How to Pick a Car Lock (Best Tools & How to Use Them)

While picking a lock is not the most exciting thing in the world, it’s a skill that can come in handy in certain situations. Maybe you’re locked out of your car and don’t have a spare key, or maybe you want to be a locksmith (or at least impress your friends). Either way, knowing how to pick a pin tumbler lock is worth the effort.

Here are some of the best tools for picking a car lock, so you’ll be prepared for anything:

  1. Paperclip
  2. Bobby pin
  3. Screwdriver
  4. Knife
  5. Credit card
  6. Hanger
  7. Slim jim
  8. Lock pick set
  9. Auto jigglers
  10. TOY 43 (2-in-1 lock pick)
  11. Hook Picks

This article describes how you can use these tools to pick a car lock. I will also provide some tips on how to make the process easier.

Picking a car lock.

1. Paperclip

A paperclip is one of the most popular lock picking tools, but it is also one of the most challenging methods of picking a car lock. When using a paperclip, you need to be very careful because it can break if you bend it too much.

Here is a step by step guide on how to use a paperclip to pick a car lock:

  1. Take a paperclip and straighten it out.
  2. Bend one end of the paperclip so that it is at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Insert the bent end of the paperclip into the keyhole.
  4. Try to feel for the tumblers inside the lock.
  5. Once you find the tumblers, use the paperclip to push them up or down.
  6. Turn the paperclip until the lock opens.

This might sound easy on paper, but it’s tricky to pull off, especially when under pressure. However, don’t be discouraged if you’re having trouble. Just keep practicing, and you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

You also want to keep in mind that this method will not work for newer car locks. They come with anti-picking features like spool pins, which will make it almost impossible to pick the lock with a paperclip.

Overall, this is the oldest method in the book, but it might not get you very far with car locks these days.

2. Bobby Pin

A bobby pin is another popular tool for picking car locks. It has the same difficulty level as a paper clip, so you might try this one if you don’t have a paper clip on hand.

However, this method is strikingly similar to the paper clip method. The only difference is that you use a bobby pin instead of a paper clip.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a bobby pin and straighten it out.
  2. Bend one end of the bobby pin so that it is at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Insert the bent end of the bobby pin into the keyhole.
  4. Try to feel for the tumblers inside the lock.
  5. Once you find the tumblers, use the bobby pin to push them up.
  6. Turn the bobby pin until the lock opens.

Like the paperclip method, this is an old-school lock picking solution that can be too challenging for a beginner.

3. Screwdriver

A screwdriver is an excellent tool for picking a car lock because it’s sturdy and easy to use. The only downside is that it’s more difficult to conceal than a paperclip or bobby pin.

Here is a step by step guide on how to use a screwdriver to pick a car lock:

  1. Take a screwdriver and insert it into the keyhole.
  2. Try to feel for the tumblers inside the lock.
  3. Once you find the tumblers, use the screwdriver to push them up.
  4. Turn the screwdriver until the lock opens.

This method is very similar to the paperclip and bobby pin methods, but it’s a little easier because you don’t have to worry about breaking the tool.

I have used it with varying levels of success. Sometimes it works like a charm, and other times it doesn’t work at all. The difference between successful attempts and failures often has to do with the type of lock.

4. Knife

A knife is an excellent tool for picking a car lock because it’s strong. However, it’s also the most dangerous option, so use it with caution.

Here is a step by step guide on how to use a knife to pick a car lock:

  1. Take the knife and insert it into the keyhole.
  2. Wiggle the knife around until you feel the tumblers inside the lock begin to move.
  3. Once the tumblers move, turn the knife to the left or right (depending on which way the lock opens) and apply pressure.
  4. The lock should now open.

Finding a knife that fits into the keyhole is the real challenge here, so you may need to try a few different blades before finding one that works. You also risk damaging the lock if you use too much force, so be careful.

Of course, there are specialty knives are made for picking locks, but any strong knife will work in a pinch. Just remember to use caution.

5. Credit Card

If you’re in a bind and need to get into your car quickly, two credit cards can help you pick the lock. However, you need to be careful not to damage the cards.

Here is a step by step guide on how to use credit cards to pick a car lock:

  1. Take a credit card and slip it into the space between the door and the frame.
  2. Try to wedge the card in as far as possible.
  3. Take a second credit card and insert it into the space next to the first card.
  4. Again, try to wedge this card in as far as possible.
  5. Use your two credit cards to apply pressure to the locking mechanism.
  6. You should feel the mechanism start to give way.
  7. Once you’ve pushed the mechanism far enough, the door should open.

The best part about this method is that it won’t damage your car door. However, it can be challenging if you don’t have two credit cards handy.

6. Hanger

Who would have thought that a humble hanger could be used to pick a car lock, and that it is actually very effective?

Here is how to use a hanger to pick a car lock:

  1. Take a hanger and straighten it out as much as possible.
  2. Make a small hook at one end of the hanger.
  3. Insert the hanger in the space between the window and the door.
  4. Try to hook the end of the hanger around the locking mechanism.
  5. Pull up on the hanger and this will unlock the door.

With this simple technique, you can easily unlock a car door without any damage. The problem is that a hanger is not always available when you need it, so this will only work in a residential situation or if you are in a position to purchase one. However, it is still a good emergency technique to know.

7. Slim Jim

This one works similarly to the credit card method, but you’ll need a special tool called a Slim Jim. This is a long, thin piece of metal designed to slide between the door and the frame.

Once you’ve inserted the Slim Jim into the space between the door and the frame, you’ll need to wiggle it until you find the locking mechanism. Once you’ve seen it, apply pressure and slide the Slim Jim until the door pops open.

This method can be challenging if you’re not familiar with it, so it’s best to practice on an old car door before trying it on your car. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s a quick and easy way to pick a lock.

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8. Lock Pick Set

If you are serious about learning how to pick a lock, you need a good-quality lock pick set. Many different brands and types of lock pick sets are available on the market, so do your research and find a set that fits your budget and needs.

My favorite brand of lock pick set is the Southord Lock Pick Set. This set comes with a variety of different picks and tension tools and a comprehensive instruction booklet.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Start by inserting the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyway and applying light pressure.
  2. Next, insert the pick of your choice into the keyway and start feeling for the pins. When you feel a pin, apply a little pressure to it with the pick and continue holding the tension wrench.
  3. After that, use the pick to push the pin until it reaches the shear line. You will know the pin is in the correct position when you can feel it click into place.
  4. Repeat this process for each pin until you can turn the plug and open the lock.

With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to pick just about any lock you come across! Just remember to remain within the confine of the law when using your lock-pick set.

9. Auto Jigglers

This is a special type of lock pick designed explicitly for car locks. Auto jigglers are long, thin pieces of metal with teeth on one end. They’re inserted into the keyhole and then wiggled around until all the tumblers go to the open position.

Using an auto jiggler is pretty easy, even for a total beginner. The only thing I dislike about auto jigglers is that they can be challenging to control. If you’re not careful, you can easily damage the locking mechanism.

But overall, auto jigglers are a great tool for picking car locks.

10. TOY 43 (2-in-1 Lock Pick)

This specialty tool is a must-have for any professional or aspiring lock picker. The TOY 43 is a 2-in-1 tool used as both a tension wrench and a lock pick. It’s made of high-quality stainless steel and comes with a comprehensive instruction booklet.

The TOY 43 is my go-to tool for picking car locks. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket but strong enough to get the job done. And best of all, it’s affordable.

To use this tool, simply insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyway and apply light pressure. Next, lift the cover to reveal the two lock picks then feel for the pins. Then apply a little pressure to it with the pick and continue holding the tension wrench.

Use the pick to push the pin until it reaches the shear line. You will know the pin is in the correct position when you can feel it click into place. Repeat this process for each pin until you can turn the plug and open the lock.

The TOY 43 is an excellent tool for picking car locks, but it can also be used on other types of locks. I’ve used it to pick everything from padlocks to car locks.

11. Hook Picks

This tool looks like a screwdriver, complete with a handle and a shaft, but instead of a metal bit on the end, there’s a small hook. The hook picks the lock open by moving the pins up or down.

To use this tool, insert the shaft into the keyway and apply pressure with the handle. Next, insert the hook pick into the keyway and feel for the pins. When you find a pin, use the hook to move it up or down until it reaches the shear line.

You will know the pin is in the correct position when you can feel it click into place. Repeat this process for each pin until you can turn the plug and open the lock.

You may also like to read: How to Unlock a Steering Wheel No Matter the Car

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the basics of lock picking, it’s time to put your new skills to the test. I suggest starting with a simple lock like a padlock or door lock. Once you’re comfortable with those, you can move on to more complex locks like car locks.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you pick locks, the better you’ll become at it.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start picking!

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