The Shining was scary, but do you know what’s even more terrifying?
Getting locked out of your car.
Coming out of the store, large grocery bags in both hands, you put one down and reach into your pocket. Alas! It’s not there. Pretty soon, you’re tapping all over in search of the keys. Then you suddenly remember something. You peek inside your automobile. There it is! The precious car keys sitting on the front seat. But the car’s locked. All you can do is haul a heavy sigh wondering how this happened.
Sounds familiar? It happens to everyone. Here’s what you should do if you get locked out of your car.
1. Consider Your Options
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath. Stay calm. Panicking will only complicate things. Once you’ve collected your thoughts, it’s time to evaluate the situation:
- Is it an emergency?
- Are you willing to wait for help?
- Can you remember where you hid the spare key?
Recheck your pockets and purse. Also, try to look for any unlocked entry to your car. It’ll be awkward to call for help only to find that you can open up the back door with ease.
2. Call 911
You never know what kind of danger lurks around these days. If you’re worried about your safety, don’t hesitate to dial 911. Most of the time, the police can properly open the door using specialized tools and techniques.
3. Ask for Roadside Assistance
Getting locked out of your car isn’t a problem if you have roadside assistance covered by your insurance policy. All you need to do is call the emergency hotline. Note that some car insurance companies don’t include roadside assistance in their services. Make sure to inquire about your policy particulars and keep the roadside assistance number stored in your phone.
4. Get a Temporary Key
If you don’t like any of the options above, you can ask your car dealer for a replacement key. You just need to show them your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to prove that you own a car.
5. Ask for Help from a Locksmith
Car dealers are sometimes too busy to resolve minor cases, such as locked doors. Remember, they’re multi-billion dollar companies that cater to thousands of customers. You might have to wait for a while before they get to you. In this case, it’s more practical to hire a locksmith. One can properly unlock your door within a few minutes. For a lower price, too!
6. Unlock the Door Yourself
Waiting for the police, or roadside assistance, or the locksmith to arrive is no fun. Not to mention the fee you have to pay for their services. If you’re looking to save time and money, you can always do it yourself.
Here are some hacks to unlock your car without a key:
- Ball Method: Make a hole in a tennis ball, place it over the keyhole, and push. The air pressure should force the lock open.
- Shoelace Loop: This trick only works on cars with pull-up safety mechanisms. Make a small loop with a shoelace. Now slowly insert it into the door. Get the loop around the lock, then pull it up.
- Coat Hanger Trick: Works on cars with horizontal locks. Twist a wire hanger into a hook, then insert it through the door. Get a hold of the lock, then pull.
- Rod Method: You need to be very careful in performing this procedure. Pry open the top of your car, then insert something to hold it in place. Slowly insert a rod through the gap and poke the locking mechanism until the door pops open.
- Inflatable Wedge: A much safer tool to open your car door. The downside? Quite expensive, but always comes in handy.
Remember to perform these DIY methods at your discretion. It can solve your problem or make it worse. That’s why you should ask for help from an expert to be on the safe side.
How to Prevent Locking Yourself Out in the Future
You can never tell when an awful situation like this will happen again. It’s better to be safe than sorry. So, it’s best to:
- Keep several spare keys.
- Make it a habit to check and secure your keys before leaving the car.
- Attach the keys to a keychain.
- Lock your doors on the outside.
- Assign one spare key to a trusted friend or family member.
That’s about it for unlocking your car. Hope it doesn’t happen to you again in the future.