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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

How To Open A Car Locked With The Key Fob Inside

by Ralph February 7, 2022

Is your key fob locked in the car? It may seem alarming because the car isn’t supposed to lock with a keyless entry remote inside. Doesn’t the key fob unlock my doors automatically? How does this happen? We will discuss the circumstances that lead to a key fob locked in a car and how to get back inside.

Reasons for a car locked with the key fob inside are:

  1. Sensor Range
  2. Key Problems
  3. Damaged Lock
  4. Overrides

The basic solutions for a key fob locked in the car are:

  1. Key Reeling
  2. Lock Manipulation
  3. Call A Locksmith 

FAQs

Can I lock my key fob in my car?

Yes, it is possible to lock a car with the key fob inside. You can do this purposefully if you need the fob to remain in the car to protect it from loss or damage. It is also possible to get your key fob locked in the car by accident. Accidental lockouts can be solved in several ways.

How do I open my car if the key fob is locked inside?

With your key fob locked in the car, there are three primary solutions. You can move the working key toward a sensor location, manipulate the interior door switches/buttons, or call a locksmith. Doing the work yourself requires tools and time, so if you do not have both, contact a locksmith.

What tools can I use to open a locked car with the key fob inside?

When your key fob is locked in your car, the most versatile tool for the job is a length of thin and bendable metal. Classically an unwound wire hanger is the preferred DIY tool. If you go with a locksmith’s car lockout service, they will have professional tools, and there will be no risk of damage to the vehicle.

Is a locksmith able to open a car with the key fob locked inside?

There are certain automotive locksmiths with specific expertise in opening locked cars. These locksmiths are familiar with the security features and bypasses for countless makes and models. They also have enough experience to ensure the car will not be harmed while opening.

Why Your Key Fob Is Locked In The Car

Most of the time, a car with a keyless entry fob will have safety features to stop you from getting your key fob locked in the car. But there are reasons that those precautions may not work, and before you know it, your key fob is locked in your car, and you don’t know how it happened.

1. Sensor Range

You can end up with a key fob locked in a car if the fob is too far away from the keyless proximity sensors. You may have experienced instances similar to this when pushing the ignition button returns a “No Key Detected” message. With no key detected, the car can lock.

There are all types of features in keyless entry vehicles to prevent a situation where a key fob is locked in the car. For example, with most modern cars you cannot lock keys in the trunk because there are sensors to detect the key. But most cars have sensor dead zones.

If your car key fob is out of range of all sensors, none of the failsafes that stop the car from locking will protect you. The sensor ranges vary from vehicle to vehicle, but you may be able to hook the key fob locked in the car and pull it closer to the door, so it can unlock.

2. Key Problems

When a key is damaged, the vehicle may have a hard time sensing it. Intermittent issues with batteries can be caused by sudden or extreme fluctuations in the temperature. In these cases, it is very similar to the key being out of sensor range, but the solutions will be more limited.

Even when you solve the problem of the key fob locked in the car, you have to address the potential need for key fob replacement. Not having a working key should not prevent you from being able to get the car open, but you will likely need a spare car key to get back on the road.

You may be able to change the battery in the fob, but there are cases where changing the battery does not fix the car key. If you contact a locksmith to help you get back inside once you locked your key fob inside the car, they can also make you a new key right then and there.

3. Damaged Lock

Several things can go wrong with your locks, resulting in a key fob locked in a car. These malfunctions include the car door getting stuck in the locked position, the car lock freezing, or you may just have a sticky car door lock. The severity of the problem will affect the solution.

The main thing to consider when a problem with the lock has resulted in a key fob locked in a car is that it may be possible to open a different door. Your keyless proximity unlocking feature may be working, but the lock isn’t properly responding to the signal.

It may be possible to use a door lock lubricant to fix these issues and even get you back inside the vehicle. At a certain point, you may need to ignore the broken door lock, solve the lockout and figure out how to fix your car door lock later.

4. Accidental Override

A key fob locked in a car can be a feature and not a bug. If you are going to be in an environment where the fob could be damaged by water, dirt, sand, etc., you may wish to leave the electronic portion of the key in the car. But the feature that allows this can lead to a lockout.

The specific way you override the car fob’s keyless proximity unlocking varies between vehicles. There will usually be a physical key blade, which you need to turn in the car door lock cylinder. But if you lose this key, break it, or something else goes wrong, you will be locked out.

How To Open A Car Locked With The Key Fob Inside

So your key fob is locked in the car. Don’t worry! There is a solution you can use regardless of why this is happening to you. Even when your car remote is not working, there are some techniques and things you can do to at least gain access to your vehicle.

1. Reel In The Key

With a key fob locked in the car, you should be able to slip a long and thin tool into the vehicle and grab the key. With the key hooked or grabbed, drag the fob closer to the closest door. Each time you move the key a few inches, check to see if the door will open.

What tools can you use to pull your key towards the door, trunk, etc.? A wire coat hanger or similar long and shapeable length of material is perfect for catching the key. If you cannot slip your tool through a gap, you can widen the door gap with a wedge (like a doorstop).

As long as you are not contending with a broken car key fob or you have not unknowingly overridden the proximity unlock feature, this is an option. Just be sure not to scratch up the interior of your car while reaching around in it, and do not wedge open doors for extended periods.

2. Lock Manipulation

The term “lock manipulation” refers to the process of moving the lock switches and buttons in the interior of the vehicle. There are many ways to open a locked car with the keys inside, but which method you choose depends on the tools you access to and your abilities.

The best tools to open a locked car are a wedge and a long-reach tool. The wedge slides between the door and the frame to create a gap large enough to slide your long-reach tool through. The reach tool then pushes, pulls, or otherwise actuates the interior lock button.

Manipulation must be done when reeling in the key will not set off the proximity unlocking feature. It will not work if the car has deadlocked. Deadlock is a security protocol that keeps interior locks and all electronics dormant until the proper key is turned in the door lock cylinder.

3. Call A locksmith

For the most versatile and all-encompassing solution when a key fob is locked in a car, look for the best lockout service near you. You will need a service that specifically offers car locksmith services and specializes in car lockouts. It may even cost less than doing the work yourself.

The cost to unlock your car has to be weighed against the costs it is offsetting. A locksmith is going to make sure your vehicle is not damaged, the work will be done quickly (saving you time, which is money), and you can get all the services you need.

Costs can compound as you may need to add the key fob replacement cost to the equation. The more services you need beyond dealing with the key fob locked in the car, the greater the final price. But with a quality locksmith, the pricing will be fair and competitive.

In Closing

Depending on why your key fob got locked in the car, you will be able to utilize certain solutions. The most important limiting factor is whether or not the key fob’s proximity unlocking feature is functioning. But even if it is not, there is still a way to get back into the vehicle.

Consider calling a locksmith, so your key fob locked in your car is fully resolved. See if United Locksmith can come to your location. And if you have any questions or would like to say something on the topic of a keyfob locked in the car, leave a comment below.

Category: Automotive, Car Keys, How To's

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