How to Unlock a Car When the Keys Are Inside

by J. Anthony Cooley
hangers image by peter Hires Images from

Life gets busy and sometimes you may forget simple things that you do every day, like taking the keys from the ignition before locking the car. A simple, split second brain lapse that leads to you locking your keys in the car will ruin your day by making you frustrated and worried. Knowing how to unlock your car door when the keys are inside will make the situation less stressful and will save you money by not having to call a locksmith or break any windows.

Step 1

Unbend the wire coat hanger from its original form to make it as straight as possible.

Step 2

Bend the hook end of the hanger into a loop. This step applies to cars that have pull-up locks located by the window. If you have a pull-up lock, skip to step 4 after completing this step. If you have a pull-out lock or a car that unlocks when the inside door handle is pulled, go ahead and skip to step 3.

Step 3

Bend the hook end of the hanger into a smaller hook that will be easier to mange.

Step 4

Fit the modified wire coat hanger between the top of your car door and the roof. Be careful and ease it in so you do not tear the rubber insulation that will be in your way. Your car was not made to be unlocked from the outside but, with patience and finesse, you will be able to get the hanger through.

Step 5

Push the modified coat hanger down until the loop or hook end can reach the lock. Maneuvering the coat hanger is tricky, so observe how the hanger reacts when you turn and twist it, then navigate the hanger into position with the lock.

Step 6

Fit the loop over the top of the lock. This step is for cars with pull-up locks, if you have a pull-out lock or a door that unlocks by pulling the inside door handle, skip to step 8.

Step 7

Twist the loop so that it will not slip off the lock when you pull the hanger up. Once the loop is secure around the lock and locked into place, pull the hanger up and watch the lock pop up.

Position the hook under the lock or, if your car door unlocks by pulling the inside door handle, position the hook under the handle. Once the hook is in position, pull the hanger so that the hook pushes the lock in the unlocked position, or so the hook pulls the inside door handle to open the door.


  • If all else fails, call a professional locksmith. The prices, time of arrival and professionalism will vary so call around to find a locksmith that fits your needs.


  • Use caution when calling a locksmith. Some locksmiths are far from professional and professionalism is important as an unprofessional lock smith may damage your car and then just leave. When your keys are locked in your car you don't have time to thoroughly check everyone out, but you can get an idea of the professionalism by the demeanor on the phone. A red flag is if you are not sure if you are calling a business or residence by the way the locksmith answers the phone.

Items you will need

  • Wire coat hanger

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