Should You Call The Police To Unlock Your Car Door
Weve all been there: We walk out to the parking lot after running inside for a quick errand or even a longer day of shopping, and we cant find our keys to open the car anywhere. We fumble with our bags and grow more frantic as we search until we finally see the keys dangling from the ignition or resting on the center console.
And if youve ever been locked out of your car in the hot, Arizona sun, you know that every minute you have to wait to figure out a solution can feel like an eternity.
If you belong to a roadside assistance program with car lockout services, you are likely going to call them first. But you can still be left waiting a long time, which can be not only uncomfortable but also inconvenient as you likely have a lot of other things to do quickly.
If you dont belong to such a program, or you just dont have the time to wait, you might think to call the police to help you. Heres why you should NOT do that:
Claim On A Key Cover Policy Separate From Your Insurance
Key cover exists as a stand-alone policy from companies such as KeyCare. Like insurance, the cover can range from key replacement to car hire in case you are stranded and cannot drive your car as you have lost your keys. Check the policy carefully, as some state that keys must be lost for a certain period of time before you can use the cover.
Do You Have A Spare Key
Youve left keys in the car and its 100% locked. Its possible to use a spare key but it depends on your situation. For example, if you dont have space, how far away are you from home? Can a family member bring it over?
If youre far away, consider the next question: who to call when you lock your keys in your car?
Once youve sorted this predicament, always keep an extra key handy. If you dont want it on you, install a small magnetic box to hold the key and place it on the cars underside.
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Unbolting With A Slim Jim
A Slim Jim is a thin metal strip used for unlocking car doors. It needs some practice to open a locked door with this tool. Also, it is more likely to tear the doors weather stripping and the wires inside.
Insert the tool into the passenger-side door because the drivers door has more wires. Push the Slim Jim through the weather stripping and use its hook-like end to clasp the inside of the locking mechanism . Once the hook firmly grips the lock, pull it up to disengage the lock.
Can I Call The Police To Unlock My Car
One way to get back into your car is to call your local law enforcement authorities. However, keep in mind that locking your keys in your car doesnt typically qualify as an emergency. Police officers are concerned with public safety, so generally, life or property has to be at risk for them to respond.
If a child is locked in the car or youre in danger, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, you can try to call a local non-emergency number for help. But if the coast is clear, expect them to respond to more urgent calls or recommend a tow truck.
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Making A Claim On Your Car Insurance Policy
If your car key is lost or stolen, you may be able to claim for the cost of a replacement on your insurance policy. Some car insurance deals include key cover as standard in their insurance policies, so check whether this cover is part of your policy. Third-party, fire and theft insurance policies do not normally include this cover.
A comprehensive car insurance policy usually includes altering the engine control unit and alarms . Some pay over £1,500 to cover these costs. Depending on the policy, some providers even organise taxis to retrieve your spare set of keys and/or provide a car until a new set is made which can take up to 10 days. Some insurers may honour your no claims bonus, meaning you can save money on your premium. However, if it does affect your no claims bonus, it may be more cost-effective to replace them yourself in the long run. You can compare car insurance deals with key cover on our website. If your insurer refuses to pay, you can challenge the decision for free with the Financial Ombudsman.
Make sure to check your policy as some insurers only cover for lost and stolen keys with an upgraded policy or as an add-on. In some cases, there is no excess to pay. Car key cover, as part of your policy or as an add-on, covers the cost of replacing and reprogramming your keys, and can also pay for replacing the locks and immobiliser which is necessary if you suspect your keys have been stolen.
Tip Number Seven: Call Roadside Assistance
If youre stuck somewhere far from civilization you should call roadside assistance services to help you. Their patrols will be able to retrieve your keys and assist you with any car damage that may occur.
They can also help you arrange a locksmith if your lock or your keys suffered any damages while you were trying to forcefully unlock your car. As previously mentioned, these things are not a rare occurrence, so dont feel embarrassed by seeking help. Roadside assistance services are usually already patrolling the roads, so theyll be able to come extremely quickly.
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Picking The Lock With A String
Instead Explore Your Options
Many modern vehicles are built with automatic safety features that keep you from locking your keys in the car. Some have services like OnStar that can open the car remotely. The problem is that many of us are still driving older models and do not yet have these luxuries.
If you are driving an older car and you lock your keys inside, the options available to you include:
Option 1 Calling 911: Many people who wind up with their keys locked in their car call the police to come to their location and help fix the problem. In most cases, the police will be able to unlock the car, but they can also call a tow truck if they cannot. Of course, you will be paying for this service. Calling the police should be a last resort and one that you should use only if you feel that you are in immediate danger.
Option 2 Calling the Dealership: This will mean taking the car to the dealer on a flatbed, which can be costly. Replacing the key through the dealer can also be very expensive depending on the model you drive.
Option 3 Calling Your Locksmith : When you call your locksmith, explain your situation and give them your location. Note that there are scam artists out there who call themselves locksmiths, so you will want to do some research to make sure that you are dealing with a company that has a good reputation.
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How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Car Door Unlocked
The cost to unlock your vehicle will be about $50. Our locksmiths are located nationwide and can be out to your location in under 30 minutes. Over the years, the locksmiths at Locksmith Pros have helped thousands of customers regain entry to their vehicles. If your car door is locked and you cannot get in just give our operators a call and they will have a locksmith out to you in no time. Our locksmiths are available 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
How To Avoid It From Happening Again
While these things happen to every driver at least once during their driving career, there are still ways to prevent it from happening. Weve already mentioned getting a spare key. You should keep it at places you drive from and to frequently.
Other than that, make sure to keep your electronic key batteries charged at all times, and keep emergency numbers close to you. Keep car unlocking tools close to you, and try your best to be mindful while youre driving.
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Tip Number Three: Break The Windows
All right, this method should be your last option, and you should only rely on it in the cases of emergency such as your toddler or your pet stuck inside on a hot day. Even then, you should contact the emergency services before trying this out. Still, if you believe that its absolutely necessary to do so, make sure to stay safe as much as possible.
Find a sharp object and make sure to break the side window thats not too close to your child or pet. Focus on the side windows, and hit closer to the edges, since the center is the windows strongest point.
As previously mentioned, make sure to resort to this method only when its absolutely necessary.
Tip Number One: Get Your Spare Keys
Of course, this method only works if youre prepared ahead. Having a spare set of keys is always a good idea since you never know what can happen. Naturally, depending on your situation, this could be impossible to pull off, especially if its an emergency. If youre not too far from home, you can call a friend or a relative to bring you the spare keys.
Getting a spare set of keys can be a great way to prevent this from happening to you, so make sure to be prepared for it in advance.
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They May Not Be Able To Help
The police may be able to get your car open, but they may not especially if you have a newer car with more advanced technology. Sometimes, they may try to open your car anyway and end up causing damage. Other times, they may try for a while before giving up, essentially wasting your time. Other times, they may not try at all and will just call a tow truck. Youll be out a couple hundred dollars and an untold amount of time sweating away in the heat.
Unlocking The Door From The Outside
In some cases, it is faster and easier to make a lockout tool to unlock the door from the outside. This technique takes a little bit more finesse, and is more likely to damage the weather stripping and/or the wires inside of the door.
- Warning: This is not a recommended method for opening doors containing automatic locks and/or automatic windows. The significant increase in the amount of wiring inside of the door itself makes serious damage too much of a risk.
Here is how to use this method:
Step 1: Make a Slim Jim tool. To fashion a Slim Jim, it is best to use a coat hanger or other long, relatively thin piece of metal and straighten it out, bending a hook into one end. This is the end that will go into the door.
- Note: If this tool bends under the strain, double the hanger over and make the end that is folded over into the hook as this is much stronger.
Step 2: Insert the Slim Jim into the door. Since there are usually more wires in the drivers door, it is best to use this method on the passenger side door. Slip the tool in between the weather stripping along the bottom of the window and the window itself.
- Tip: Pulling the black weather stripping back slightly with your fingers will make this move a lot smoother and easier.
Step 3: Open the lock with the hook. The locking mechanism is located right under the locking pin, so try to use the hook to grab the inside of the locking mechanism by sliding the hook back toward the lock and pulling up once the hook grips the lock.
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When You Realise You Have Lost Your Keys
According to the RAC, around 16 million drivers regularly misplace their keys. If you lose your keys or they are stolen, you may be covered by your insurer, but if a family member or friend loses them, its unlikely that your insurer will pay the costs.
If they have been stolen, you must report the crime to the police and get a crime reference number in order to make a claim with your insurer. If you leave your keys in the ignition and your car is stolen, your insurer will not cover you. Lying to your insurer and saying that they have been stolen is fraud.
How Much Does Pop A Lock Charge To Unlock A Car Door
There are a lot of external factors that affect the Pop A Lock price to unlock a car door, including the type of your vehicle, your location, and the time of the day.
As far as we know, the basic cost for a service call with an automotive locksmith will be around $15. Starting from there, the service begins with $35 and is likely to go up depending on how difficult the job gets. The total can be $50.
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What Is A Car Lockout
It may be to your surprise that car lockouts happen quite often. A car lockout describes a situation when a car owner are locked, either in and out of the vehicle without the keys. In some cases, your car key may even go missing somewhere underneath a seat.
When this lockout happens, it is best to calm down and breathe before deciding the most optimal way to solve it. Nowadays, most cars lock all of their doors at the same time with automatic locks. But some still lock the doors only, not their trunks.
Pull The Reach Tool And Wedge Out
Youve hit the button and youre gifted with the beautiful sound of your car unlocking. Congrats!
Before opening the door, though, consider the wedge. Because its separating the door and the frame, there is a lot of pressure on the doors locking mechanism.
Because of this, if you open the door quickly, you release the pressure and the locking mechanism can break. And fixing this is far more expensive compared to hiring a locksmith.
Pull both the reach tool and wedge out, so the door returns to its normal position. Now you can open it!
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Tips For Keys Locked In A Car
Tips for Keys Locked in a Car
Despite the rise of keyless ignitions and so-called smart car keys, AAA still answers millions of calls each year from members whove locked themselves out of a car. And thats just one source of roadside assistance. If youre standing by a locked car staring at your keys inside, it might be small comfort indeed to know that you have so much company. A few solid tips on how you can and cant get that car unlocked and how to keep this from happening again may be more helpful.
Find A Long Slim Reach Tool
The best household tool to use is a wire coat hanger as its long and can be bent according to the unlock buttons location. If thats not possible, find a firm branch with an angle in it so it can press the button without snapping.
Your vehicle may use a key fob, the one sitting on the seat, so try to press this if possible. Experiment by moving the wedge around the door frame, so you can access a better angle. Likewise with your reach tool.
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