How to Use a Slim Jim to Open a Car

by Mike Ludwig

The Slim Jim is a thin strip of metal with a notch cut into one side at the bottom. The notch is intended to hook the rod which attaches the door handle to the door lock mechanism, and pull it into an open position, thereby leaving the lock itself undamaged. This is a popular tool amongst locksmiths themselves and inexpensive for the consumer to purchase from any local hardware store.

Open Your Car Door Without a Key

Locate the rubber seal between your door and door window that prevents debris and rain from getting inside. Take your wedge and place it in between the rubber seal and the window, creating a gap which is large enough to get the slim jim through. You can use anything from a stick to a matchbook. Leave your wedge in there, roughly in the middle of the door, and grab your slim jim.

Slide your slim jim into the door gap you just opened. In between the door handle and the door lock, there is a thin rod connecting them which you want to hook with the notched end of the slim jim. The rod is closer to the locking mechanism at the edge of the door. In older cars, their isn't much else in the door. If you have a hard time hooking the rod at first, try twisting your wrist a little going down and up, feeling it out.

Once you've hooked the rod, pull up or push down on the rod to rotate the mechanism into an open position.


  • check Instead of lockpicking the mechanism inside the lock, the slim jim activates the opening mechanism inside the door, leaving no damage to the door or lock mechanism if used properly.


  • close Most models produced after 1989 have the rods shielded from access as an anti-theft measure. Newer vehicles have many other components in the door other than the locking mechanism, such as power windows, power locks, heated side view mirrors, lighted keyways, burglar alarms and even side door airbags. Therefore some locksmiths only use slim jims on older cars.

Items you will need

About the Author

Mike Ludwig is a freelance writer and journalist in the United States. He has worked as a freelance newspaper reporter, section editor and magazine feature writer. Ludwig has three years of freelance writing experience, and has been published in "Southeast Ohio Magazine," and the alternative bi-weekly paper "The Athens NEWS."

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera car door handle image by robert mobley from