How To Unlock A Car Door Using a Slim Jim

How to Use a Slim Jim

Two Parts:

You don’t know how it happened, but you’re stuck staring at your locked car door, keys nowhere to be found. This can be a costly mistake, especially if you need to call a professional locksmith. However, depending on your car’s make, model and year, you might be able to use a slim jim to open it. A slim jim is a strip of metal with a notched end. First, you need to determine whether your car has the right locks for a slim jim. Then, you need to unlock the door using the slim jim.


Determining If a Slim Jim Will Work for You

  1. Make sure your car doesn’t have electric locks.Trying to use a slim jim on electric or power locks will do nothing but possibly scratch your window and damage the electronics in your car door. There might be other ways to unlock the door, but don’t try using a slim jim.
  2. Ensure your car has upright locks.These locks look like small cylinders and are found near the bottom of the car window, where it meets the door. Note that these locks are usually found on cars manufactured in 1992 or before. If your car was made afterwards, it might still have these locks, but the car door may have electronics, wires or even airbags that make using a slim jim more difficult.
    • If you’re unsure what locks are on your car, you should consult the user’s manual, or try researching your car model online.
  3. Call a locksmith if you’re still unsure.If it’s not obvious whether your car has the right locks for a slim jim, you should strongly consider calling a locksmith. Using a slim jim on the wrong type of locks could seriously damage your car. A locksmith might seem expensive, but the repairs on your car could be moreso.

Using a Slim Jim

  1. Approach the car’s passenger side door.It seems natural to want to open the driver’s side door; after all this is where you typically enter the car. However, professional locksmiths typically try opening the passenger side door.That way, if you make a mistake and damage the door’s mechanism, it won’t be the door you use most.
  2. Insert a wedge between the car window and weather stripping.The weatherstrip is the rubber strip running between the car door and window.This will create the space you need to insert the slim jim. You can get a wedge specifically designed for opening car locks, but they’re typically not much different than a door wedge. Ideally, use a rubber wedge, as a wooden wedge could leave splinters and shards in your car door.
  3. Slide the slim jim in the space made by the wedge.Slide the notched end first, in towards the car lock. Align the slim jim with the lock, pushing down towards the keyhole, which is usually located at the rear of the door. Make sure to insert the slim jim slowly, making sure not to catch on anything on the way down.
  4. Watch the lock for subtle movement.You’ll know the slim jim has caught on the locking mechanism if the lock starts moving slightly. Make sure to keep the slim jim completely vertical, to avoid catching on any other mechanisms.
  5. Pull the slim jim upwards slowly until the door unlocks.If you’ve latched onto the locking mechanism, the lock should move upwards as you move the slim jim. Keep your motion slow and smooth to avoid causing any undue damage. Remove the slim jim and you’ll be able to open the car door.
  6. Avoid making multiple attempts to open the door.If you can’t get the door unlocked after one or two attempts, it’s best to stop before you cause any damage to it. Unlocking a locked door is a very technical skill; don’t feel bad if you’re not able to get it open. Get a professional to open your car door and call a locksmith.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do you pick a car door lock?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    With an automotive lock pick. Normal picks will damage either the pick or the wafers.
  • Question
    Can you use a slim jim on a car's rear doors?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    As long as the locking mechanism is the same, there should be no problem.
  • Question
    Can you use a slim jim on a 1990 Nissan Santra? The door locks aren't upright, but turn to unlock.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Slim Jims work on upright car locks. For the locks in this car, you may need to look at alternate options.
  • Question
    Can I use a Slim Jim if the locks are electronic but the lock is upright?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The security system might prevent you from doing so. Try a long reach tool instead and go for the unlock.
Unanswered Questions
  • Music can you use a slim jim on a 2004 Pontiac Aztek?
  • Where can I buy a slim jim?
  • How to unlock a 2013 Kia Rio with the SlimJim?
  • Can I use a Slim Jim on a 2002 Sport Track rear driver door?
  • Can you use a slim Jim on a 2015 Chevy Cruze?
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Quick Summary

You may be able to use a slim jim to open your car if your car locks are small, upright cylinders near the bottom of the car window, and your car does not have electronic locks. If this is the case, insert a wedge between the car window and the weather stripping, then slide the slim jim in the space made by the wedge, notched end first. Align the slim jim with the lock and push it down toward the keyhole. When you see the lock start to move, pull the slim jim upward slowly until the door unlocks.

Did this summary help you?
  • Consider calling a locksmith to unlock your car door. They are trained professionals who will be able to open your car with little risk of damage.
  • Slim Jims come with notches in a variety of shapes. You can ask an employee at your auto parts store to suggest which shape would work best for your particular vehicle.


  • Be VERY careful when attempting to use a slim jim to open your car. You could damage the weather stripping, the rods of the door mechanism, wires inside the door, or even scratch or break the window glass.

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Date: 08.01.2019, 17:24 / Views: 91391