Have you ever locked yourself out of the car? Most of us have at one point or another. With smartphones and easy access to tutorials and videos online, it’s pretty easy to find a plethora of ways to do something, car unlocking included. Well, as easy as some of those options may be, don’t be tempted! More often than not, they will cause more damage than help. As professional auto locksmiths, we’ve seen our fair share of car mishaps from people who tried the DIY route to open their vehicle after locking the keys inside. Here’s our take on the various pop-a-lock methods you might find online and what the pitfalls are. Be sure to check back to part one for further methods and their issues.
Using a Slim Jim
A slim jim is a specific lock-popping tool that, yes, auto locksmiths occasionally use. You can often find one at local auto parts stores, home improvement stores, and online. You’ve probably seen a slim jim being used in movies; it’s a slim tool designed to slide down between the weather stripping and door so you can search around and pop the lock by way of the internal lock mechanism. The downside is that a slim jim generally only works on older cars. Because it’s such an easy tool to get a hold of, most automotive manufacturers have altered the lock design to the point that a slim jim won’t help. In addition, it’s a bit like the wire hanger method we discussed last time, and you can damage your window and the internal mechanisms of the door if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The Plastic Wedge
This is a pretty self-explanatory option. With a plastic wedge, like a door stop, you can theoretically wedge the door open enough to grab a stick or thin pole and reach inside to press the unlock button. Of course, if you have an alarm, that wedge prying the door open will likely set that alarm off. And, like prying the door open with a screwdriver, you run the risk of denting or damaging the window and frame as you wedge it open. The other issue, of course, is supplies. If you don’t have a wedge handy, this option won’t be very beneficial when you’re stranded somewhere.
The Tennis Ball Trick
Now, this is a weird but popular pop-a-lock trick that’s been circulating for a while. The idea is that, if you punch a small hole in a tennis ball, set the hole over the key slot in your door, and push on the tennis ball firmly, the air pressure being forced from the tennis ball will be sufficient to force the lock to disengage. Sounds crazy, right? Well, the upside is that you aren’t very likely to damage your car trying this. The downside is that it doesn’t actually work the way videos claim. The Mythbusters pretty conclusively proved this method to be a failure.
Call The Cops
Now, this option is actually a decent option when you lock yourself out of your car. Many police do have the tools to unlock doors. However, there are two caveats to this. First, you’re at the mercy of their schedules. A police officer will come unlock your car, but emergencies and most other tasks will take priority over your locked car. The other part is that police aren’t necessarily trained in popping locks the way an auto locksmith is, so you may end up with damage to the lock if the officer assisting you doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Ultimately, the best decision when you’re locked out of your car is to call the professionals. For safe and speedy service in the Philadelphia area, contact Top Notch Locksmith today!