How to Unlock your Car with a Coat Hanger?

Have you ever been locked out of your car? You came home from a long drive, or you had a long day at work and getting home, you did not remember to take the car keys with you? Or maybe you cannot recall where you left the car keys, and you are in a dilemma? To most people, this is something they have experienced.

But, when it happens, there is no need to panic because luckily, there are other ways of opening the vehicle. This article is going to focus on unlocking your car with a coat hanger. There are three techniques you can use to unlock your car with a coat hanger. Most people have done it after locking themselves out of the car.

Previously, car owners could unlock the vehicle by connecting a wire to the door. They would then disconnect the lock by pulling the wire. For modern cars, if the window is broken, you can slide the hanger through the cracked space to push down the unlock stud.

How to Unlock your Car with a Coat Hanger

Sadly, it is not a guarantee that the techniques mentioned above can work on recently manufactured cars, and there is a possibility of damaging your car if you use such methods. Therefore, this article will discuss three safe ways of unlocking your car with a coat hanger without damaging it.

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Opening your Car Using a Coat Hanger

Technique 1: Slide Lock Pull/Push

Make the Hanger Straight and Curve it as Required

In the case of pull or push locks, the first thing is to make sure the hanger is straight to get to the sliders. Once the hanger is straight, curve it as required to get to the lock. How you will curve your hanger will be determined by the type of your vehicle. The curves on your hanger should be properly made. However, ensure the hanger is not overly curved because this would make it hard to pull or push the slider.

Make a Hook at the Tip of the Hanger

If your vehicle lock slider needs to be pulled, you have to curve the hanger’s tip to form a hook. On the other hand, if your vehicle’s lock needs pushing, you must curve the hanger in a way that it can apply the force required to slide the lock.

You need pliers to curve the tip of your hanger into a strong and small hook. Ensure the hanger is very thin for easy passage if you are going to slide it into the car through a window or door gap. 

Put in the Hanger Through the Space Between the Door Frame and the Door

There is a very small space between the frame and the door itself. If there is no other way you can get the hanger inside the vehicle, you need to slide it in using that small space. 

In every vehicle, there is a weatherproof layer that separates the frame and the door. This layer is easily damaged, but you will have to put the hanger through it into the inside of the vehicle.

There are cars whose weatherproof layer is impassable because of reasons like the angle it is placed. Therefore, you will have to find a way of pushing the hanger inside. Make sure you do not damage the weatherproof layer so that your door does not start leaking, making it unfit for the vehicle.

Get Assistance from a Someone

The hook is now inside the vehicle, but from where you are standing, you cannot see the slide for unlocking the vehicle. So, you have to get assistance from someone standing on the passenger side to peep in the car and help you locate the slide.

Nevertheless, you can do it all by yourself, although you will need to be patient. But, getting assistance from someone else makes the work easier.

Open the Door by Pulling or Pressing the Slide

You are now ready to open the door. As required, pull or push the lock slider. Patience in this process is crucial because you may have to try several times before your hook gets hold of the lock button or the slider. Moreover, it may be necessary to keep altering the shape of the hook to fit in the unlock button. Make sure you do not do this in a hurry. It may take time and sure it will. When moving the hanger inside the vehicle, be careful not to hurt the weatherproof layer further.

Technique 2: Opening Vehicle Locks

Making the Hanger Straight

Normally, a coat hanger is not straight. So, the first step to using it is to make it straightened to reach the unlock stud. Without doing so, it would be a waste of time using it.

When straightening the hanger, do not alter the shape of the curved part because this is what you will hold when pulling or pushing the unlock button. The hooked part is the one you are supposed to untwist and make straight. The end product must be a long straight wire with a hook on one end.

You do not want to hurt your hands in the process. Therefore, ensure you put on protective gear when untwisting the hanger. Additionally, you can get hold of pliers. It will simplify the process.

Make the Hook V-shaped

You want something that can grip the lock stud. Therefore, make the hanger’s hook v-shaped. A v-shaped hook is ideal as it can pass through the weatherproof layer between the frame and the door easily to perform the task. It will also give you a great grip.

As we all know, it is not easy to bend the hanger into your preferred shape with bare hands. So get pliers. It will assist you in making the tip of the hanger V-shaped. Remember, the curved part of the hanger is for holding, so, you will fold the opposite end of the hanger into a V shape. 

It is possible to unlock almost any vehicle using a coat hanger because many car locks have a part that is easy to grip. Ensure you try making different hanger shapes until you get the ideal one that will get hold of the unlock stud properly.

Window Prying

In case the windows of your car are closed, pry the one near the driver’s seat slightly. This is not applicable if the window is open. Be keen when prying the closed window, and before you do it, make sure you slide a piece of wood into the small space between the door and the window.

Keenness is a must here because if you use a lot of pressure, you can break the window. A paint scraper is a great surface for prying. You can use it because it does a better job than a screwdriver

After opening the window, put a rubber or cloth piece in the small opening to keep the window open. 

Get the Hanger inside the Vehicle Through the Opening

While holding the curved part of the hanger (the one you did not straighten), push the hanger through the small opening you have created between the door frame and the window.

In case the lock button of your vehicle is located at the back of the door, you will need to get it from the front. Note that you should get hold of the lock button from a location that allows you to exert the necessary pressure needed to unlock it. Ensure you do not apply additional force on the pried window to avoid breaking it.

Get Hold of the Unlock Button and Pull It

It is time to get hold of the unlock button with the v-shaped part of the hanger inside the car. Ensure you are standing in a position you can easily locate the door lock so you can direct the hanger well. You may try to catch the lock several times but do not give up. Do it until you hold it then pull the hanger to exert pressure on the lock.

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Sometimes, the lock may be located near the backside of the window. If this is the scenario, then you will need to apply force forwards while pulling it. Apply this force continuously until the door is unlocked. Once the lock button pops up, you can now enter your car. But, if it does not, you will have to try getting hold of the lock button several times.

Pressing the Door Lock

In some cases, the lock of your car door does not require pulling but pressing. In such a case, enter the hanger into the vehicle through the narrow space you created between the door frame and the window and press the unlock stud with the bent part of the hanger. To successfully press the unlock button, you may need to try several times.

If, after several trials, the unlock stud is not properly pressed, attach rubber on the tip of your straightened hanger.

How to Unlock your Car with a Coat Hanger

Technique 3: Creating a Slim Jim

Make the Hanger Straight

In this method, you will need to make the hanger straight apart from its tip, which you will curve using pliers to make a hook. This will be like a centimeter long. To properly curve a hook, you will need to bend the top part of the hanger several times, ensuring that the remaining hanger is straight.

Get the Hanger Inside the Vehicle Through the Weatherproof Layer. 

Gently strip the weatherproof layer with your hands and put in the bent part of the hanger. Ensure you do not use a lot of effort when inserting the hanger. In case the weatherproof layer gets damaged, contact a specialist to replace it.

Make Sure the Hook is Not Facing the Exterior

Once the hook is inside, move it circularly until when you are sure it is properly positioned to catch the unlock button. You can have somebody on the other side of the car to help you know if the hook is facing the inside.

Turn the Hanger Sideways

While moving the hanger sideways, it will catch the bar controlling the locks. When this happens, draw up the bar. This bar is located close to the inner door grip. Cars come with varying door designs, and so this technique may not be useful on all cars. Since you cannot see the inside of the vehicle (where the bar is), use little force to draw it up.

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Drawing the Bar

The lock needs to be disengaged for you to be able to enter the car. So, once the hook catches the bar, draw it backward or up depending on the type of lock your car has. It is important in this step to have someone peep from the passenger location to ensure you are pulling the right thing; otherwise, you may damage some other parts of the car lock. Drawing the bar is very easy when the hook catches it properly.

Frankly, this technique is hard, especially when you are doing it alone because door locks come in different designs.


It is advisable to get help from a professional when you forget your keys inside the car even though the techniques discussed above can unlock your car. This is because any slight mistake can be costly, for instance, window breaking when trying to open it from the outside. However, in cases when it is not possible to get a specialist to open the car for you, you can try the techniques tackled in this article, but you need to be very careful.

Your car is one of the most expensive things you have in your compound, and you need to take care of it properly. Never try to do something you are not sure. You would rather wait to get assistance from a professional. Make sure your mind is relaxed if you decide to unlock your car using a coat hanger.

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