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The Wedge Tech: A Locksmithing Tutorial

Posted in Car Accessories, Car Tech, Tips by Vito Rispo | July 25th, 2008 | 76 Responses |

So you’ve locked your keys in your car and you need to get to work, but you don’t feel like paying a locksmith $100 dollars to do it and you don’t feel like smashing your window and having to pay for a new one later. What do you do?

If you owned a slim jim, you could use that, but slim jim’s are unreliable at best. Most of the time they just damage the mechanisms inside your door. Here’s the way professional locksmiths do it.

The parts you need

  • One or two solid plastic wedges
  • One 3-4 foot sturdy heavy gauge wire or coat hanger
  • One rubber tip for the end of wire (a rubber band works fine)

You’ll need one or two solid plastic wedges (either one small wedge and one door stopper, or just the door stopper – wedges that are one solid piece of plastic are always better) and a long 3-4 foot sturdy heavy gauge wire or even a straightened coat hanger with a 90 degree angle about a half inch from the end and a bit of rubber on the tip. The rubber tip is important, don’t forget it; you can wrap a rubber band around the end and get the same effect. They sell kits with these things, but they’re generally massively overpriced.

How To Break Into Your Car In Less Than 1 Minute

How to do it

Just slide the small plastic wedge into the gap at the side or top of where the door meets the body, and pry it slightly so you have a place to put the larger door stopper wedge, or just start off with the larger wedge if you can. Either way, once you get the door stopper in there, you’ll have an opening big enough to slide in your tool. Yes, I said “slide in your tool”. This is a filthy locksmithing tutorial. Whatever.

So once you have the opening, its just a matter of getting the wire in there and reaching the unlock button. This is the point where you’ll realize the importance of that rubber tip; you won’t get any grip on the button unless there’s a rubber end on the wire, you’ll be there for hours just sliding off to the side every time you try to hit it. Again, I realize this sounds filthy.

Anyway, if you do have a rubber end on the wire, it shouldn’t take long at all, from the time you start to the unlocking of the door, 10 minutes tops. If you know what you’re doing, you can get your car open in less than a minute. Easy.

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76 Responses

  1. jonson roth says:

    honest ossifer, that’s my ferrari!

  2. Ken says:

    This is great for you automatic-lock types. How about us all-manual folks? No love?

    • Ben says:

      You can actually use the same technique. Just make a loop in the hanger. It takes some fiddling, but it’s always worked for me.

  3. nathan says:

    this only works on cars with electronic door locks. this still wont work on my manual locking car door.

  4. jReynolds says:

    I don’t understand where you put the wedge and how you can see the unlock button. Can anyone post a pic?

  5. Pete says:

    why not just use a bubble like AAA? you’ll get a much larger hole to stick the rod in (more filthy inuendos ftw).

  6. Alon says:

    What if I don’t have an unlock button?
    I have the old lever which you need to pull up…
    What do you do in this case?

  7. timtheterrorist says:

    this way fully works, ive broken into about 7 cars this weekend

  8. Gooch says:

    Uh yeah what if you don’t want to carry that with you everywhere you go not to mention how.

  9. Aristide A says:

    Breaking into and old pull up lever lock is even easier. First you get some of that stiff blue packing tape (the stuff that is wrapped around larger boxes). You then fold it in half to a length need to reach the lever. Pinch the fold so its nice and sharp. Line the inside of the fold with fine sand paper and staple it secure. Slide it in parralell with the window ledge (becuase of the stiffness of the tape you should be able to force it through the rubber door seal). Get the end with the sandpaper level with the lock and while holding the outside section of the tape, push the inside section forward. This makes a loop and pushes the tape close to the window. You may need a few attempts to loop around the lever. Once you have the lever looped, slowly close the loop around it and slowly pull back on the tape without pulling up. The sand paper should stop it slipping off any of the newer levers that arent bevelled. Always keep it the tape parrallel and resist the urge to pull up. It may initially slip off, but keep trying and it will eventually pop up

  10. unlocker_pro says:

    For those wondering about manual locks – all you need is the space in the door and the wire. shape the wire and use it.

  11. Gary the K says:

    I guess you’d keep these tools in the car, in an easily accessible place.

  12. Blachhkman says:

    “this way fully works, ive broken into about 7 cars this weekend”

    sif carry a coat hanger around thats dodgy as

    SCREW DRIVER FTW .. same sh**t just f’s the locks most the time but ALOT faster :D

  13. marco says:

    my sweet 320d BMW would instantly start crying aloud when you start sticking that thing inside her. Later you will start crying, too…

  14. Steve says:

    Most cars that do not have power locks are easier to use a slim jim. They do less damage becaues there are no power locks to mess up

  15. erick says:

    Doesn’t work in a corolla, the buttons won’t unlock the door. have to use the wedge and hook to pull the keys out through the crack

  16. danvitt says:

    here’s a better method, always use your keys or key chain button to lock the door and you won’t have this problem…. unless its not your car..

  17. chumpman says:

    whoa! I tested it and it works! great article

  18. Mbryant says:

    This is bogus. I drive a 94 Ford Thunderbird and the unlock button is in a really hard to reach place. I agree however about the crappiness of slim-jims. A cop used one to open my door the last time and he f*cked it up and now the driver’s side door won’t open from the inside. I have to roll down the window to get out.

  19. Leland Taulbee says:

    This works just fine with manual locks, I have a 2000 sunfire with manual locks and have used this technique about 5 or six times over the past three years, you just us the rubber tip at the end to get on the lever part of the lock and pull and then

  20. Leland Taulbee says:

    @danvitt sorry, some of us don’t have the luxury of one of those key chain buttons. -_-

  21. CyberPrime says:


  22. Liam says:

    I’ve done this multiple times before with just the coat hanger as that’s generally the easiest thing to find (few times at a friends house, once at a hotel).

    Maybe the other tools do help speed it up, but they aren’t needed.

  23. zlem says:

    Won’t work on my bmw with double-lock. I don’t think there is any way to open the door from inside or outside with double-lock engaged.

  24. Laminarcissus says:

    Since I don’t know what I’m shooting for when I get it inside (!) it might be helpful to post a cutaway of the door lock mechanism inside the door if you have one.

    Otherwise I’m just poking at it in the dark, and I’ve never gotten anywhere with that.

    Cool tutorial though, thanks!

  25. Splicerslicer says:

    I’ve had to do this with my manual locks. You have to bend the coat hanger into a loop at the end and try to hook it around the lock and pull it up. It’s a lot harder especially if you have manual locks that don’t have a anything to hook on to.

  26. Matt Everett says:

    Inflatable wedges are the way to go.

    You can break into just about any car without doing damage just slip the thing in there and then pump it up and it pries the door away enough to get a coat hanger or such in there and unlock the car.

    Just be careful on frameless glass doors.

  27. bret says:

    this site is really taking off, it’s on digg and it’s just blowing me away everyt ime I read it.
    thanks vito and suzanne

  28. Lance says:

    Ever since I owned my first car, I’ve concealed an extra key somewhere under the car, in a concealed place. This is WAY simpler than ANY rigging device.

    Lose your keys? Jimmy-ing your way into your car won’t help there! Just hide a key somewhere on/under your car!! Duh!

  29. Pajero says:

    Interesting. All depends on the shape, length and girth of your knob I guess.

  30. […] -How To Quickly Break Into Your Car A simple how-to locksmithing guide for breaking into your car when you’ve locked yourself out. […]

  31. Tora says:

    –Mbryant —
    If some idiot uses a jimmy stick to open your door and screws it up… you will need to spend some time in your garage. Remove the inside door panel (screws are around the bottom) and pull gently (there are some plastic clips holding it in place.) Under the panel there will most likely be a plastic film with some black glue, just peel that back carefully and try not to rip it.
    Look to where the door handle is… there are a series of heavy gauge wires and come clips that make it all work. If you locks or handle dont work, then the clips mostprobably have come out, or they got broken. Your dealer can have those, and its less expensive to fix than the entire door.

  32. Darn, I could have totally used this when I locked myself out of my car… because that’s exactly what the Pop-A-Lock guy did and charged me $35 for! Oh well…. at least now I know!

  33. Dee Mullen says:

    You know… you could always call the cops, who will do it for free. Also, couldn’t car thiefs use this trick as well?? I actually wrote a blog on my website (www.motorcarscleveland.com) about safegaurding your car against people who use tips like this to steal a car.

    However, it is a good tip to know for personal use when you lock your keys in the cars… just make sure you don’t have these tools locked in the car as well!! LoL

  34. Benny says:

    I work for AAA and the cops don’t open car doors anymore unless there is a child locked in the veh even then they just might break the window.I had someone in the parking lot of a police station and they wouldn’t open up the door!!.This advice is unrealistic unless your locked out at your home or by a hardware store.Thiefs just break the window with a screwdriver faster and quite.They broke into my nieces car in my Driveway and I didn’t even hear it!!Bstrds got caught though later

  35. JB says:

    I love the one about keeping these break-in tools in the car in an easily accessible space. Right!!!!

    Or you could be sure to take these tools out of the car and with you … whenever you plan to lock yourself out.

    OK, no more suggestions from blondes.

  36. Hertz says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I lost my keys over the weekend and I’m strapped for cash. My mate lost his keys for his car which has a similar lock setup to mine and I remember him telling me RACQ (a car service thing in Australia) got into his car in a similar way. I am certain this will get me access to my car so I get to my get to my door and ignition cylinder codes. Halve the price of a mobile locksmith in one easy move!

  37. m says:

    “here’s a better method, always use your keys or key chain button to lock the door and you won’t have this problem…. unless its not your car..

    Words by danvitt on July 27, 2008 at 9:35 am | ”

    Idiot, what if the keys are locked inside? Go fuck yourself you unhelpfull cock.

  38. Jdog says:

    Worked great. Trick is to find a really thick gauge wire. Coat hangers sometimes don’t have the strength to do it.

  39. Doug Mellon says:

    “I guess you’d keep these tools in the car, in an easily accessible place.”
    Why the hell would you do that? Then what happens when you lock yourself out?

  40. Cool says:

    That’s absolutely awesome. seems like a no brainer when someone shows you how to do it.

  41. johndoe says:

    acctually all you need is the wedge and some rubberbands because an antenna off the car it’s self works much better than a coat hanger, who the hell carries a coat hanger?! Anyway just twist the antenna off at the base of it where it meets the car put some rubberbands around it, wedge the door as above then use the anntenna, and tada!!!!

  42. Pete Schmidt says:

    This tool is great for certain model cars, but not all! I carry a bag with over 50 different tools and three books the size of telephone books. I only use the recommended method and tool for opening vehicles. Preventing unwanted damage that can get quite expensive if you don’t know exactly what you are doing.

    Unless you really don’t care about messing anything up, Call a locksmith! The cost is petty compared to the cost of taking your car to a dealer for repairs. If you want to save even more money, join AAA or some other auto club. For under $100.00 a year you won’t have to worry about paying for a locksmith. Plus you get a lot of other useful services included with your membership.

  43. Pete Schmidt says:

    Just wanted to say, I don’t mean any disrespect to the author or anyone else on here. Just sharing my input on the subject. Also wanted to point out that if you do call a locksmith, try to get a recommendation from someone that has used one for unlocking a car. I have showed up on a call after the person called someone else first and discovered that the person before me had broken all the linkages in all four doors before giving up. Not a pretty picture for the owner!


  44. Excalibur says:

    In a pinch, often times, you can unscrew the antenna off of a car (or another nearby car), and bend it slightly before sticking it in through the door. If the front door lock isn’t accessible, try the backdoor. Also, it may not be obvious that you have succeeded, so try the door handle periodically as you do this.

  45. Megan says:

    I opened my car even easier. I used just a curtain rod. I have manual roll down windows. I just pushed the window down with my hand and stuck the curtain rod in and BAM i got it open.

  46. 2fast4u2catch says:

    let’s be honest thieves here and get real!this is really all about ways to steal cars or just break into them.i do both and i use homeade jiggler keys or i just flex the glass to get in or if i really need to get in i use a piece of ceramic from a spark plug,shatters the window silently(nearly)hate to do it that way but all i can say is don’t leave valuable items out for me to see….good luck and always keep your 360 radar detector on while prowling late at night,it has saved me many times. 2FAST4U

  47. RowdyBurms!!!!! says:

    Yes 2FAST4U what you say is true. There are all kinds of tools for breaking into cars and many thieves have probably viewed this page. the fact is that most thieves do it till the get caught or beat up bad…

    “Can there really not be any justice on stolen land?”

  48. phil says:

    Look. This is really easy to avoid. My wife locks herself out of her car almost every month. I got her an all metal lock box that has a magnet on it to keep on her car. It uses a code to unlock it if someone happens to find it. She just keeps a spare key in there and avoids the locksmith. I know you guys are going to say “thats stupid, someone could find it and break into your car with it” but think about it. If a guy wants into your car, he’s gonna break a window or something simple instead of looking for the possibility of your spare key. In fact I keep an unlocked key on my car and it’s never been broken into…

  49. BK says:

    Guys, seriously, don’t do what I did. DO NOT use this on a car with security late at night. Being a moron, I wanted to unlock my doors at night so I could know if I would be able to use my car in the morning.

    I didn’t know that unlocking the doors with this method would trip the alarm (I mean, it never trips it when I’ve been sitting in the car for a while with the ignition off). But it did, and it did in directly in front of my high-story apartment for all to hear, including my superintendant.

    There were witnesses!!! And I’m going to be crucified this week
    :-( ….

  50. Bubba_Dumbass says:

    Thanks – I locked my keys in my pickup while replacing the speakers. My first thought was to call a locksmith. Then saw this on the net. It took me about 15 minutes.

    The coat hanger did scratch a little paint, but it should clean up with some rubbing compound (cheaper than the locksmitch).

  51. Marie says:

    97 ford thunderbird–my husband lost the key with the button and locked the other keys inside (on the floorboard). we have tried to get a coathanger in, but it seems to be made theft-deterrent! on top of that, the electric lock button is in an impossible place to get it pushed.

  52. Stalas says:

    If you have a older car you MAY need an longer “tool”; and bend it around a little until it works right. what you need to do is the same as above except you can try to reach the door handle on the opposite side… it is much more difficult than pushing a button but possible. and if that doesn’t work then you can try to reach the same side door handle, but it is very hard to get good leverage.

  53. jack parkes says:

    it works great, i’ve broke into a citreon saxo and an astra. its better to put it in the side of the door near the handle rather than the top.

  54. anthony says:

    you cant get into a firebird t-top like that

  55. ken kendall says:

    I did this once on a T-top. I made a loop in the end of the wire. Slip the loop over the lock button and move sideways before pulling up. This wedges the loop onto the button.

  56. Hammer…

    Just use a hammer and slam it up against the passenger side window. if you’re a sissy you might need multiple slams. If you’re a uncooth motherf*ck*r like me then you’ll only need one slam.

    So just stop with all the fancy talk about wedgie this and wedgie that…just grab a hammer like a man and slam that sumb!tch up against your window. If you don’t, somebody like me will. BET THAT.

  57. andrew hughes says:

    where do i get one from? thanks andrew

  58. […] full locksmithing tutorial is available here detailing the entire […]

  59. jon says:

    I have an 07 Tacoma, and pressing the unlock button with the doors locked does nothing (this is a security feature). Instead, you have to manually pull the lock latch/knob with the wire. You can use your antenna if you’re really desperate.

  60. Josh says:

    I did this on my *not electric* truck door lock. Took me 5 minutes and a little hand pain, and the lock popped open. I have a horizontal lock rather than a vertical lock; which made things a lot harder.

    *All in all this worked, and was extremely useful to me.

  61. A girl I knew once locked her keys in her 2000-ish Jetta. We called around and locksmiths wanted more than $100 to get the keys. I looked at the key to my ’93 Protege and thought, hmm, why not? It fit in the door and, with a little jiggling, opened it right up. So if you ever need to get into a 2000-ish Jetta, try a Protege key.

  62. coestmann says:

    yes it does. i’ve never had to break into my car before and this really helped lol. its probaby easier to do during the day but it can be done at one in the morning!!

  63. Jake says:

    I keep a lockpicking set locked in my glovebox at all times incase I lock myself out of my car. See, I realize that even if I keep the doors locked, the theif could just reach in the window and open the glove box to get the lockpicking set, so I lock the glovebox too. Now, if I ever lose my keys, all I have to do is get in the car, unlock the glove box, and then I can open the doors!

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  65. Jeff says:

    infinite thanks for the posting of this

  66. nate says:

    Great advise about the rubber tip – makes all the difference. I was able to melt hot glue on the coat hanger tip with a lighter. 30 min trying without tip, no success. 1 min with tip, success!

  67. novelty name says:

    That’s great ! Now how about a hotwiring tutorial ? Then one on how to represent yourself in court ?

  68. Leah says:

    A locksmith used this method to open my 2004 VW Jetta – now the passenger door won’t open from the outside. Any suggestions? The locking mechanism works properly and the door will open from the inside, but not the outside. Thanks.

  69. It’s truly a nice and useful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  70. Thanks for some other wonderful article. Where else may just anyone get that type of info in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am at the search for such info.

  71. April says:

    I had this done to my expedition 2 years ago and afterwards my car door was never the same
    I locked my keys in my car again and i’m relunctent to to do this again
    will it work this time?

  72. Artie says:

    THANK YOU!!!

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