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How to Get the Keys Out of a Locked Car

It can happen to anyone – you accidentally lock your car keys inside your vehicle. This frustrating situation can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re in a rush or in an unfamiliar area. However, there are several methods you can try to retrieve your keys and get back on the road. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get the keys out of a locked car in the United Kingdom.

1. Stay calm: Panicking won’t help the situation. Take a deep breath and gather your thoughts.

2. Check for open windows or doors: Before attempting any other method, see if any windows or doors are unlocked. This could provide an easy entry point.

3. Seek professional help: If you have a roadside assistance service or a spare set of keys, call for help. They can often unlock your car using specialized tools.

4. Utilize a shoelace: For manual locks, you can fashion a loop with a shoelace and carefully maneuver it around the lock. Pull it upwards to unlock the door.

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5. Use a coat hanger: Straighten out a wire coat hanger and create a small hook at one end. Gently insert it through the weather stripping and try to unlock the door from the inside.

6. Call a locksmith: If all else fails, consider contacting a professional locksmith. They have the knowledge and tools to open your car without causing damage.

7. Prevent future mishaps: After recovering your keys, consider getting a spare set made and keeping them in a safe place. You can also invest in a keyless entry system or a key locator device to avoid similar situations in the future.


1. Is it legal to unlock a car without the owner’s permission?
No, it is illegal to unlock a car without the owner’s consent, unless you are a professional locksmith or have the necessary authorization.

2. How much does it cost to hire a locksmith in the UK?
The cost of hiring a locksmith varies, but it can range from £60 to £120 depending on the time of day and the complexity of the lockout.

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3. Can I use a DIY lockout tool?
DIY lockout tools are available, but be cautious as they can cause damage to your vehicle. It’s advisable to seek professional assistance instead.

4. Will my car insurance cover the cost of a locksmith?
Some car insurance policies offer lockout cover as an optional extra. Check your policy to see if you’re covered.

5. How long does it usually take for a locksmith to arrive?
Locksmith response times vary, but they typically aim to reach you within 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your location and their workload.

6. Can I unlock my car using a smartphone app?
Certain car manufacturers offer smartphone apps that can remotely unlock your vehicle, but this feature may not be available on all models.

7. What should I do if I lock my keys in the car with the engine running?
In this situation, it is crucial to prioritize your safety. Contact emergency services and inform them of the situation. They will guide you on the best course of action.

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Remember, it’s always a good idea to have a plan in place for such emergencies. Stay calm, assess your options, and seek professional assistance when needed.