We have all been there, or some of us at least. Sometimes we forget our car keys in the car and without realizing we’ve left the keys inside. And sometimes your kids might take your keys and go play in the car. When you ask your kids to come in for lunch, they unintentionally lock the doors. And leaving the car keys inside the vehicle. This article is a simple guide on how to unlock a car door with a hanger.

This situation can be quite frustrating. Most people would call out a locksmith and have them unlock the car. But in a case where you have a spare key in the house, then you don’t need a locksmith. All you need to do is pick up the extra key and open your car.

Most car manufacturers offer more than one set of keys when you purchase a brand new vehicle from them. While others have a policy of one car, one key.

Lost key - How Do You Unlock A Car Door With A Hanger

But what if you can’t afford a locksmith at that very moment. Or you’re too far out and you know that the call out charge for a locksmith will be expensive. You would want to improvise and unlock your car door by yourself. A hanger can be used to do that.

How to unlock car door with a coat hanger

There are several ways you can open your car without the keys. And one of them is by using a hanger. With this method, you don’t have to call out a locksmith or seek any extra help. All you need is a coat hanger. If you own a manual car, what most people do is that they insert the hanger through the door frame and disengage the pinned lock.

But if your car is an automatic vehicle with your window a little bit open, you can twist the hanger through the window and try pressing the unlock handle. Unfortunately, if you own a modern vehicle, both these methods may not work on modern cars. And it may incur additional damages to your car.

But don’t stop reading just yet. We have two methods that may just help you unlock your vehicle and save you some money by not having to call out a locksmith.

First Method

Unlocking the locks

Okay, you have your hanger in place. Now you got to strengthen it out. Stretch it out, until you know it can reach your car’s unlock handle. If your hanger is the kind that is hooked, you can untwist or unhook it all together to be able to straighten it out entirely.

You can make a curved grip at the end of the hanger to enable you to have a firm when holding it. After strengthening it out, your hanger should be very straight and have a twisted hook at the end of it. Also, you may want to put on some gloves before you untwist your hanger, so you don’t hurt yourself.

Conversely, you could use hardware tools such as pliers, to make things much easier for you. Make a “V” shape with your hook – Now, try bending the hook of your hanger into a V shape. We recommend a V shape because it can grip the lock handle and will have a firm grip on it. Also, a V shape can fit into a small gap area of your car door, which will make the whole thing easier.

Read also: How Much Does It Cost To Change Car Locks

You can use pliers for the job. Pliers can assist you in folding the end of your hanger and make it a V shape. Some car manufacturers make door locks that come with a small channel to make it easier when using a hanger to unlock your door.

Apart from a V shape, you can change the chapel to whatever shape you feel will perfectly grip the unlock handle more.

Slightly adjust the window if it’s fully closed. If your window is slightly open, then you don’t need to adjust it or do anything. But if your window is closed, all four of them, then there’s no way your hanger can make it’s way to the unlock handle unless one or more of you’re windows are opened a bit. Preferably the front sit windows.

You can insert or slide something into the gap between your car window and the door and then insert your hanger. But you should be careful. Because if you pressure your window too much, there’s a chance you might break it.

We recommend using a paint scrapper as it is much better than using a tool like a narrow screwdriver. Once you’ve opened up your window, get a small piece of cloth or something else to keep the window open for as long as you need it to stay open.

Now slide your strengthened hanger into the small gap. The next step is to hold your hanger at its end and slide it into your car via the window. Some cars have door locks that are at the rear side of the door. If your car is like that, then you can try approaching the unlock button from a different side, preferably the front side.

This is important because if you approach the unlock handle in the wrong direction, you may apply too much pressure on your window and break it. But if you use the right approach, you can easily pressure the lock and pull it up.

After you’ve successfully secured yourself a sweet spot to slide in the hanger, you now have to move it around until you grip the unlock handle. Move your hanger around and around until you catch it. Once you do, pressure it with the hanger, pull the hanger backwards the rear of your car. Pull and pull.

If the lock is very close to the rear side of your window, you will want to change tactic and pull it up instead. Keep on applying the pressure as you try to pull the unlock handle and open the door. If you are successful and end up hitting it, the car door will be unlocked, which means you can open your car.

Hitting the unlock button

After putting your hanger through the window, instead of aiming for the vehicle’s unlock handle that is just at the rear side of the window, you can aim for the unlock buttons instead. Although, this method can be very difficult and will require a lot of patience. Because it could take a while to hit the button and unlock the car.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To Get Into A Locked Car

If you find it hard to hit the unlock button, try attaching something to the edge of your hanger and try again. Preferably, wrap a tiny rubber band around the edge of your hanger for a better grip. Then you will have better chances of hitting the unlock button. That will help you open your car door without the keys.


The above method can work on your car and help you in unlock your car door using a hanger. However, to be on the safe side, we highly recommend calling out a professional locksmith to do their job. The above method is necessary in the case of an emergency. Or if a professional is not close by.