Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you lost your house keys? To some people lock picking or maneuvering is a skill needed only by locksmiths and criminals, but if and when you find yourself in a circumstance when you are locked outside your own home either as a result of key misplacement, loss or simply forgetting it inside, then you'll know that learning the art of opening a door without a key is a great lifesaver.
Door locks give us a sense of security and also keeps our homes and cars from intruders. But there are certain times or situations where we as homeowners have been shut out and left standing out there as we were if an intruder.
At such times, you might want to engage the services of commercial locksmiths but you can surely save yourself some money and time by knowing some tricks for unlocking the door yourself. You might also consider keeping a spare available near you to avoid these embarrassing episodes.
However, this is not a license to go about opening other people's doors and the car behind them. These tricks are to be used solely to open your properties or those you have been granted permission by their owners.
Method 1: Lock Picking
Having a lock pick set in our handbags or car can come in handy. If not available, then a bobby pin or metal paper clip can be used as well.
You'll need a tension wrench and a lock pick. Firstly, insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the lock's keyway, then applying slight pressure, turn it in the direction the lock would normally turn if a key was inserted. Next, insert your lock pick into the keyway above the tension wrench and lift the pins one by one. You'll hear or feel a click once the pin falls into position. Do this until all pins are set, fully turn the lock with the tension wrench, and then the door lock opens.
As earlier stated though, if you don't have a pick lockset, you can make do with bobby pins or metallic paper clips as the plastic ones break easily. You'll be needing two of these and you'll need to manipulate them into the shapes of a tension wrench and a rake. Simply bend one of the bobby pin or paperclip 90 degrees to form the handle of the tension wrench and fold out the other one as straight as possible to serve as the rake.
Method 2: Using a credit card
This method aims at placing the card in between the door and the strike plate and then forcing the latch out so that the door opens. Though it works less on modern doors as they have reinforced strike plates, it's a good way of opening doors with slanted latch bolts. Also, note that the card used might be damaged in the process so it's best to use a gift card or other less valuable cards that can bend easily.
Simply insert the longer side of your card in between the door and the frame towards the side where the latch bolt is slanted, make sure the card is perpendicular to the door. push down the card against the latch, turning the handle, and simultaneously apply pressure against the door. This should force back the latch and open the door.
Method 3: Using a Bump Key
A bump key is a kind of makeshift key that can be made and used to open your locked door. However, it’s to be noted that some locks have anti-bump security features, and therefore bumping would not be effective on such locks.
To make a bump key, you'll need to get a key that can fit into your lock's keyway without necessarily turning, just make sure it fits it. To convert the normal key to a bump key, the cuts need to be filed down to the lowest acceptable depth without them losing their shapes. You'll most likely need to do this yourself as most locksmiths don't make it as it can be used by criminals and burglars.
A bump key will work with a tumbler lock. A tumbler lock is made up of around a segment that turns once the pins inside line up and no longer blocks its motion. When a key is inserted into a tumbler lock, the teeth of the key lifts a pin and then drops it into the cut below it and make a soft click sound. When all the pins are lifted, the lock will turn and open.
Once you have made the bump key, push it inside the lock's keyway till it reaches the last pin, and then exert pressure on it using a rubber hammer or screwdriver by striking the key, turn the bump key immediately and the lock should open provided the right amount of pressure is applied. Several attempts might be required though before you get the right amount of pressure needed.
Method 4: Drilling
This method comes in handy when there is an emergency or someone is in danger. However, it is a destructive method of opening the lock as it damages all the lock components. So be sure to get a new lock and have them installed after unlocking the door.
This method aims to use force to separate the driver pins from the key pins that are holding the lock in place thereby allowing the plug to rotate freely.
For this method, you need a drill and the right sized drill bit, screwdriver, and lubricant. First, properly align the drill at the top part of the keyway, and then drill through each pin.
Method 5: Using a Hex Wench
Interior doors ( the type that has a small round hole in the entre of its door handle) can be opened using this method.
Get a set of a hexagonal wrench, and since it comes in different sizes, first find the one that has the same size as the hole in the door handle. Push the wrench into the hole on the door straight and then begin to slightly turn it back and forth till you feel it catch on something. Turn the wrench now and the door should come open.
In a case where no hex wrench is available, you can substitute using a screwdriver. You'll need a screwdriver with a thin rod that can fit into the hole of the keyway. Insert the screwdriver in the hole, turn it around till you hear the lock give way.
Method 6: Applying Sheer force
When there is no time to be wasted because of a dire situation, or if all other methods seem not to be working, then you can resort to breaking the door. But have it in mind, that this method would destroy the lock and most times the door frame and door. This method works on wooden doors.
Stand with your feet wide apart, lift your dominant leg and with your foot facing the door, kick the lock with the bottom of your foot. It usually is better to use your foot than your shoulders as your shoes give additional protection to your foot and thus can absorb more force. Keep at it until the lock breaks.
For doors that are reinforced and not breaking easily, you can ram it down. You'll most likely to be needing a new door afterward though.
Method 7: Unlocking car doors with a metal coat hanger
There are times too that you accidentally misplace your car keys or forgetfully lock them in the car. Don't despair though, there are ways to getting yourself back in the car without your keys. Just be sure the car is yours to avoid some embarrassment and possible jail term.
You can use a metal coat hanger. Unfold the hanger at the neck and straighten it out leaving the hooked upper part. To open a manually locked car door, check the bottom of your car window at the driver's side, you’ll see a weather stripping ( its a strip of rubber that’s there to keep out the rain). Lift the rubber near the lock and push in the hooked part of the hanger through the gap between the rubber and the window.
Turn the hanger up and down till it touches the latch, hook the latch with the hooked part of the hanger and pull it towards the back of the car. The car door should open now. If the car has a push-button electric unlocking mechanism, however, slide the straight end of the unfolded hanger down from the top of the window and use it to press the button inside.
You can also use a cord if your car uses a push-button mechanism that requires you to pull up the button. For this, you'll need a fairly strong and long cord, a bit longer than your car window's width. Roughly tie a slip knot in the middle of the cord, slip it in between the door and frame of the car and let it drop downwards. Loop the knot over the lock and then pull firmly on both ends of the cord to tighten the knot. Now pull up on both sides of the cord to pull the lock up and your car door comes right open.
Each lock comes with a key and this gives the easiest, most stress-free, and best way to open it. However, if and whenever you find yourself at the other end of your locked door without the key on you, you can always get right back in with minimal damage. But hey, if the door or car doesn't belong to you, back off!