Des Moines,IA

How do locksmiths open car doors? This is a very common question amongst drivers who have locked their keys inside their cars or those who have lost their keys. How can a locksmith open a car door if the keys are inside or lost? Well, locksmiths are highly skilled and well equipped to handle these situations.

Every locksmith is different from the last. Some will use one method over the other. It really comes down to their experience, skills, and the tools they have at their disposal. At ASAP Locksmith, our team may use any number of methods depending on the type of vehicle you have. Not all methods can be used on all vehicles, which we cover below.

How Do Locksmiths Open Car Doors?

There are multiple ways a locksmith can open a car door. Some locksmiths can only perform certain methods because of the tools they have. However, you can’t use a single method for all cars as every vehicle has a different system.

The most common methods of unlocking car doors include:

  • By using the Slim Jim tool
  • By using a wedge and long reach tool (MCOT)
  • Decode a car lock and create a new key
  • Cutting a new key based on VIN number

Depending on the type of vehicle you have and the situation, your locksmith may use any of the above to assist you. We go into more detail about each of the methods to make you more comfortable about hiring a locksmith.

Slim Jim Tool

If you’ve ever tried to unlock a car with a wire coat hanger, you’d be performing a similar action as using a slim jim tool. This tool is inserted from the exterior of the car between the weatherstripping and glass of the door.

The tool is flexible enough to move around any obstructions. It features a hook at the end so it can grab onto the mechanic link keeping the door locked. Once the link is hooked and pulled, the door can be opened.

Unfortunately, slim jims are no longer used with newer vehicles. New door technology has made these tools ineffective. Even when slim jim tools were used, they could damage the inside of the car door, so it’s best to stay away from using them.


Most locksmiths will use multi-car opening tools or MCOTs. These kits are composed of a variety of different tools; some of the most common include a wedge and long-reaching tool.

Most wedges are inserted between the door’s weatherstripping and inflated to part the door slightly. This small gap allows for a long-reaching tool to unlock the door.

How do locksmith open car doors - Locksmith Inserting Inflatable Wedge into Car Door

More high-end luxury cars may not work with this method as doing so could initiate a security lockdown, preventing the car from starting even when the door is open.

Decoding Car Lock

Car door locks can’t be picked because they use a wafer system. The wafers can be extremely brittle, so picking the door would damage the lock. Instead, many locksmiths use a decoder tool to read the lock wafers essentially. The information they get from that data allows them to cut a new key to unlock the door.

Cutting New Key With VIN

Finally, a locksmith can cut a new key based on the vehicle’s VIN. There are a few instances where this isn’t possible, such as the car being too old or the original ignition being replaced.

Once a new key is cut to open the car door, the locksmith will program the new key so it can turn the vehicle on.

How Do Locksmiths Open Car Doors at ASAP Locksmith?

It depends on the vehicle! To receive emergency car lockout services from our team, call us at (515) 400-3226. We offer 24-hour locksmith services to the Greater Des Moines area, so don’t hesitate to contact us when you need us!