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How to jimmy a car door lock

Updated on April 5, 2013

Locked out of your own car with keys inside?

Before continuing with this article, I wish to let it be known that this article is completely and in its entirety, for educational purposes only. With cars getting entirely smart nowadays with an electronic brain of their own, plenty of car owners have had the experience of leaving their car keys in their cars for a short while to buy a loaf of bread and get their Slushee or Slurpee fix only to return to their cars, in dismay, finding it completely locked from all sides, loaf of bread in one hand, Slushee quickly turning into flavored water in the other, with a complete and utter look of dismay.

No, you do not want to smash the window open; it will just make you look like a petty criminal. No, you do not want to bang the window helplessly while staring the key in the ignition; it will just make you look like a petty fool. We take a look at the options available.

How to jimmy your car door

Jimmying a car door is the best option for you if the car you own is an old model. Jimmying a newer model car would most likely cause it permanent damage, some new model cars come with anti-hijacking capabilities that will totally cause complete immobilization even if you manage to successfully jimmy it open.

To jimmy a car door open, your best friend and companion is the unlikely coat hanger. This will mean turning the coat hanger into a tool that will definitely end its run as a hanger, usually tossed into a trash after the jimmying or saved for future jimmying encounters. The key is to fashion the hanger into a lock jimmy, with the end of it in the shape of a hook.

Locked out of you own car?
Locked out of you own car?

How to unlock a car door video

Unlock your car door

Once you have gotten the shape right, it is time for you to slide the jimmy into the opening in between the mirror and the car door. The following method differs for different car models and make but the step is identical. You will have to start prodding and pushing around with the jimmy to find something called the “lock actuator”. The “lock actuator” is, in some models, placed near the center of the door or near the door handle, so to succeed in this method, you have to be patient and go prodding through every inch of space from the door handle to the side mirror. It may take some time but if you get lucky, you will hear a soft click and your door will lo and behold, unlock!

The next method still requires a hanger shaped in a lock jimmy but requires you to do some surgical removal of a part of your vehicle. As mentioned, this method also only works on older model vehicles.

Use a thin knife to pry open a small space of the window, enough to slide the lock jimmy into the interior of the car. This may require you to cut open some of the rubber bad that provides cover in between the window and the door. Once removed, slowly push your lock jimmy in and pry the door lock up and down, depending on the locking mechanism of your vehicle. This may take some form of patience and getting the lock to lift up, especially, require a loop to be formed at the end of the lock jimmy.

Of course, if you own a newer model vehicle, your best bet would be to call a professional locksmith who would definitely own special tools to pry open your door without causing a scratch of damage. If you have bought your vehicle recently, call up your vehicle agent or distributor, chances are, they usually keep an extra copy of your vehicle key for emergency backup purposes or in situationswhere you get locked out by your own vehicle! Whatever your decision is, do not try these methods on others' vehicles, only yours!


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    • profile image

      Patio door Locks 

      7 years ago

      Well nice information. I like jimmy the door locks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      "but also thieves will learn from this"

      Thieves have their own sources of information, usually much better outlined than this. Shady websites and personal mentors make this information look like child's play.

      Thanks for the great source for the rest of us!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The Seaside Heights and Ocean County Columbus Day Parade has become one of the biggest Columbus Day celebrations in the state. One of the traditions of the event is to have an Italian folk group come to entertain the crowds. This year the group Arlecchino is slated to make their first United States appearance at the weekend long Italian Festival. The group will perform on the main event stage at 7:45 Friday and 3 PM Saturday. The following day Arlecchino will march in the Columbus Day Parade and also peform at mid afternoon, just after the parade has ended. Their final performance will be on Sunday night, at 7 PM, on the main stage.

    • profile image

      Car Tires 

      8 years ago

      This is a great article for those people who cannot unlock their own cars but also thieves will learn from this.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It would be nice if cars came with a well attached safety box with combination lock on the outside so you could get to your spare key if necessary.


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