How to Use a Slim Jim to Unlock a Ford F150by Josh Baum
A slim jim is a thin, flat strip of metal that can be used to unlock a vehicle door without keys. Proper use of a slim jim is difficult, and locksmiths and police undergo extensive training to learn how to use these tools without damaging a vehicle. With that in mind, you may want to consider using the slim jim on the sliding rear window of your F150 rather than on the door, as there is a far smaller chance that you will accidentally cause damage.
Using a Slim Jim on the Door
Check your owner's manual to see if your F150 has side impact airbags, as many late model F150s do. If your truck has these, you should know that it is relatively easy to accidentally deploy these bags while using a slim jim, and the ensuing repairs will be expensive. If you opt to proceed, do so at your own risk.
Approach the passenger side door, as the driver side door contains more wiring and electronics, which poses a higher risk of accidental damage. Slide a piece of cardboard or some other thin material between the passenger side window and the weather stripping at the bottom of the window. This will make it easier to insert and maneuver the slim jim.
Carefully insert the slim jim hook side down between the window and weather stripping. Slide it over so that the hooked end is in the approximate vicinity of the door lock.
Apply gentle pressure toward the back of the car while slowly pulling up. You're operating entirely by feel now, and what you're trying to feel is the hook on the slim jim catching the lock's control arm.
Pull directly up when you feel the hook catch on something. If you've caught the control arm, you'll see the lock knob on the door raise and the door will unlock. If this doesn't happen, keep trying.
Using a Slim Jim on the Sliding Rear Window
Get in the bed of the truck and approach the rear window.
Slide the hook-end of the slim jim between the two sliding window panels just above the lock.
Apply gentle downward pressure with the slim jim as you pull it back toward the side from which you inserted it. This should easily disengage the latch, and you'll hear the latch turn over when this happens.
Enter the cab through the rear window, if possible, and unlock the doors from the inside. Think carefully before you do this, as the rear window is not very big and is not designed for people to climb through. With that in mind, a slender person may be able to do this easily, so consider enlisting the help of a (small-ish) friend. You may be able to lean in through this window far enough to reach the lock knob or power lock switch without actually entering the cab.
- If you're going to climb through the rear window by yourself, at least tell someone first in case you get stuck. Use common sense before trying to squeeze through. Consider turning to a professional locksmith before using a slim jim on the door of an F150 with side impact airbags. This cannot be emphasized enough, both due to the risk of injury from the sudden inflation of the airbags and the substantial cost of having deployed airbags replaced.
- Visual Guide to Lock Picking; Mark McCloud; 2007
- Ford Full-Size F150 Pickups 04-06; Chilton; 2006