Getting locked out of your car can be a hassle, especially when it has power locks. However, cars with power locks can still be unlocked without a key.

To unlock a car door with power locks, you can use the remote key fob by pressing the unlock button. When inside, press the unlock button located on the door panel. For manual override, use the physical key in the door lock if the power system fails. Always have a spare key for emergencies.

So, if you’ve ever wondered how to unlock a car door with power locks, you can follow the steps above. Also, here’s a more detailed guide, let’s dive in!

Key Takeaway

  • Use the Key Fob: Press the unlock button on your key fob to instantly unlock your car door with power locks.
  • Manual Override: Locate the manual override lever or button inside your car to unlock doors without power assistance.
  • Professional Locksmith: When you’re locked out and can’t unlock the car, call a locksmith or roadside assistance for safe entry.

Basic Unlocking Techniques Of Car Door Power Lock

Unlocking a car door with power locks is easy once you know how. Power locks are great because they help you get into your car fast. Let’s talk about the basic ways you can unlock your car door.

Using The Key Fob

The key fob is a small remote transmitter that sends a signal to your car’s central locking system. It typically features buttons for locking and unlocking all the doors simultaneously, sometimes with additional functions like trunk release and panic alarms.

  • Process: Simply press the unlock button on your key fob. The car will receive the signal and activate the unlocking mechanism on all doors.
  • Points to Remember: Ensure the key fob has battery life. A battery replacement is needed when the fob doesn’t blink when pressing the button.

Manual Key Entry

Manual Key Entry

Even with power locks, most cars retain a physical keyhole on the driver’s side door. This allows access using the traditional metal key.

  • Process: Locate the keyhole on the driver’s side door handle or panel. Insert the car key and turn it in the appropriate direction (usually clockwise to unlock). This will unlock the driver’s side door, and you can then use the interior door handle to open it. Most cars will also unlock the other doors automatically upon opening the driver’s door.
  • Points to Remember: Always carry your car key as a backup, even if you primarily rely on the key fob.

Through Car App (if applicable)

Many modern cars with keyless entry systems offer smartphone apps that act as virtual key fobs. These apps connect to your car’s Bluetooth or Wi-Fi network and allow you to lock and unlock the doors remotely.

  • Process: Download and install the car manufacturer’s app on your smartphone. Pair your phone with the car’s Bluetooth or Wi-Fi system following the car’s manual instructions. Once paired, use the app’s interface to unlock the car doors.
  • Points to Remember: This method requires your phone to have a charge and be within Bluetooth or Wi-Fi range of the car. Additionally, not all cars with power locks have compatible apps. Check your car’s manual or manufacturer’s website for app availability.

Alternative Methods For Car Door Power Lock Unlock

Sometimes, keys get left inside the car. This can be a big problem. But don’t worry! There are some other ways you can try to open your car door with power locks.

String Or Shoelace Trick

This method works well on doors with pull-up locks. Here’s what you do:

  • Take a long piece of string or a shoelace.
  • Make a small loop in the middle that can tighten when you pull the ends.
  • Slide the string into the top corner of the door.
  • Move the string back and forth until the loop goes over the lock.
  • Pull both ends to tighten the loop and lift the lock up.

The Wedge And Rod Technique

The Wedge And Rod Technique

This needs care so you don’t hurt your car. Here are the steps:

  • Find a small, flat wedge. A doorstop or a piece of rubber works.
  • Gently put the wedge in the top part of the door to make a small opening.
  • Keep the door open a bit with the wedge.
  • Use a long rod, like a straightened coat hanger, and push it through the gap.
  • Push the power lock button with the rod.

Coat Hanger Method

This old trick is good for cars with manual locks. Here’s how to implement the coat hanger method:

  • Take a coat hanger and straighten it out.
  • Make a small hook at one end.
  • Slide the hook part into the door gap.
  • Feel around for the lock loop and hook onto it.
  • Pull up once you’ve got the loop.

Emergency Key Access

Most modern cars with key fobs also come with a hidden mechanical key. This emergency key serves as a backup option in case the battery in your key fob dies or the electronics malfunction.

Locating Emergency Key Slot

Locating Emergency Key Slot

The emergency key slot is usually well hidden to prevent unauthorized access. Consult your car’s owner’s manual for the exact location. Here are some common places to look:

  • Behind a panel: There is a small panel near the driver’s side door handle that pops out to reveal the keyhole.
  • Inside the door handle: Some cars have a hidden slot within the driver’s side door handle itself. You will need to pry open a small compartment to access the keyhole.
  • Fuel door release lever: On some models, the emergency keyhole is cleverly disguised behind the fuel door release lever.

Inserting Key Or Tool

The emergency key is typically integrated into the key fob itself. Locate the designated spot on your fob and pry it open to reveal the physical key.

When you’ve lost your key fob or the key is detached, you will be able to use a slim tool like a butter knife. But, be careful to avoid damaging the slot. It can replace the key, if it fits the shape of the slot.

Turning To Unlock

With the key firmly in the slot, turn it as you would with a traditional key lock. The direction can vary – typically, you turn it away from the edge of the door, but if that doesn’t work, try the opposite direction.

The turn may require a bit more force than usual, especially if it’s rarely used. Once turned correctly, the lock should disengage, and you’ll be able to open the door.

Preventing Future Car Door Power Lock Outs

Getting locked out of your car can be a hassle. To avoid the frustration of a dead battery in your key fob or a malfunctioning power lock system, here are 3 proactive steps you can take:

Spare Key Strategies

One of the most effective strategies is to have a backup plan, and that means spare keys.

  • Double the Fobs: Consider having two key fobs programmed for your car. Keep one with you at all times and leave the other in a safe place, like at home with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Hidden Spare: Make a physical copy of your car key. Store it in a magnetic key holder hidden under your car. But, this is not safe. Consider the next option instead.
  • Wallet Compartment: Since your wallet is something you always carry, consider having a hidden compartment to hold a spare key.

Smart Habits Formation

Developing smart habits can significantly reduce the risk of locking your keys in your car.

  • Double Check Battery: Develop the habit of checking your key fob battery regularly and replacing it before it dies. Most fobs have a low battery indicator light, so be mindful of that as well.
  • Key Fob Location: Always keep your key fob in a designated spot, like a pocket, purse, or bag you carry with you everywhere. Avoid leaving it loose in your car or other places you will forget it.
  • Phone Lock Integration: Some newer cars allow you to unlock the doors using your smartphone app. This can be a handy backup option, but make sure your phone is charged and within range.

Technology Aids

key fob finder

In today’s digital age, technology offers convenient solutions to avoid getting locked out.

  • Key Fob Finders: Invest in a key fob finder that can be attached to your key fob and pair with your phone via Bluetooth. This way, you can use your phone to locate your key fob if you misplace it.
  • Smart Lock Devices: Some aftermarket smart lock devices can be installed on your car and integrated with your smartphone. These allow you to unlock your car using your phone’s app, eliminating the need for a key fob altogether.


1. How Do You Open A Power Locked Car Door?

To open a power-locked car door, use the remote control or the button inside the car. When the power system fails, use the key in the external lock or the manual override inside. For persistent issues or if locked out, contact a professional locksmith or roadside assistance for help.

2. Can I Unlock My Car Door Power Lock Manually?

Yes, you can manually unlock your car door with power locks. Use the physical key hidden in your key fob to unlock the door directly. Alternatively, locate the manual override lever inside the car, typically found near the door’s latch. This ensures access even when the electronic system fails.

3. Why Is My Car Door Power Lock But Not Unlock?

Once your car door power locks but does not unlock, the issue may lie in a faulty actuator, a damaged wiring connection, or a problem with the remote control. It’s essential to inspect these components to identify and fix the issue, ensuring your car’s locking system functions properly.


Unlocking a car door with power locks is easy once you know how. Remember, use the remote or the button inside your car first. When that doesn’t work, check your car’s manual for help. And if you’re still stuck, it’s okay to call a professional for help.

By following these steps, you can get back into your car quickly and safely. Always stay calm and think of the best way to unlock your car.

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