How to Open a Car Door With the Keys Locked Inside

by Steve Smith
car by the door image by Furan from

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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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. Maneuver the rod towards the door lock button and then depress the button with the rod.

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.


  • 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.

Items you will need

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

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