Anyone who has locked themselves out of their car has probably stumbled through the wide array of different “guaranteed to work” car lock popping methods that are available on the internet. While some of those options may actually work, most of them are more likely to damage your locks, break the window, or wreak havoc instead of helping. As professional auto locksmiths, we’ve seen our share of interesting car unlocking techniques that customers have used. And, unfortunately, most of those methods don’t work. So, before you go trawling through the internet looking for a cheap DIY way to unlock your car, do a double-check because you could end up damaging your car in the process. Here are a few of the more notable options out there and why they don’t work:

Using a Shoelace

As far as DIY car unlocking options go, this one isn’t the worst offender. There are videos online which show how you can tie an adjustable loop at the midpoint of a shoelace, wiggle the lace diagonally into the car, and with a bit of precision, place the loop over the interior lock and pop it up. As far as unlocking measures go, it’s a fairly easy one and can be done with things you may actually have available when locked out of your car. The downside? First, it’s not as easy as it looks to wedge a shoelace into your car door and get it positioned just-so to unlock it—and if you have a sideways lock, it’s not going work at all. Second, if your car has an alarm system, you’re pretty much guaranteed to set it off while doing so. It’s probably a good idea to avoid this one so you don’t have the police called on you for burglary.

The Coat Hanger Method

This is another of the more prevalent methods that show up online for car unlocking hacks. In this method, you would untwist a wire coat hanger, create a small hook at one end, and wedge it between the weather strip and glass of your window to fish around until you find the locking mechanism. Of course, if you don’t actually know what that looks like for your car or where it is, you could also tug wiring loose or otherwise damage the various inner workings of your car door. It’s probably better to avoid trying this if you want to avoid paying to replace a window or repair your car door.

The Pry and Poke Method

In this suggested option, videos show how “easy” it can be to pry open the door with a sturdy but slim tool like a screwdriver and wedge a long stick or a narrow pole in the opening to press the unlock button. While this option can work for most cars no matter what lock type you have, you face a couple of different problems: you may set your car alarm off trying to pry the door open enough to fit a stick in, you could break the window or dent the door/frame prying it open, and you probably don’t have the items handy, so you’d have to make a trip to the local hardware store to get what you’d need. All in all, it might look neat on video, but this is a really impractical option.

But wait, there’s more! There are plenty other DIY pop-a-lock methods that people have come up with, so stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series for even more inventive ways to open your car. And, if you do manage to lock yourself out of your car, save yourself time, hassle, and potential car damage. Contact Top Notch Locksmith for auto locksmith services in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas!