How to Pick Automatic Car Door Locks

cloved hands working on car door lock with pick
  • 1-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-150
What You'll Need
Slim jim
Digital lock pick gun
What You'll Need
Slim jim
Digital lock pick gun

If you've ever locked your keys in your car, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with car door locks. Automatic locks are a little different than the old fashioned locks as well. While the same methods will work for opening the lock, there are some procedures that are easier than others. Here's what you can do if you've locked your keys inside thanks to the auto-lock feature on your car.

Step 1: Contact Satellite Company

Newer cars often come with some form of satellite monitoring service, like OnStar. Before you start messing with picking the locks, call them if you are subscribed to the service. They will be able to remotely unlock the doors for you.

Step 2: Old Fashioned Slim Jim

This can damage the lock and the door if you don't do this correctly. This also may not work on cars that have anti-theft designs built in. To use a slim jim, you will slide the metal piece down in to the door between the window and the weatherstripping. You will want to work your way around until you feel the slim jim connect with a lever. Gently pull the slim jim up until the door unlocks.

Step 3: Digital Lock Picks

If you are lucky enough to have access to lock picking tools, the digital lock pick can allow you access to your vehicle quickly. These will have several picks that are interchangeable. Simply choose the pick that is most closely the shape and size of the lock entry, and insert the pick into the door lock.

Press a button on the device and the pick does the work for you. If you don't have one of these tools, you can purchase one for under $100. It's not a bad idea to have as a back up in case you do ever lock yourself out.

Step 4: Call a Professional

Even with the best tools, you can damage your lock or your car if you aren't experienced with the tools. If you haven't been able to gain access to your car using the slim jim or digital lock pick gun, it's time to call for reinforcements.

Depending on the area you live in and the time of day, having a lock picked is generally less than $60. Replacing a lock you have damaged while using a pick gun can be over $100, and replacing a broken window from a slim jim is much more.


If you don't already have a key hidden somewhere on the exterior of your car, it's a good idea to place one somewhere. This will prevent the headaches of dealing with a lockout.

You can purchase small magnetic boxes that are easy to hide in wheel wells or under the car's belly for very cheap. It's also not a bad idea to have copies of your keys made for a trusted friend or family member.