Locked keys inside your car can be a frustrating and inconvenient experience. Whether you’re in a rush to get somewhere or it’s an unexpected hiccup in your day, knowing how to quickly and effectively resolve the situation can save you a lot of stress and time. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this common mishap with ease.

Discovering that you’ve locked your keys in your vehicle is one of the most exasperating experiences. Whether you’re pressed for time or simply not paying attention, it’s an occurrence that can catch anyone off guard. Nonetheless, there’s no cause for alarm. With the correct strategy, you can swiftly address the problem and resume your journey.

In this article, we’ll delve into the steps to take when you’re locked out of your car.

locked keys

Keys stuck in the car? This Is What You Should Do.

1. Stay Calm

The first and foremost step is maintaining your composure and quickly evaluating the situation. It is imperative not to panic as it could aggravate the circumstances and cloud your judgment. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that solutions are always available to overcome any obstacle. Panic can lead to hasty decisions, which might worsen the situation or cause unnecessary damage to your vehicle. Staying calm allows you to think clearly and assess your options logically.

2. Check for Spare Keys

It’s a good idea to check if you have spare keys. Look in your pockets, purse, or bag, as you might have a spare key you’ve forgotten about. Additionally, ask someone nearby if they have access to your spare set. It’s common for people to keep spare keys with trusted friends, family members, or at their place of work in situations like this. If you’re at home or near a place where you typically store spare keys, it’s worth checking there first. Having a spare key can save you a lot of hassle and prevent the need for further intervention.

3. Use a Spare Key or Keyless Entry

If you don’t have a spare key on hand, check if your car has a keyless entry system. Some vehicles can unlock the doors using a code or remote control. Refer to your owner’s manual or contact your car manufacturer for instructions on using the keyless entry system. Many modern cars come equipped with advanced keyless entry systems that allow you to unlock the car using your smartphone or a special app provided by the manufacturer. If you have previously set up such an app, this could be the quickest and easiest way to gain entry to your car.

4. Call for Assistance

If you cannot access spare keys or use keyless entry, it’s time to call for help. Contact a trusted locksmith or roadside assistance service to assist you. They have the expertise and tools to safely unlock your car without causing damage. Many insurance policies and automobile clubs offer roadside assistance as part of their services. Organizations like AAA can provide prompt help, usually within an hour. Always keep the contact numbers for these services in your phone or wallet for quick access in emergencies.

5. Consider DIY Methods

While it’s generally recommended to seek professional help, you can try some DIY methods if you’re confident and have the necessary tools. Here are a few options:

  • Using a Wire Coat Hanger: If your car has manual locks, straighten a wire coat hanger and create a small hook at one end. Carefully slide the hanger between the window and the weather stripping, then maneuver it to hook around the lock and pull it up.
  • Using a Slim Jim Tool: A slim Jim is a specialized tool designed to unlock car doors. Insert it between the window and the weather stripping and use it to manipulate the lock mechanism. This method requires some skill and may not work on all cars, especially those with modern electronic locks.
  • Using an Inflatable Wedge: Create a small gap at the top of the door using an inflatable wedge or a similar tool. Once the gap is wide enough, insert a rod or a long stick to press the unlock button inside the car. Be cautious with this method to avoid damaging the door or the weather stripping.

Attempting these DIY methods carries the risk of damaging your vehicle. If you’re not confident in your ability to use these tools properly, it’s best to wait for professional assistance.

6. Stay Safe

While waiting for assistance, ensure your safety by staying in a well-lit and populated area, especially if it’s late at night. If you’re in an unsafe location or feel threatened, do not hesitate to call the police for help. Your personal safety should always take precedence over the inconvenience of being locked out of your car. If possible, seek shelter in a nearby store, gas station, or any other public place until help arrives.

7. Prevent Future Lockouts

Once you’ve regained access to your car, take steps to prevent future lockouts. Consider the following preventive measures:

  • Invest in a Magnetic Key Box: A magnetic key box can securely hide a spare key on your vehicle. Place it in a discreet location under your car where it’s not easily noticeable to potential thieves.
  • Use Keyless Entry: If your car supports keyless entry, make it a habit to carry your key fob separately from your main key ring. This reduces the risk of locking the key inside the car.
  • Develop a Routine: Create a habit of always double-checking your pockets, purse, or bag for your keys before locking your car. This simple step can significantly reduce the chances of a lockout.
  • Smartphone Apps: Many modern cars have smartphone apps that allow you to unlock your vehicle remotely. Ensure you have such an app installed and set up on your phone.
Locked key inside a car


Locking your keys in your car is an inconvenience, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day. By staying calm, assessing your situation, and knowing your options, you can resolve the issue quickly and safely. Keeping a list of emergency contacts, including roadside assistance and locksmith services, can help you act swiftly when needed. Additionally, taking preventive measures can save you from future lockouts. Remember, while it’s possible to handle some situations on your own, professional help is often the safest and most efficient solution.

Losing your car keys can be a vexing situation, but it’s crucial to stay composed and act correctly. Whether you possess backup keys, make use of keyless entry, or have to seek expert help, there are ways to recover entry to your car. By adhering to these measures and being ready, you can reduce the hassle of being locked out again.