Drivers Education

How to Break into Your Car Without Spare Key

how to break into your car

You want to know how to break into your car if you just locked the keys inside. Perhaps, your spare key is inside too or you don’t have it handy at the moment.

First of all, do not think of taking any extreme measures to retrieve the car keys. Smashing the window can be expensive, and not what you want to do. Besides, if the glass is tempered, it will shatter into pieces when you break it, and larger shards of glass can fly, causing an accident.

Instead of facing the avoidable cost of replacing the window and cleaning up glass shards, this publication covers more advisable ways to break into your car.

how to break into your car

How to break into your car

The few techniques explained here do not particularly require specialized equipment and can be done by anyone with little or no locksmithing experience. Since you can’t wait for a professional locksmith or there isn’t one available, do the following to break into your car:

1. Unlock the door with a Slim Jim

You can break into your car from the outside to retrieve the key using a lockout tool known as Slim Jim. However, this technique may damage the weather stripping or the wires inside the door. Damaging the wires inside the door can result in other problems that enhance the functionality of the door.

Breaking into your car with a Slim Jim requires patience – it takes a few tries.

How to break into your own car with a Slim Jim:

a. Get a Slim Jim

You need a coat hanger to make a Slim Jim. You could also use any long, thin piece of metal you can straighten out and bend a hook on one end to go into the door.

If the Slim Jim tool bends under strain, you need to double the hanger and make the folded end into the hook to strengthen it.

b. Insert Slim Jim in the door

The driver side door usually contains more wires, so try breaking in from the passenger’s side. Just slip Slim Jim in between the weather stripping along the bottom of the window and the window.

Try to pull back the weather stripping a bit with your fingers to make the insertion a lot easier.

c. Hook and open the lock

Try grabbing the inside of the locking mechanism by sliding the hook toward the lock since the locking mechanism is under the locking pin. Once Slim Jim hooks the look, pull it up to unlock. Usually, the locking mechanism is about 2 inches below the edge of the window bottom.

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You may have to pull the locking mechanism towards the rear of the car instead of in the upwards direction. Just try pulling it in different directions until it engages the lock.

2. Break into your car with manual locks from the inside

You can break into your car with a wedge tool. Professionals use a powerful airbag though. All you need to do is open the door top wide enough for a metal rod to get around the locking pin and pull the pin to unlock the door.

A thin metal rod or a bent hanger can also unlock doors in most cars—it just has to be inserted in.

You also want to use an unlocking technique suitable for your type of car. Generally, we have manual and automatic locks.

Manual locks use fewer pieces and door wires, which does not overly obstruct you from unlatching the lock of a car from the outside. It’s also easier to reach and pull to wedge the door open.

However, an automatic lock is more secure and could be connected to an alarm system. You will require a remote controlled button to unlock it.

Follow the steps below to break into your car using a wedge:

a. Get a wedge tool and a thin item

Use the edge tool to hold to open the door space. You need a wedge tool to wedge the door while you use the thin item to open up a gap at the top of the door, between the body of the car and the window or doorframe. For a thin item, you could use a knife or a doorstop.

b. Put the tool in the door gap

Now, wedge the tool into the space between the vehicle body and the door top on the side opposite the hinge. Use your fingers to pull the space open to insert the tool.

Continue inserting the tool until it is visible and work it down into the space until you can see it through the window. You want to be careful not to tear the weather stripping.

c. Create a hook

Create a hook to grab the locking pin—you could use a hanger or any similar handy tool. The end of the tool should be able to fit around the bottom of the pin to pull it up to unlock. You may need a few tries for this.

d. Unlock the door

Use the hook to unlock the door. First, create a bigger space with the wedge for the tool to fit into it. Once you grab the locking pin, pull it up to unlock the door.

3. Unlock the car from the trunk

If the car uses manual locks, you can break in through the trunk. Follow the steps below:

a. Access the trunk

Use any available opening to get into your car’s interior. Check the center of the rear seats for an opening.

b. Push the rear seats to the front

When in the trunk, find a button to press or pull to lower the rear seats and push them forward. Some sedans feature a cable you can pull to push the rear seats forward.

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When in the car, you can then unlock your car doors manually.

4. Unlock your car door with automatic locks

If your car door uses automatic locks, unlocking it will be determined by the difficulty of pulling the door away from the body of the car and the button or switch location controlling the locks.

If your car has an unlock button on the center console, consider calling a professional. However, if the switch or button is somewhat accessible, breaking into the car is a good option. Do the following to unlock the car door:

a. Get a wedge tool

You need a wedge tool or any other long, thin tool to create a space and then another tool to press the unlock button to unlock the door.

First, know how the locks in your car are activated. You want to know if the unlock button is located on the driver’s side or in the central console before inserting the wedge.

b. Get a hook tool for pressing the button

You need a hook or loop tool to press the button. On some automatic locks, you’d find an armrest button on the driver’s side. Just use a straight metal rod or something similar to reach and press the button to break into the car.

You need a straightened hanger for clothes to use this technique. If your car uses an antenna, you can unscrew it and use it to push the unlock button.

5. Call a professional

If you can’t manage to break into your car using the techniques mentioned here, you want professional services to get back into your car.

Moreover, the services of a professional also keep you from potentially damaging your car’s door or trunk, depending on where you’re breaking in from. Other road users will not also think you’re a thief if your car is in a public parking lot. A locksmith can make a spare key for the car if you don’t have a spare for it.


Unless you can’t do without your car and need it urgently, breaking in is not advisable. Forcing the door open can damage the door, window glass, or locks. For most cars, the average cost of car auto glass replacement is about $200+ depending on the type of glass.

But if you must break into the car, you need a few tries for the techniques mentioned here to work. Otherwise, contact a mobile professional ASAP.

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Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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