What Types of Tools Does a Mobile Locksmith Need?


A mobile locksmith is a professional who serves customers with automotive locksmithing needs. Often, these are customers who have lost their keys or locked them in their cars. The mobile locksmith uses special tools to open the car doors without damaging the car. These tools can be purchased at many lock shops, or through professional organizations such as the Associated Locksmiths of America.

Slim Jim

  • A slim jim, sometimes called a slim shim, is one of the primary tools used by mobile locksmiths. It consists of a steel bar that may vary from a few inches to a few feet in length. The bar is notched at the bottom and may have a bend or slope along its length. A mobile locksmith can insert this tool between the glass and weatherstripping on a car window to unlock the door without the keys. The notch on the bar is used to trigger the control arm for the car's locking mechanism. Slim jim models are slightly different, depending on the type of car being worked on. Only a trained locksmith should use this tool, as improper application can disable the car's airbags or electrical system.

J and L Tools

  • A J tool is used on cars that have raised lock/unlock buttons along the inside of the door. This feature is typically found on older cars, whereas newer models have recessed or electrical lock buttons. The J tool is fed through the window so that it reaches inside the car. From here, it can be maneuvered to raise the unlock button and release the door. An L tool is similar, but has a slightly different shape to work with different types of vehicle designs. Both of these tools are often used with supplementary wires and guides that are fed through the top of the window to help the locksmith access the lock.

Auto Jigglers

  • Auto jigglers, sometimes called tryout or bump keys, are a combination between a key and a lock pick. They resemble a ring of keys, but up close, each key has its own unique shape that is designed to pick a lock. Each model or major type of car uses its own unique key blanks, which have their own shape and dimensions. Each key used on that model will have the same basic characteristics. A set of auto jigglers incorporates these features, but combines them with universal tools that can take the place of a key. A locksmith should have a set of jigglers for each major car model. For example, she will need a set for Fords, for trucks and for European cars. Some sets that are similar to others may be interchangeable, but this isn't always the case.

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