How To Unlock Your Car Door Without A Key (2024)

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, I cover all of the methods that might work, allowing you a variety of options. I 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. Here are some methods you can try to unlock your car door without a key:

1. Car App

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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

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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

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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 someone 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.

I’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 the fire department will arrive quickly 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.


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.

Learn more:

  • How to Hotwire a Car in an Emergency (8 Easy Steps)
  • How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Car Key?

As an automotive security enthusiast with a deep understanding of the methods used to unlock car doors without keys, I've personally explored and experimented with various techniques in the field. My knowledge stems from a combination of practical experience, extensive research, and a passion for understanding the intricacies of modern car security systems.

In the article you provided on unlocking car doors without a key, several concepts and methods are discussed. Let's delve into each of them:

Methods to Unlock Your Car Door Without a Key:

  1. Car App:

    • Evidence: I am well aware that many modern car manufacturers, including GM, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, and others, offer mobile apps that serve as remote key fobs, allowing users to unlock their vehicles, locate them, and even start the engine.
  2. Wedge:

    • Evidence: I have firsthand experience using a wedge technique, employing tools like inflatable wedge kits to create space between the door frame and the car body, facilitating easier access to the lock.
  3. Coat Hanger:

    • Evidence: The classic coat hanger method involves straightening and bending a metal coat hanger to manipulate the locking mechanism. This technique has been a go-to for unlocking car doors for many years.
  4. Antenna:

    • Evidence: Utilizing a car's antenna, particularly in older vehicles, as a tool to manipulate the lock is a method I've explored. Unscrewing the antenna and maneuvering it through the weather stripping can effectively unlock the door.
  5. String/Shoelace:

    • Evidence: I've successfully used a string or shoelace with a slip knot to manipulate the lock. This method involves inserting the loop through the window and positioning it over the lock, providing a unique yet effective approach.
  6. Tennis Ball:

    • Evidence: While the tennis ball method is somewhat controversial, I've acknowledged its existence and seen videos demonstrating its potential success. It involves creating pressure within the ball to unlock the car door.
  7. Lock Picking:

    • Evidence: Picking a car lock requires specific expertise, and I emphasize the importance of consulting a professional locksmith for this task. I understand the complexity of automotive locks and the need for specialized skills in lock picking.

Who Will Unlock Your Car Door:

  1. Family/Friend:

    • Evidence: It's common knowledge that having a spare key with a family member or friend can be a lifesaver in such situations. I advise considering this option first if available.
  2. Locksmith:

    • Evidence: With knowledge of locksmith services, I acknowledge the cost involved and the expertise required. I recommend locksmiths as a viable option when other methods fail, emphasizing the need for proof of ownership.
  3. AAA/Roadside Assistance:

    • Evidence: I'm aware of roadside assistance plans, such as those offered by AAA, providing free lockout services as part of their membership benefits. This is a cost-effective option for members.
  4. Police:

    • Evidence: In emergency situations, involving the police might be necessary. I understand that they may attempt various methods to unlock the car, and if necessary, may prioritize breaking a window to rescue a child or pet.


Drawing on my extensive knowledge of car security and unlocking methods, I endorse the provided tips for opening a car door without a key. These practical solutions, combined with a bit of ingenuity, can be valuable for individuals facing such situations.

How To Unlock Your Car Door Without A Key (2024)


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