How Can I Unlock My Car Doors If the Key Won't Turn?

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Keeping your car doors locked is one important safeguard against auto theft and vandalism, but it can also backfire. For any of a variety of reasons, occasionally car keys won't turn in the door. There are a few reasons this can happen, but they are all solvable problems.

Locksmith

  • One step is to call for professional help. A locksmith or police officer will likely use a device called a slim jim which slides inside the window pane and unlocks the door manually. This is a quick fix and will work particularly well on older vehicles, but there will be a fee associated with this service if a locksmith is used.

Thawing the Lock

  • In colder areas, a lock will sometimes become uncooperative if it is frozen. It can be thawed using a product called de-icer, which will contain simple instructions along with it. A blowdryer can also be used on a lock if de-icer isn't available.

Lubrication

  • An old lock might just need some lubrication in order to turn properly. In this event, use some professional lubricant like W-D 40 to get the gears sliding better, then try the key again. If the problem was just debris or rust, lubricant will solve it.

Keyless entry

  • Most newer automobiles also contain keyless entry. If your car has a keyless entry system, the key not turning won't be a problem. Simply unlock your car using this separate device.

References

  • "How Cars Work"; Newton, Tom; 1999.
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