2 Ways a Locksmith Can Extract Keys Locked in Cars

2 Ways a Locksmith Can Extract Keys Locked in Cars

Car lockouts are common. AAA Insurance alone assists about 4 million people a year with car lockouts and they are not even a locksmith. If you add in all the instances that drivers locked keys in cars, you could have tens of millions of lockouts every year.

A local locksmith has many tools for helping extract locked keys in cars. Here are two tools a car locksmith uses to offer automotive locksmith services:

‘Slim Jim’

A slim jim is a metal strip that could be slid into the gap between the door and window to pull the lock mechanism and unlock the door. This tool only works well on older cars. Newer cars have wiring, electric lock and window mechanisms, and airbags that can be damaged or shorted out by a slim jim.

For older cars, the slim jim takes advantage of a difference in car door locks compared to house door locks. The outside door lock mechanism is designed to turn about 45 degrees before it engages the locking mechanism. This allows you to extract the key after unlocking the door without locking it again.

Since this mechanism has a ‘lazy’ link between the latch that holds the door closed and the cylinder where you insert the key, the latch can be grabbed and pulled to the unlocked position without turning the cylinder.

This is where the slim jim comes in. The slim jim has a hook on its end that grabs the latch. Pulling the slim jim upward pulls the latch and pops the inside lock. Keep in mind that all this happens without actually turning the cylinder where the key would be inserted. This allows the locksmith to open the door without the key or picking the lock.

Lock Picks

Lock picks are used for more modern cars. These cars can suffer damage when a locksmith uses a slim jim to open the door. As a result, locksmiths prefer to pick the lock rather than trying to shoving a piece of metal into the inside of the door.

Car locksmiths use different lock picking tools for cars than other locks. The reason is that car locks usually use two-sided keys and each auto manufacturer uses a different keyway shape.

The reason car locks use two-sided keys is so the key can be inserted into the lock in either orientation. In other words, there is no right-side up with a two-sided key.

The reason different car manufacturers use different keyways is a bit trickier. Car keys are usually simpler than house keys. By offering different keyway shapes, the manufacturers introduce an additional obstacle to thieves trying to unlock the door.

This introduces a challenge to car locksmiths to extract locked keys in cars. To overcome this challenge, locksmiths use special car lock picking tools that are shaped to the different keyways. So, a locksmith unlocking a Ford will use a different picking tool than the locksmith would use to unlock a Toyota.

Helping car owners with lockouts is one of the most common tasks a locksmith can perform. But common does not mean the task is easy or can be performed using common tools. Rather, unlocking a car without the keys requires training and special tools to avoid damaging your car, and The Local Locksmith is your local expert in this field.