Keys Locked Inside the Car? Here’s What to Do Next

Locked Car Key Situation

We’ve all been there – that sinking feeling when you realize your car keys are locked inside the vehicle, creating a locked car key situation. It’s a frustrating and inconvenient situation that can happen to anyone, leaving you stranded and stressed. But fear not; there are steps you can take to resolve this predicament. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what to do next when you find yourself locked out of your car due to a “Locked Car Key Situation” and offer some tips to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

The first and most crucial step when you discover your car keys locked inside your vehicle is to stay calm. While it’s undoubtedly a frustrating moment, panicking won’t help. Take a deep breath and assess the situation.

Check All Doors:

Confirm that all doors, including the trunk and any rear hatch, are indeed locked. Sometimes, you may have accidentally left another entry point unlocked.


Take a look at the car’s windows. Is there an open window you may have forgotten about? If so, you might be able to reach inside and unlock the door.

Spare Key:

Think about whether you have a spare key with you or if someone you trust has one. This can be a quick solution if available.

By remaining calm and methodically assessing your options, you can make the best decisions to resolve the locked car key situation.

Check All Doors and Windows

Once you’ve taken a moment to stay calm and assess the situation, the next step is to check all the doors and windows of your car. Here’s what you should do:

Check All Doors:

Walk around your car and make sure to check all the doors, including the driver’s side, passenger’s side, and rear doors. Sometimes, you may have left one of the doors unlocked.

Trunk or Hatch:

If your car has a trunk or rear hatch, be sure to check it as well. Sometimes, the trunk or hatch may be unlocked, providing an alternate entry point.


Examine the car’s windows. Look for any open windows that you may have forgotten about. An open window can be your ticket to easily unlocking the car from the inside.

By meticulously inspecting all potential entry points, you can determine whether there’s a way to access your locked car without resorting to professional assistance or DIY methods.

Attempt DIY Methods for Unlocking

Once you’ve confirmed that all doors and windows are locked and you lack access to a spare key, it’s time to explore common DIY methods for unlocking a car door. While these techniques may not be effective for all car models and situations, they are worth attempting before seeking professional assistance. Here are three DIY methods:

Coat Hanger Method:
  1. Straighten a Wire Hanger: Find a wire coat hanger and straighten it as much as possible, leaving a hook at one end.
  1. Create a Loop: Form a small loop or hook at the end of the straightened hanger to use for grabbing the lock mechanism.
  1. Insert the Hanger: Carefully insert the hooked end of the hanger through the top corner of the window, aiming to reach the lock button or the door handle inside.
  1. Manipulate the Lock: Use the hook to either press the unlock button or pull the door handle. Be patient and gentle to avoid damaging the door or window.
Tennis Ball Method:
  1. Puncture a Tennis Ball: Make a small hole in a tennis ball or a similar soft, rubbery object.
  1. Press the Ball Against the Lock: Place the hole over the lock cylinder on the door and press firmly. Apply enough pressure to create a seal between the ball and the lock.
  1. Apply Force: Squeeze or push the tennis ball hard to force air into the lock cylinder. The sudden increase in pressure might pop the lock open.
Shoestring Method:
  1. Tie a Slipknot: Create a slipknot using a long shoestring or a similar flexible and strong string.
  1. Insert the String: Carefully insert the string through the top corner of the door, aiming for the lock or door handle inside.
  1. Manipulate the Lock: Pull the string in different directions while trying to catch the lock button or door handle. This may unlock the door if successful.

Remember that these DIY methods may not work on all car models; however, attempting them requires patience and caution. If you’re uncomfortable or unable to unlock your car using these methods, it’s best to seek professional assistance to avoid damaging your vehicle.

Call for Professional Assistance

If the DIY methods haven’t been successful in unlocking your car, or if you’re uncomfortable attempting them, it’s time to call for professional assistance. Here’s what you should do:

Contact a Locksmith:

Look up the contact information for a reputable locksmith in your area. You can often find locksmiths who specialise in automotive lockouts and emergency services.

Provide Details:

When you call the locksmith, provide them with all relevant details, including your location, car make and model, and the fact that your keys are locked inside. This information will help them come prepared.

Verify Credentials:

Make sure the locksmith you contact is licensed and insured. This ensures that you’re dealing with a legitimate professional.

Ask for an Estimate:

Before the locksmith arrives, ask for an estimate of the cost for their services. This will help you avoid any surprises when it’s time to pay.

Stay Safe:

While waiting for the locksmith, ensure you are in a safe location, especially if it’s nighttime or you’re in an unfamiliar area. Keep your phone charged and be ready to provide any additional information if needed.

Professional locksmiths have the experience and tools to safely unlock your car without causing damage. Moreover, they can typically arrive quickly to assist you in gaining access to your vehicle. It’s important to remember that it’s essential to choose a reputable locksmith, as this ensures a smooth and secure resolution to your locked car key situation.

Preventing Future Lockouts

Experiencing a locked car key situation can be a frustrating ordeal, but there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening again in the future. Here are some tips to help you avoid future car lockouts:

Spare Key:

Consider keeping a spare car key in a secure and easily accessible location. You can give a spare key to a trusted family member or friend, or use a magnetic lockbox designed for spare key storage.

Keyless Entry:

If your vehicle supports keyless entry or a smart key system, take advantage of this technology. It allows you to unlock your car without physically inserting a key.

Check Keys Before Exiting:

Develop a habit of checking that you have your keys with you before exiting the car. This simple routine can save you from lockout situations.

Remote Locking:

Use your car’s remote locking system to ensure your car is locked when you’re not inside. Some vehicles have automatic locking features that engage after a certain period of inactivity.

Smartphone Apps:

If your car has a smartphone app for remote locking and unlocking, consider installing it. These apps can be a convenient way to control your vehicle’s locks.

Car Maintenance:

Regularly maintain your vehicle’s locking mechanisms. Lubricate locks and handles to prevent them from becoming stiff or malfunctioning.

Locksmith Contact:

Keep the contact information for a reputable locksmith saved in your phone or stored in your vehicle. Having this information readily available can be helpful in case you need assistance.

Emergency Kit:

Consider the importance of keeping an emergency kit in your car. This kit should include basic tools such as a flashlight, a small wire cutter (useful for DIY lockout attempts), and a phone charger.

Key Finder Devices:

Invest in a key finder device that attaches to your keychain. These devices use Bluetooth technology to help you locate your keys if they are misplaced.

By implementing these preventive measures and staying mindful of your keys and locking habits, you can significantly reduce the risk of future car lockouts and the associated frustration and inconvenience.


While finding yourself locked out of your car can be a challenging and frustrating experience, it’s important to remember that there are solutions and preventive measures you can take to navigate such situations more smoothly. By staying calm, assessing the situation, and attempting DIY methods when appropriate, you may successfully regain access to your car.

By employing preventive measures such as spare keys and keyless entry systems, you can reduce the chances of future car lockouts. Additionally, staying prepared and well-informed ensures that a locked car key situation won’t disrupt your day for long, thus allowing you to get back on the road quickly and safely.

Related Articles