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Left the keys inside your car? These tricks might be of help

Don’t panic: there are many ways to open a door when you don’t have your keys at hand

Keys hang from the door of a Maruti Suzuki Swift car at its stockyard on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad April 26, 2013
Keys hang from the door of a Maruti Suzuki Swift car at its stockyard.Amit Dave (REUTERS)

In the movie The Next Three Days, Lara Brennan is sentenced to life in prison for a crime that, in principle, she did not commit. Her husband John, played by Russell Crowe, exhausts all legal avenues to achieve absolution before deciding to get her out of jail by breaking the law, with a plan that includes opening a van to get his wife’s medical report. For this, he resorts to the tennis ball trick to unlock the car door. But does it really work in real life? Are there any other similar resources?

To do it, first you need to make a hole in the ball with the hot tip of a screwdriver, a box cutter or even with a drill; of course, being extremely careful at all times. Once you have done this, place the hole of the tennis ball against the keyhole. Then, holding it firmly, press hard. The goal is to create pressurized air to unlock the door. It works in the movie; as for real life, there are several TikTok and YouTube videos that call into question its effectiveness.

A plunger or a suction cup

A similar trick involves a plunger or a suction cup. With both objects it is possible to create a vacuum on the lock in order to exert pressure on it so you can open the door and retrieve the keys that are inside.

A shoelace

Another formula for opening a car door when you forget the keys inside involves a shoelace. This method, however, only works with models that have a vertical locking system. In the middle of the cord, you have to tie a slipknot; then, put it through the gap between the door and the car. With some patience, you will be able to place it on the latch, tighten it and pull up to open it.

A hanger

With a wire hanger you can make a makeshift picklock that will help open vehicles of a certain age. This trick does not work with the most modern security systems; only with those that have a horizontal locking system. With a pair of pliers, make a hook on one end of the hanger and insert it through the window to pull the lock up or press the unlock button that some models have on the door.

How about a screwdriver?

This trick requires care in order to avoid damaging the bodywork, as well as a screwdriver and a metal bar. With the screwdriver, you have to create a small gap between the door and the car: then, use that space to insert the bar and press the unlock button.

Car insurance or an assistance service

All these tricks require patience and dexterity; you don’t want to damage your car and end up with an unexpected expense. And remember that you can always call your insurance roadside assistance service and have an expert solve the problem for you.

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