in a similar way to a shoelace. The thing you need to worry about is scratching your paint and other issues with friction and scraping. If you are going to insert any tools into the door (between the window glass and weather stripping), beware of dislodging wires and other connections.

A wire-like object is a preferred tool to manipulate latches, interior handles, and push buttons. It will be safer to risk scratching the paint rather than risking the damage of going into the door. You can use a piece of fabric or cloth to minimize the scraping of metal against metal.

The Obligatory Obviously Safe Car Lockout Answers 

If you really want to know the safest ways to open a locked car door, there are also the no risk solutions. These will work no matter what the security is like in your car and no matter what the make and model is.

These might sound obvious, but in moments of desperation, you may forget the things that are too apparent. Just so you don’t miss the answers that are right in front of you, here are some perfectly safe methods of opening a locked car.

1. Open A Locked Car Door With A Car Key

If you had a car key, then you wouldn’t be locked out of your car. Exactly! It is possible to get a new car key without a spare, so you always have access to a working car key. A car key might need to be made as part of another service, but it is certainly an option that is available to you.

When looking to avoid paying for new car keys, you may still be able to reach out to someone who has a spare key. This is possible if you share the car with a spouse, family member, close friend, or use the car for business purposes. Call up anyone with a working key and see if they can stop by to unlock your car door. 

2. Call An Auto Locksmith To Open A Locked Car Door

It might sound biased, but it is 100% true that calling a professional car locksmith means that you are using the safest method to open a locked car door. A properly trained locksmith knows how to use every effective method for opening a locked car. Nothing they do is going to break or damage your vehicle in any way.

The most important thing you have to do is be sure that you are getting a qualified professional. What you need to look for is a service that is local, has a proven track record, keeps prices low. All of these things demonstrate a dedication to the community they are serving.

You can also ask them some questions about how to open a locked car door. Make sure it is nothing that is going to make the person over the phone feel cagey. Don’t insinuate that you are trying to get your car door open before the locksmith can arrive, just as questions that will let you know if they know what they are doing.

Simply describe the type of car locks you have, and ask about how they are going to open the locked car. Ask something along the lines of,”Do you do that thing where you pry open the door and try and open the door with a stick? Is that safe?” They should be used to reassure customers, and express some of the risks (or they might tastefully omit the risk) and how they avoid damaging your car.

Final Thoughts

There is always a safe answer when you are locked out of your car. Someone will have shoelaces. You just need them for a moment, even if you need to borrow them, you can find a bystander who is game to lend you their laces.

People like to think Los Angeles is filled with cold people that avoid each other’s humanity, but it is also filled with the type of unique people that will lend you a shoelace. But if you can’t find a kind person or a spare shoe, call a locksmith. A Los Angeles locksmith is always the absolute safest way to open a locked car door.

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