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Tools Professional Locksmiths Use to Help During Vehicle Lockouts

February 6, 2019


Locking your car is incredibly easy, generally involving just the touch of a button. Since it’s so easy to do, though, it is common to lock your car without paying much attention to the process. Unfortunately, mindlessly locking your car could result in accidentally locking yourself out. Here are three tools professional locksmiths can use to get you back into your car.

locksmith tools for cars

Wedges and Probes

The safest and most common way to gain entry to your car is to wedge the door open and then use a probe to unlock it. An automotive wedge is a soft, flexible piece of rubber that resembles a household door stop. An air wedge is an inflatable bag that is slipped into the doorway and then inflated. Both types of wedges are considered harmless to your car when used by a professional, but both could cause damage if not used correctly.

There are a few different types of probes, as not all car locks are identical. For a horizontal pushbutton lock, a simple rod is sufficient. For a sliding lock or vertical pushbutton panel, a hook is a better choice. A hook may also be used to retrieve keys, while a lasso tool is best for old-fashioned upright locks. Regardless of the probe that is selected, the door must be wedged open far enough to get the probe inside without scratching the car.

Closed Doorway Tools

As the name implies, a closed doorway tool (such as a Slim Jim) does not require the door to be wedged open. Instead, the tool is slipped between the window glass and the weather stripping. Like probes, there are different types of closed doorway tools for different types of locks.

The inside of a car door contains wiring and electronic components that could be damaged by a closed doorway tool, so these tools should only be used by professional locksmiths. In general, the wedge and probe method is considered superior as there is less possibility for damage.


Lockpicking is not as common for cars as it is for homes. If you have an older car, though, it could work. Different cars have different types of locks, such as pin and tumbler locks or wafer locks, so a variety of lockpicking tools are needed.

If you have a newer car, though, lockpicking simply will not work. That’s because your car key has a transponder chip that communicates with the car’s onboard computer. Lockpicking basically acts as a fake key without a transponder. The car’s computer will assume that the “key” is fake, and will not allow the lock to open.

At one time, gaining entry to a car was as simple as bending a wire coat hanger into the correct position. Today, though, improved locks and transponder technology have made it nearly impossible to break into your own car. Always call a professional locksmith, who has the tools and the knowledge to safely gain entry without damaging your car.

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