Odds are you will find yourself locked out of your car one day; it may be sooner than you think. According to American Automobile Association, these odds are only getting better; the association receives calls from more than four million motorists who have been locked out of their cars. Only a few years ago, the number was less than half a million. You can blame this on the advanced anti-theft systems and keyless ignition systems but knowing how to handle it when it affects you will be better.
There are a number of factors that may contribute to your being locked out. The most common, hurrying to finish up a project whose deadline is due in a few hours, you lock your key inside your car. You may also lose/misplace the car keys or accidentally damage the keys. What matters is not how you ended up locked out but what you do to remedy the situation.
Are You Completely Locked Out?
Before you start fidgeting, make sure that you are completely locked out. You may have tried opening a door or two, which are locked, but that is not the only way in. Sometimes, not all doors are locked. As scary as this may sound, you need to check that all doors are completely locked before you take any action. Most drivers will concentrate on the driver’s door and sometimes neglect the others. Even if you are double sure that you lock all the doors, just do another quick check.
The car trunk may give you a way in; especially if you drive a hatchback, a crossover or SUV. Though not always, there is a panel between the rear seats that opens forward when seats are pushed from the back. In the cars above, the trunk is not separated from the cabin.
Perhaps your car doors can be opened remotely. This is only possible if you are covered by a company that offers remote unlock, for instance, Onstar. Nowadays, when buying new cars, this feature is non-existence; plus offers on new cars last a year before they expire. You can try this before crawling through your trunk but then again, all the calls to your dealer, and your dealer to your remote unlock service provider will make you wish you had a trunk to crawl through.
Should You Call For Help Already?
If the above have failed and you are completely locked out, the next easiest thing you would think of is to call for help. This is a great idea but what if there was an easier way?
You need to assess the tools you have at hand and see which can help you get into your locked car without damaging the locks or harming yourself. This process will take a short time; you just need to have a little patience. Done correctly, you can use simple tools to open your car door. Done incorrectly, you may damage the car lock and harm yourself in the process.
Use a Rope
If you can access a small diameter rope, or your shoelaces, you can easily open a post lock. Simply tie a slip knot to make a loop on one end of the rope or shoelace. The slip knot should have a loop hole slightly bigger than the hole formed when you bring the tips of your thumb and your index finger together. Slip this loop between the door frame and the door and catch the loop around the car lock. Pull the rope to close the loop and then pull upwards to unlock the door. The door should open.
Try a Wire
If the rope fails or if you do not have shoelaces, you can try a wire. Getting a coat hanger should not be hard as you can walk into a laundry shop and borrow one; just make sure you tell them you will be dismantling it.
Once you have the coat hanger, straighten it out and bend the hook to make a V-shape. Slip the wire, V first, between the door and the door frame. Hook the post lock and pull it upwards. For slide/push locks, straighten the coat hanger and bend it in a way that it gives you leverage to push. You may need to make more bends if the lock you are to reach is beneath the armrest of the door. Slip the wire between the door and the door frame and slide or depress the lock. To make it easier, you can have a person guide you from the window on the other side.
If you still can’t access your car, it is time to call for help. There are a couple of methods that auto locksmiths use to access your car, but some of them may damage your car if wrongly done. But it won’t hurt knowing them, will it?
Professional auto locksmiths use wedges or a door stop and a hammer or a screwdriver and a hammer to break into your car without damaging the lock system or the car door. A probe or a plastic strap work the same way as a coat hanger and minimizes damage on your car when done correctly. Lastly, auto locksmiths can pick your car lock. Picking can damage the lock when done incorrectly.
Get Assistance: Find a Locksmith Near Me
For a professional auto locksmith, a traditional car lockout will take five minutes or less to get past. If your car has complex security systems, however, the locksmith may take more time. Irrespective, locksmiths may take between fifteen and thirty minutes to get to your location. This is if you get a locksmith service whose technicians are not pre-occupied by the time of your call.
Despite the time it takes to have a locksmith at your location, getting one is the best option. First off, they will retrieve your car keys without any damage to the locks or the door or any harm on you. Secondly, they will do it fast, and the charges are less than fifty bucks.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of locksmith locator websites where you only need to enter the zip code of your location and get the details of the nearest locksmith. When using such a service, be sure to check that the system serves people in your county. You may not have much time to vet the locksmith you reach out to, but a quick search online will give you a hint on the quality of their services.
Before calling an auto locksmith, be calm and have the following information at hand; your exact location, make and model of your car, model year, the position of the keys inside your car and any other details that may be requested.
Reach out to the Police
If you feel endangered, this is the best option. Nonetheless, in some states, it is required that your car be running for you to reach out to the police. When the car is running, a thief can spot the position of your car keys inside, and this means you cannot leave your car. Police can also intervene if there is a child or an animal inside the car. Not only will they offer you protection but they will also arrive at your location faster than other services and are equipped with the skills to unlock your door.
AAA or any other Roadside Assistance service should be able to provide an auto locksmith to your location within a short period. Roadside services are always on the lookout for calls and thus getting help should not take long. According to AAA, if a member loses the key to their car, service will be sent to them at a minimum charge of fifty dollars for classic members and a minimum of 150 dollars for premier members. If for any reason, your car cannot be unlocked, your car will be towed away. Check your Roadside Assistance Handbook to see services provided.
Escape the Lockout if you can
Car lockouts are common nowadays more than ever. If there is anything you can do to avoid the agony that comes with them, the better. Having a spare key comes handy when you are locked out . This will help you in situations you are locked just outside your home or your office or a short distance away from either. You can also double check to ensure you have your keys. In some old car models, only the driver’s door locks when the key fob is pressed once, this is your chance to check your keys.
If you are locked out in a remote place with no network, you will be forced to trek a couple of miles to access help. Whatever you do after a lockout, staying calm and relaxed is key. This will help your mind think through the situation and come up with necessary remedies. Again, it is important that you ensure that you and your car are safe. This can be done by assessing the location and the people around. If you feel threatened, call the police. Lastly, you should ensure that you have enough money, cash or in your card to pay for any service offered.