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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

4 Tools You Need In Your Car Lockout Kit

by Wesley September 19, 2022

Everyone likes to think of themselves as the smartest person who’s ready and prepared for every situation. And for good reason, because having resourceful qualities can give you a huge advantage when things don’t go right. Experiencing a car lockout is definitely one of those circumstances when it helps to have a strategy in place beforehand. 

That strategy should begin with assembling a car lockout kit. There’s no specific way you have to go about putting together a car lockout kit. You’re free to gather individual items or buy a pre-packaged car lockout kit from an auto parts retailer. As soon as you group together these expert tools, you’ve now put yourself in a position to successfully escape a car lockout.

All of your stress and anxiety won’t go away completely, but the right car lockout kit provides a solution in the midst of a chaotic situation. There’s no predicting when a car lockout occurs, so preparation is the best way to address it. In this article, we’ll discuss the following essential tools you’ll need in your car lockout kit:

  1. Slim Jim
  2. Pump Wedge
  3. Long-Reach Tool
  4. Lockpicking Set

Before we dive into the list of essential car lockout kit tools, let’s answer a few questions and set the foundation. So many things come into play when you’re dealing with car lockouts and it helps to have a wealth of knowledge!


How much does a car lockout kit cost?

There are a couple of factors that impact the price of car lockout kits. First, it depends on how many tools are in the car lockout kit. Some premade car lockout kits have up to 20 different tools in them, which will run you somewhere in the range of $150 and up. Obviously, car lockout kits with fewer tools come at a much cheaper price.

The second thing to look out for is the quality of the tools. Car lockout kits manufacturers with weak, flimsy materials are going to cost less, but also be less effective. You need a car lockout kit that’s durable and contains tools from high-end brands. Although you could skip this step of the process entirely and call for an automotive locksmith, we’ll get into more of that later on. 

What tool unlocks a car door?

Every tool placed inside a car lockout kit should contribute in some way to unlocking a car door. It doesn’t matter if it’s a whole lockpicking set or individual tools, each piece must provide some sort of value and help you reach the end goal. There are several combinations of tools you can put together, but the four tools on this list are the ones you’ll need in your car lockout kit.  

Can car locks be picked?

Absolutely, picking car locks can be beneficial in a pinch. Car doors are no different than regular doors to a home or building in the sense that they can be picked with the right tools and the right amount of skill. Anybody can be taught how to pick car door locks and it’s something you should consider putting in your car lockout kit.

Can I lock my key fob in my car?

Unfortunately, yes. People lock themselves out of their cars with the key fob inside quite frequently. In fact, you can do this on purpose if you need the fob to remain in the car to protect it from loss or damage. But in most cases, the key fob is locked inside on accident and you either need a car lockout kit or professional assistance.

Should I call someone to help me get into my car?

Calling and asking for help is totally normal when you’re experiencing a car lockout. United Locksmith offers exceptional car lockout services because we send mobile technicians directly to your location as soon as possible. Within minutes of calling, someone is on their way to assist you through what usually is an aggravating situation for most people.

There’s no shame in needing additional help. Even if you’re someone who has a car lockout kit and can’t gain access to your vehicle, it’s okay. Cars don’t always respond the way you want them to and malfunctions are common. It’s our job to deliver reliable service when you need it most, and if United doesn’t have technicians in your area, there are other companies. 

1. Slim Jim

Slim jims in the security industry are one of the most dynamic tools an automotive locksmith can have at their disposal. The long, lightweight metal is easy to carry around and performs well under an intense amount of pressure. Basically, a slim jim is just a thin piece of metal with a hook on the end.

Everyone must have one in their car lockout kit because you can’t find a more efficient way to bypass a locked car door. The thin metal slides between airtight spaces and allow you to reach deep inside the vehicle. Generally, locksmiths choose the space between the car window and weather stripping to insert the slim jim. 

From there, you have to wiggle it around and use the hook on the end of the tool to unlock the car door. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not quite. Slim jims don’t always cooperate that well with newer cars because there are many important inner parts you must avoid. Without experience or knowing what mechanisms you’re trying to avert, you could cause significant damage.

Car door panels are packed full of wires and compartments that serve important functions throughout your vehicle. One wrong slip of your slim jim and you won’t need a car lockout kit because the car itself may not start when you finally get inside. At that point, the only person who can help you is a tow truck operator because your car needs mechanical work.

Auto locksmiths are specially trained to handle slim jims with precision and know how to utilize a car lockout kit better than anyone. They know every technique and which angle to approach with every tool. Contact United Locksmith if you’re not confident in your ability to use a slim jim and prevent possible damage to your car! 

2. Pump Wedge

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Wedges are crucial items to keep in the car lockout kit because you need a device that can keep a car door slightly ajar. A pump wedge is a cloth pouch that has a small rubber bladder attached to it. The wedge is inserted while flat, into the door jam. Then the bladder is pumped so that the pouch expands.

The expanding pouch provides enough horizontal leverage to crack the car door open enough to use additional tools that can reach farther inside the vehicle. Every auto locksmith has a pump wedge inside their car lockout kit. 

3. Long-Reach Tool

We’ve all heard or seen someone trying to unlock their vehicle with a makeshift tool that’s long enough to reach inside the car and hit the unlock button. Whether it’s a bent wire hanger, a stick, or even a golf club, you simply need a long, sturdy tool that can press buttons and lift door handles. Long-reach tools are perfect for a car lockout kit and are nice to have around for miscellaneous tasks. 

4.  Lockpicking Set

Lockpicking is an advanced skill that only a select number of people have mastered. This isn’t your everyday hobby picked up by millions of Americans each year. It’s more of a niche industry that we love and enjoy teaching people about at United Locksmith. However, the general public lacks the proper skill required to be successful at lockpicking. 

This means if you’re tasked with having to pick a car door lock in an emergency situation, the likelihood of success isn’t very high. But that’s why we aim to educate everyone and encourage putting together a car lockout kit. There are three basic tools every car lock pick set should have: single pin picks, decoders, and tension tools. 

1. Single Pin Picks

Versatility amongst your lock picking tools is important when assembling your car lockout kit. Single pin picks allow you to move each component in the lock separately. A standard hook is one of the better choices for automotive single pin picking. You can use a hook to move different types of car door locks, such as wafers and sliders, with better control.  

The technique for using a pick in the different locks will vary, but the basic premise is that you are feeling all of the internal components. They could be disks, sliders, wafers, or pins. Once you feel one that’s not as loose as the others, you’re going to attempt to move that one until you feel it fall into place. Then you keep moving on until the last component is manipulated. 

2. Decoders

Decoders are picking tools that have a system of opening the lock while also finding out the bitting of the working key. In simpler terms, you can use car key decoders to see how a key is cut and then duplicate that key. The depth of each cut has numerical values, also known as the bitting, which then correspond to the duplicate key

Being able to decode the lock is useful if there is an issue getting the key code for the car itself. There are many reasons you can’t retrieve the car’s key code. Things can go wrong with the equipment or the door lock cylinders were replaced and have completely different hardware. You really never know, which makes locksmiths a great source of help and knowledge!

3. Tension Tools

Tension tools made specifically for car locks are available and should be in your car lockout kit. They look almost like forceps and fit into the keyway of the car door. You’ll need to use outward spring tension and secure the lock from both the top and bottom of the keyway. Tension tools are ideal because car keyways are more open, making way for a tension wrench to bypass the locking mechanism.

Having the appropriate lock pick set in your car lockout kit is only half the equation. Because car locks have different classifications and styles of locking mechanisms, you need to adjust your vehicle lock pick set accordingly. At the very minimum, you’re looking at these four different types of car door locks:

  • Wafer Locks: When it comes to mid-priced models from the main car brands, wafer locks are the most common lock cylinder. Vehicle wafer locks are mainly double wafers, which need internal mechanisms to be depressed or elevated. This popular type of 

A car door lock has to be picked a certain way to gain access inside your car. 

  • Slider Locks: You’re likely to come across slider keys on cars that use a keyless entry fob but still have lock cylinders. The rectangular profile of the key makes it perfect for sliding into pre-made cutouts in a remote or key fob. These are typically the keys that have the snake or worm-like shape engraved on both sides of the key blade. Many new cars and luxury vehicles are being made with this style of lock.
  • Disk Detainer Locks: In rare situations, you might find disk detainer locks on car doors. Cars that use disk detainers have a different key profile. Instead of having cuts along the blade, these keys have a moving disk section at the very end of the key rod.
  • Pin Tumbler Locks: Every once in a while you will find a car that has a basic pin tumbler lock cylinder. This is almost only for very old classic cars. These keys look like the single wafer car lock keys. After the modern advancement of vehicles in the last several decades, car doors have become more sophisticated. 

Knowing how to pick every single one of these car door lock types takes years of practice. And even then, there are countless variables that arise while you’re picking the lock that derails your efforts. Nobody’s expecting a novice lockpicker to maximize the full potential of their car lockout kit. That’s why professionals are there to help and save the day! 

Closing Words

Being locked out of your vehicle might be the worst circumstance anyone has to face. There’s so much going on and sometimes everything you try fails and it doesn’t matter how well you prepare your car lockout kit. Thankfully, professional locksmiths are available to provide assistance and get you back into your car!

Category: Automotive, Buying Guides, Lock Picking

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