How to Unlock Your Car Door Without A Key (7 Methods)

Here is a list of some methods you can use to unlock your car door without using your key. These tips range from simple tricks to more advanced options.

Unlock Car Door Without A Key

Whether you have locked your keys in the car or you have lost them, you still want to know how to open the car door. Knowing how to unlock your car door without a key can save you a lot of time and hassle.

In this guide, we cover all of the methods that might work, allowing you to find a variety of options. We also talk about a few people you might be able to call if all of the solutions fail. 

How to Unlock Your Car Door Without a Key

Modern cars are getting more and more secure, which is very good but it will also result in problems for you if you lose your car key and need to enter your car. But here are some methods you can try to unlock your car door without a key:

1. Car App

Car App Open Door

Several car manufacturers offer apps nowadays that help you get into your vehicle. If you drive a modern GM vehicle, the app can act as a remote key fob, help you locate the car and also sound the alarm. If it’s equipped with remote start, the app can also get the motor running.

GM isn’t the only automaker to offer this option. You can also use an app with Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru and several others. Unfortunately, this is one function you should have set up before you need it in most cases. 

2. Wedge

Car Door Wedge

Here’s another solution for you to consider. Find something thin that can be used as a wedge. With a pry tool, pull the door frame top out slightly and stick your wedge inside. Some people choose to have an inflatable wedge kit at home, because it’s a popular auto entry tool. This will hold the door frame open. 

From here, you can better get to the lock with the solid items listed below. Whether you use a coat hanger, windshield wiper or antenna, this extra step makes it easy to access the area but will require a few more minutes of your time. If you are having trouble getting to the lock with the original methods, add this step in and see if it helps. 

3. Coat Hanger

Open Car Door With Metal

Back in the day, everyone used the coat hanger trick, and it’s still useful today. Unravel the metal coat hanger with the help of a pair of pliers. What you want is one side that’s hooked, with the rest of it straight. 

Slide the hooked part of the coat hanger into the window through the weather stripping. Once you get it inside the car, you can attempt to push down the unlock button or pull on the manual lock until the door is released. 

4. Antenna

If you drive an older car, you may still have an antenna. This piece can also be helpful to use. Simply unscrew the antenna from the car and prepare to use it as you would the coat hanger.

Maneuver the antenna into the car through the weather stripping. Move it around until you get to the door lock. If it’s a manual lock, you may need to do some wiggling. Otherwise, a power lock should be easy to depress. 

5. String/Shoelace

What do you do if you don’t have anything rigid to use to unlock the car? Some people find success using either a string or shoelace. Both of these two objects can be used in the same way. 

Make a slip knot in the shoelace or string. The loop should be the size of your index finger. Wiggle this string, placing the loop in the upper right corner of your window. Make sure you hold the string with both of your hands. Move it carefully back and forth, just like you are flossing your teeth. As you do this, it should naturally move down closer to the lock. 

If you didn’t think this method was tricky, you are about to find a challenge. The loop of the string needs to go over the lock. Once it’s in place, you can pull on both edges to tighten up the loop. Once you have a solid grip on the lock, you can pull back and it should open. Obviously, this method isn’t going to help much with a power lock button. 

6. Tennis Ball

If you need a last-ditch effort, you might as well try the tennis ball method. However, this one probably works less than any other option. Still, if you can get it to work, it’s pretty cool.

Take a screwdriver or electric drill and make a hole in the tennis ball. Put the holed section over the keyhole of your door and start pushing on it. Pressure is created within the ball that’s supposed to make your car door unlock. 

Before you scoff and say it can’t possibly work, take a look online at all of the videos proving otherwise. It’s a marvel that no one may fully understand. Plus, it’s worth trying before you pay to have the doors opened. 

7. Pick the lock

The most obvious answer to opening a locked car door without the keys is to pick the lock. However, this cannot be done by anyone without the right expertise. So, if you have tried all these methods above, you may need to contact a locksmith who can open the car door for you.

We’ll go over some other people you can contact if you’ve lost your car keys below.

Who Will Unlock Your Car Door?

1. Family/Friend

Is it possible that you have a spare key with a loved one? If so, now would be the time to call in the favor. Maybe you can get a family member to stop at your home and grab the spare key.

It’s always wise to keep another key handy, whether hidden in your home or left with a trusted loved one. You never know when you will be stranded somewhere, in need of some help. 

2. Locksmith

Most people don’t want to choose this method because of the cost involved, but it might be your only option. If you are locked out of your car with no spare key around to help you, a locksmith can get you into your vehicle quickly. 

Call around to some local locksmiths to see how long you will have to wait. If they are already out on other calls, your wait time could be longer than expected. 

Not only that but hiring a locksmith can be quite expensive. Be prepared to put out a good amount of money to get into your vehicle. Depending on what kind of car you drive, you could spend anywhere from $75 to $250 or even more if you need a key cut as well. Aside from that, you will need to prove that the vehicle is yours, so prepare to show your registration or insurance paperwork. 

3. AAA/Roadside Assistance

There’s a way to get a locksmith to come out to your car for free, but it requires that you have a roadside assistance plan. AAA members are entitled to one free lockout service each year with some membership levels. 

The best part about roadside assistance is that the services are normally available around the clock. Simply call AAA or use your app and request assistance. While everything will go the same as when you hire a locksmith, you won’t be responsible for paying the bill. 

4. Police

Locking yourself out of your car might seem like an emergency to you, but it rarely is. Yes, it’s understandable that you have places to be and things to do, but this will never be enough to constitute an emergency situation.

However, if you find yourself locked out of your car for a legitimate emergency, 911 might be the best call you can make. If you have locked your animal or child in the car, do not hesitate to get emergency support, especially when the weather is hot. Either the local police or fire department will arrive fast to ensure you get into your vehicle. There won’t be any waiting around, as there would be with a locksmith or roadside assistance service.

To start, the police may attempt to break into the car with some of the same methods we outlined above, except that they have all of the equipment with them. If those methods fail, be prepared for them to break the window because saving the life of your child or animal is more important than the auto glass. 

You won’t be asked to pay anything for this emergency service. However, if the window gets damaged in the process, you will have to replace it. This damage could cost between $200 and $550 to repair, which is even more than having a locksmith come out. Still, that cost will feel like nothing once you know that your precious baby is safe.

Conclusion: Unlock Car Door Without Key

To open a car door without a key, your car may have an app that will open the doors. With a coat hanger or antenna, you may be able to get the lock open. It’s also possible to use a string, such as a shoelace, or by adding in a wedge. Finally, try to open the lock with a tennis ball trick, but this option gets mixed reviews. 

With a little ingenuity and a few basic items from your car, you can be back in your car in no time. So the next time you get locked out, remember these tips and you’ll be able to get back in quickly and easily.

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Magnus Sellén
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of Mechanicbase. He has been working as a car mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.