Every year, untold numbers of drivers either lose their car keys or lock them inside their cars. Fortunately, it is possible to get a car door unlocked without a key. When faced with this frustrating situation, many people try to unlock their cars using coat hangers or magnets, but these may not work on modern cars, and they might damage car windows, doors, locking mechanisms or paint jobs. A car is a major investment, and calling a locksmith is the safest and most reliable way to unlock it in an emergency.
Professional locksmiths can use several methods to open locked cars. The choice of tools and procedures depends on the type of car and its locking system. Here are a few of the most common tools a locksmith uses to unlock a car safely.
To unlock a car, the locksmith has to access its locking mechanism from outside. This requires creating a gap between the door or window and the car’s interior so that another instrument can be inserted to release the lock. Several types of simple wedges can accomplish this. The typical locksmith’s tool kit includes various plastic, vinyl or metal wedges. If necessary, a small, thin wedge can create enough space to insert a larger one. Metal wedges are the strongest, but they can damage a car’s exterior or window glass if not used cautiously. An inflatable air wedge is inserted in a flat state and then pumped up to gently widen the gap between the window and the weather-stripping.
Long Reach Tools
After gaining access to the car’s interior, the locksmith inserts a long tool to manually pull open lock tabs or press buttons to unlock the door. For older cars, a tool called a Slim Jim may work. This is a long, thin metal strip that the locksmith can insert between the window and the weather-stripping to grab the lock rod. Slim Jims designed for various makes and models of cars are available. Many newer cars have built-in defenses against Slim Jims, and they are not always safe to use on delicate lock systems. Other reach tools consist of long, slender steel rods. Some are solid, and others are bendable. The ends of some reach tools form an angle to assist the locksmith in maneuvering corners and awkward spaces. Other tools have a lasso or loop pull at the end to grab handles or lock rods. A thin sleeve placed between the reach tool and the car’s body protects against damage to the glass or paint.
Automotive Lock Picks
Professional locksmiths can also use lock pick sets to release locks without manipulating the car’s doors or windows. These picks are available for both foreign and domestic makes and models. A special automotive torsion wrench assists by placing tension on the lock cylinder while the locksmith picks the lock.
In the past, some people have relied on the police to unlock cars in an emergency. Although they do have the capability to get into cars, they do not have the professional tools to unlock them without risking expensive damage or rendering locking systems unstable. For this reason, many police departments no longer respond to simple car lock-outs unless it is a true emergency, such as when a driver or passenger is in physical danger.
Trust the Local Experts
Car lock-outs are extremely common across the country, and wherever they happen, help is just a call away. When Miami residents get locked out of their cars, expert Miami locksmiths will be available 24 hours a day, and they are trained to arrive quickly. Trusting a qualified professional ensures fast, efficient service without putting the car or its driver’s personal security at risk.
Featured photo credit: Pretty girl showing the car key via Shutterstock
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