How to Pick Car Lock — Common Ways

If you don’t know how to pick a car lock, locking yourself out of your car with no spare key nearby can quickly become a nightmare.

Fortunately, most car locks are simple to open, though you will require the appropriate tools for the task. You can pick a car lock using a variety of techniques, but which one you choose will depend on the kind of lock your car has.

Therefore, we’re going to demonstrate how to pick a car lock using various tools in this article.


What Are the Most Common Types of Car Locks?

When you find yourself locked out of your car, the first thing you must do is identify the type of lock you are attempting to pick.

Because car locks vary from model to model and are not universal, picking a lock can be challenging. Here are a few of the most typical car lock types.

Slider Lock

Regardless of the manufacturer, this kind of lock can be found on the majority of current automobile models. They are frequently used on vehicles with lock cylinders and keyless entry fobs. It may take some practice before you can successfully pick this kind of lock because it is not at all simple to do so.

Pin Tumbler Locks

Due to the auto industry’s decades-long switch to wafer locks, pin tumbler locks are less common today. However, you can still find these locks on vintage automobiles, and you can open them with a tension wrench and a pick rake.

Disk Detainer Locks

Disk detainer locks are now only used by a select few automakers. It is simple to tell if your car has this kind of lock because the key profile is different from that of most other vehicles. Even with some skill, picking disk detainer locks is not difficult.

Wafer Locks

On a wide variety of vehicles, this is by far the most common style of car lock. Two wafers make up the lock, and there are internal mechanisms that can raise or lower the wafers. It is possible to pick this kind of car lock using a metal rod, a coat hanger, or even a shoestring.

Methods of Picking a Car Lock

Your choice of tools to pick a car lock will depend on the type of vehicle you own. A car pick set that includes all the tools you’ll need to pick a car lock is another option in addition to the ones we’ve already discussed in this article.

Using An Auto Jiggler to Pick a Car Lock

The simplest way to pick a car lock, but you’ll need a set of bump keys to use this technique to actually unlock your vehicle. In essence, all you have to do is insert a bump key into the lock and experiment with different movements until you succeed in opening the lock.

The most typical kind of automotive bump key is referred to as a double wafer, and it is compatible with the majority of vehicles built before 2005. The bump key you intend to use must, however, match the lock on your car in order for it to work.

Given that it depends on the bump keys you have, it is difficult to predict whether this method will be successful, but with any luck, you should be able to unlock your car.

Picking a Car Lock With a Coat Hanger

If you decide to use a coat hanger to pick your car lock, prepare yourself to have patience because there’s a good chance that your initial few attempts won’t work.

Untangle a wire coat hanger before you begin, and then make a hook at one of the ends. Proceed to insert the part of the wire where you made a hook between the car window and the door.

Use the wire to get to the locking mechanism, but be aware that you might also hit other components inside the door of the car. Be extremely cautious because it’s simple to damage the door’s electronics.

Opening a Car Lock With a Slim Jim

Given that it was featured in so many movies featuring car heists, you probably already know how to pick a lock on a car.

A slim jim, which is just a flat piece of metal that is 1.5 to 2 feet long and functions similarly to a coat hanger hook made of wire, is all that is needed. So, all you have to do is try to reach the locking mechanism by inserting a slim jim between the window and the weather stripping.

The car door will unlock if you pull the sheet of metal up once you feel the lock moving.

Using a Screwdriver and a Rod to Pick a Car Lock

Although it’s not difficult to damage your car if you’re not careful, this method of picking a car lock is rather straightforward.

A metal rod with a tiny hook at the end and a screwdriver are all you need. Try to create as much space as you can with the screwdriver between the door and the body of your car.

To unlock your car, reach inside using the metal rod and press the unlock button. The process of using this method to unlock a car won’t take more than one minute, but it might not work as well on all kinds of car locks.

Unlocking a Car With a Shoestring

Although it may seem a little odd to open a car with a shoestring, it is not impossible. But only cars with upright locking mechanisms can be unlocked with a shoestring.

Additionally, you must understand how to tie a slip knot. Therefore, if you still want to try this method, tie a slip knot in the middle of the shoestring without tightening it.

Holding both ends of the bent shoestring, start sliding it into your car from the upper corner of the door. Place the slip knot around the lock, tighten it, and raise the shoestring. Don’t give up if it takes more than one attempt to succeed with this one.


Picking a Car Lock With a Wedge

This approach is the best choice if you don’t want to take the chance of damaging your car while trying to pick the lock. The only drawback is that, in most cases, if you get locked out of your car, you won’t have access to an inflatable wedge.

To pick a car lock with a wedge, simply place an inflatable wedge between the door and the car’s body and blow it up until it creates a gap through which a metal rod or other long enough object can be slid to reach the unlock button.

Use the object to push the unlock button to unlock your car. Be persistent because it might take more than one attempt to be successful.

Opening a Car Lock With a Piece of Plastic

You only need a foldable piece of plastic to unlock a car. A thin sheet of plastic needs to be folded, then slid into your car, much like the shoestring method.

You should try to reach the lock once the plastic strip’s bent end is inside your car. Pull up the plastic strip after wrapping it around the lock.

Your car’s locking system will determine whether you can use this technique to pick a car lock or not.


Calling a locksmith can be expensive and time-consuming, so there are times when it’s faster and cheaper to simply pick your car’s lock.

If you are persistent and patient enough, any of the car lock picking techniques we covered in this article can work. The one you choose to use, however, will depend on your current circumstances and the tools you have available.

This article should have given you all the knowledge necessary to quickly pick a car lock and enter your vehicle.


How can a card be used to open a car lock?

The card should easily slide further into the door with a slight push and some bending. Bend and wiggle the card. Press against the door and keep bending and wriggling the card as it is sandwiched between the door and you. The card will eventually slide in far enough to compress the latch, opening the door.

Are there different kinds of car locks on all cars?

The type of car lock your car has should be known before you attempt to pick it because different manufacturers and car models use various types of locks.

What is the time required to pick a car lock?

The majority of the time, picking a car lock won’t take more than a minute, but this may change depending on your level of expertise and the tools you’re using.

Will the car lock still function if I open my car?

If everything is done properly, picking a car lock won’t harm the lock. If you use a slim jim to pick a car lock, however, you risk harming the electronics found in the door of the vehicle.

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