How to Unlock a Car Door: Three Easy Methods

by Bryan Right | Last Updated: 08/14/2018

How to Unlock a Car Door: Three Easy Methods

Have you ever just stood outside your car helplessly looking inside and seeing your car keys dangling from the ignition? In cases like this, we are stuck thinking if the only solution is to smash the window or spend hours looking for someone who knows how to unlock a car door. Yet are those the only options really?

Well, actually, there are a couple of techniques you can try to open a locked car door: the string method, rod and wedge method, and the clothes hanger method. Let us take a look at each one to determine which is the best technique.

In this article, we will explore some of the most common techniques or tricks that can help you unlock the car door. So, if you are locked outside of the door, don’t panic, there are some simple DIY processes available.

How to Unlock a Car Door

Getting locked out of their own car is a common problem that we have all experienced one time or more. We are humans, after all, and one of the things that make us humans is our ability to make mistakes. So, it can happen to anyone at any time and any place.

The fact that it is a common occurrence tells us that we should be prepared for it. This means that learning how to unlock a car door in advance even when you believe you are very careful or smart. It is much better to do it on your own than to waste time calling a locksmith and paying a heavy fee.

The String Method

This is an easy and simple method that requires a string, commonly available in every household. However, you also need to know how to tie a slipknot before you can use this method. It is not that difficult; a quick search on YouTube can help you learn it within a minute.

Congratulations! You have unlocked your car successfully with a mere string. Yet, here is the catch: this method only works on older model cars with post-style door locks that are pulled up.

If you have a newer car with a different car lock, this method will not work. Do not get disheartened yet, though. We have two more methods you can learn and try to do on your own.

The Rod and Wedge Method

In this case, you also need to create a slight opening on the car door using the wedge or thin wood. Place the piece of wood or doorstop on the top corner of the door to create some space for you to use the rod.

Here is another catch: compared to the string method, the chances of damaging your car is higher in wedge and rod method. First, you need to create more space for the rod by forcing the door away from the car’s body. Second, the inappropriate use of rod can also leave scratch marks. So, you need to be very precise and very careful with this method.

The Clothes Hanger Method

What if the lock of your car is neither a pull one as in the first case nor placed at the armrest like in newer models as in the second door? What if it is located on the side of the door? In such a case, both of the above methods will be of no use.

It might take several attempts and adjustments before the hook can catch the lock, so don’t get frustrated after a couple of tries. Keep trying it, and the chances are, you will get inside after few more attempts.


See, it is not that difficult. Mistakes happen, and forgetting our car keys inside the car is something that almost all of us face once in a lifetime, no matter how careful we are. So, it is good to be prepared for the situation instead of feeling clueless when the time comes. Lucky for you, you now have this guide to help you out.

Then again, keep in mind that these are things you can try to do to unlock your car, but if nothing works, don’t try too hard and ruin your car in the process. If the above methods are not working, it is better to call a locksmith who specializes in locked cars.