First thing, don’t panic. Where are your keys? Did you lose them? Are they locked inside the car? Have your car keys been stolen?
If a theft has occurred, contact your insurance right away. Have you locked your keys in your vehicle? Whatever it is that has led to you being locked out of your car, there is a simple solution. Call Chicago Car Keys and we will come to you in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed. We will unlock the car and produce new keys for you if necessary. If you don’t have the original set we can still cut you a new set and get you on your way. Worried about the cost for such a convenient service? Use our search feature to see the exact cost. THERE ARE NO EXTRA FEES for the convenience of us coming to you!
Our mobile technicians have the training, experience and equipment needed to get you back into your car and back to your day. No need to stand around frustrated, call us right away, let us get you mobile again!
Considerations When Unlocking Car Doors
Without a doubt, leaving your keys inside your car has to be one of the most frustrating and stressful things that can happen to you.
Car door unlocking is a skill recommended to be left to professionals, as most cars now have special tamper-proof features that will frustrate an amateur and potentially damage the locking mechanism.
Methods for unlocking a car door
Unlocking a car door without the proper key will depend on the design of the lock. If you have an older car, the method may be somewhat easier compared to a newer car with a proximity or keyless entry system.
The more obvious methods which you may have seen in movies and TV shows, would be by using a wire hanger or a flat steel bar to jimmy the lock through the weather strip. Using this implement, one tries to find the mechanism that unlocks the door lock through feel.
There is also known as the string method. This technique only works with door locks which are situated on to the door sill, and which have knobs that resemble golf tees at the base of your door window. An alternative method is a plastic strap that you insert through the door frame to hook the lock knob upwards. Note that newer cars don’t utilize that to prevent unauthorized entry.
Another method may be to use a stiff piece of wire or steel rod to press on the power lock switch normally located on the driver’s side armrest. A screwdriver or wedge is used to pry open the upper corner of the door so that it will flex enough to slide the wire or rod in, thereby allowing you to operate the button. A variation on using a screwdriver is to buy a metal or inflatable wedge that you insert between the car body and door frame in order to wedge the door frame open by a couple of inches. This method is often used by tow truck companies who are called upon to unlock doors.
Professional locksmiths may use lock picks, bump keys, and other specialized implements to open door locks. Bump keys resemble ordinary keys, but cut down along the length of the key. They need practice and skill to be successfully used, but are very effective in unlocking tumbler-type locks. Lock picks are a combination pick and flat implement used to well, pick the lock. Using this tool takes more practice and skill than using a bump key.
As a last gasp measure, you can break (or remove the weather strip on) the quarter window glass and reach for the lock. With the exception of breaking the window glass, you can see that these methods of unlocking a car door all involve a degree of skill to open the door and to avoid damage.
Damage risks of unlocking car doors without a key
The earlier techniques described above all involve some form of forcing the lock, tumbler mechanism, the car door or the door seals. Consequences of lack of skill or knowledge on the part of the person doing the unlocking could be damaging the lock to the point that the lock assembly needs to be replaced, tearing the weatherstrip or door seal, scratching the window glass or paint, or mis-aligning the door frame.
Obviously, forcing a car door open is an extreme solution, and the damage that may be incurred will have to repaired either immediately, or down the road when you sell the vehicle. If you’re the owner attempting to open the car door, pile on the frustration, stress, and anger of a day gone wrong and you’ll see how one can easily escalate the damage on your beloved ride.
Using a professional auto locksmith to unlock a car door is recommended for faster entry and eliminating the risk of damage to your vehicle.
Technologies used in car door locks today
Car door locks have evolved considerably in order to deter theft. Believe it or not, an early automobile security feature involved detachable steering wheels. This may have been less convenient, obviously. Imagine bringing your steering wheel in with you to your office and hanging it up next to your coat! The more recent common wafer/pin and tumbler lock mechanism was invented in the 1780s. Various improvements and innovations on the original design has kept this technology more or less viable up to today. It took electronics and miniaturization to take locking technology to the next level.
These days, even economy models offer transponder keys as a basic security feature. The plastic key fob is paired with the familiar steel blade, but the electronics inside the fob will need to be paired to the corresponding circuit in the steering column to start the car. The car’s alarm will be triggered and the car will not engage the ignition circuit if the key and vehicle circuits do not recognize each other.
Some vehicles are also equipped with keyless entry, where you press a button on the fob, or a transmitter and sensor pair senses their proximity to each other and unlocks the car without further action from the owner. This proximity feature also allows the car to be started using just a starter button on the dash or console. Touch panel controls on the door have also appeared on some cars, with the combinations set by the owner, and with individual combinations assignable to specific individuals. These electronic systems are connected to various security systems in the cars, from alarms and immobilizers to smartphone notifications and GPS tracking.
The dark side to this convenience is that hackers can, and have, managed to bypass these electronic security features to open cars for ransack, or even drive away the vehicle.
An Auto Locksmith’s Tools of the Trade
Some of the tools professional locksmiths use to unlock car doors are available to the everyday man. Lockpicks, bump keys, Slim Jims, manual and pneumatic wedges, shaped rods – all of these can be found for sale online. And at reasonable prices too. DIY instructions for handmade lockpicks are even available online. But without appropriate training and practice using these tools, chances are you’ll just fumble in your attempts to unlock a car door.
Tools for electronic systems like fob encoders are also available, but these tools are likely too expensive for occasional use. With the more sophisticated systems offered by luxury car makers, owners often have no choice but to request roadside service from the dealer. Savvy electronics hobbyists have also been known to build homemade devices that can capture rolling codes as well as defeat electronic security features. Aware of this threat, manufacturers continually innovate to make vehicle systems more secure.
Save your time and eliminate the risk of damage to your vehicle. If you find yourself locked out of your vehicle, contact a professional.