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What to Do When There are Locked Keys Trapped In Your Car Trunk?

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Locked keys trapped in your car trunk can be a frustrating and stressful experience, leaving you stranded and unable to access your vehicle. But don’t worry. You can take steps to retrieve your keys and get back on the road.

Let us guide you through various solutions, from simple DIY tricks to professional assistance, and provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to handle this situation easily. We will also cover safety precautions and tips to prevent this situation from happening in the future. Whether you’re a car owner or a locksmith, this guide is a valuable resource that will help you unlock your car trunk and get your keys out.

How to Identify the Lock Type of Your Car Trunk

One of the first steps in retrieving your keys from a locked car trunk is to identify the type of lock on your vehicle. There are several common car trunk locks, each with unique characteristics and methods for unlocking them. Identifying the type of lock on your car trunk is essential for determining the best action and selecting the appropriate tools and techniques for retrieving your keys.

Cable Release Trunk Lock

This type of lock is typically found on older vehicles and is activated by pulling on a cable that runs from the inside of the car to the trunk. They are relatively simple to unlock with a coat hanger or other thin, flexible tool.

Electric Trunk Release

Many modern vehicles have an electric trunk release button that can be activated using the key fob, the dashboard, or inside the car. They can also be controlled with a switch inside the vehicle, usually located near the driver or passenger seat.

Keyed Trunk Lock

Some vehicles have a traditional keyed lock on the trunk, similar to the type of lock found on a front door. These locks can be unlocked with a key or picked open with lock-picking tools.

Central Locking System

Some modern cars have a central locking system, which locks and unlocks all doors, including the trunk, with the press of a button on the key fob or inside the car.

Trunk Latch Mechanism

Some cars have a simple latch mechanism that releases the trunk when pulling the handle. They can be unlocked by pulling the emergency release handle inside the car.

It’s worth noting that not all cars have the same type of lock, and depending on the model of your car, the location and type of lock can vary. Identifying the type of lock on your car trunk can be tricky, especially if you are unfamiliar with the car. If you are still deciding, you should always seek the help of a professional car locksmith.

What are the Best Methods for Unlocking Car Trunks?

When your car keys are locked in the trunk, the most important thing is to stay calm and evaluate the situation before attempting to retrieve your car keys. Once you have identified the type of lock on your car trunk, you can select the appropriate method for unlocking it. The best method for unlocking your car trunk will depend on the type of lock, the make and model of your vehicle, and your level of skill and experience.

Here are some of the most common methods for unlocking car trunks:

  1. Using a coat hanger: For cable release manual locks, a coat hanger can be bent and shaped to form a hook that can be used to pull the cable and release the trunk lock.
  2. Using a Slim Jim: A Slim Jim is a long, thin piece of metal with a hook on one end. It can be inserted between the car door and the weather stripping and used to manipulate the door’s locking mechanism.
  3. Lock-picking: If your car trunk has a keyed lock, lock-picking tools such as tension wrenches and pick tools can unlock the trunk.
  4. Using the emergency release handle: Some vehicles have an emergency release handle inside the car that can unlock the trunk even if the keys are locked inside.
  5. Calling a professional locksmith or roadside assistance: If you cannot unlock your car trunk on your own or are unsure about your ability to do so safely, it is best to call a professional locksmith for assistance.

Depending on the car’s make, model, and year, some methods might not be feasible or even cause damage to the vehicle. Also, attempting to open the trunk with a non-professional method might void the car warranty. To be safe, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional locksmith who has the right tools and expertise to unlock the trunk without causing any damage.

Limitations of DIY Solutions for Locked Keys Trapped in Car Trunks

While there are many DIY solutions for retrieving keys locked in a car trunk, it’s important to understand the limitations of these methods. Attempting to unlock your car trunk on your own can be risky and may damage your vehicle or even injure you. Here are some of the main limitations of DIY solutions for locked keys trapped in car trunks:

  • Lack of specialized tools: Many DIY solutions require specialized tools that may not be readily available or that you may need to gain experience using. For example, lock-picking requires special tools and knowledge of how locks work, which only some have.
  • Potential for damage: Attempting to retrieve your keys with a coat hanger or other improvised tools can damage the lock or other components of the car’s trunk.
  • Limited success rate: DIY solutions may only be effective in some cases and may only work with some types of locks or vehicles.
  • Risk of injury: Retrieving keys from a locked car trunk can be dangerous and may result in injury if not done correctly.
  • The difficulty of the task: Depending on the type of lock, the complexity of the car’s design, and the skill of the person attempting to open it, the task can be difficult and may require a professional approach.
The Importance of Calling a Professional Locksmith for Complex Car Trunk Lock Situations

Calling a professional locksmith is often the best course of action when dealing with a complex car trunk lock situation. Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to call a professional locksmith in these situations:


Locksmiths have the expertise and experience to safely and effectively unlock a wide range of car trunk locks, including those that may be too difficult or risky for a layperson to attempt.

Professional Tools

Locksmiths have access to professional-grade tools and equipment that can safely and efficiently open your car trunk without causing damage to your vehicle.


A professional locksmith will have the knowledge and experience to unlock your car trunk safely and without causing injury to you or damaging your vehicle.

Time Efficient

Locksmiths are trained professionals that can open your car trunk much faster than a layperson, this way. You can get your keys back and be on your way as soon as possible.


While hiring a locksmith may seem high, it’s often much less expensive than the damage or repairs that can result from attempting to retrieve your keys with DIY methods.

Additional Services

Locksmiths can also provide additional services such as replacing the lock, making a new key, or providing a spare key on the spot, saving you time and hassle in the long run.

How to Prevent Future Lockouts by Maintaining Your Car Trunk Lock and Keys

Preventing future lockouts by maintaining your car trunk lock and keys can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration. 

  1. Keep your keys in a safe place: Always keep them in a safe place, such as a purse or pocket, and avoid leaving them in the car or on a table where they can easily be misplaced or stolen.
  2. Get a spare set of car keys made: A backup key can be a lifesaver in case you lose or misplace your primary key. A locksmith can make you a spare key that you can keep in a safer place or with a trusted friend or family member.
  3. Have your locks serviced and inspected: A locksmith can inspect your car trunk lock and ensure it is in good working condition. They can also service and make any necessary repairs to your lock to ensure it continues functioning properly.
  4. Consider keyless entry systems: Some cars have the option to have keyless entry systems installed, which can provide an added level of security and convenience. A locksmith can install and program keyless entry systems for your car.
  5. Follow the car manual instructions: Always follow the car manual’s instructions for the lock and key system. These instructions can provide the best guidance on maintaining your car trunk lock and keys.
  6. Remember the internal lock mechanism: Locksmiths are experts in internal lock mechanisms and can help you identify and fix any problems that might exist inside the lock, preventing future lockouts.

King Locksmith Atlanta can help you by inspecting, servicing, and making necessary repairs to your lock, making spare keys, installing keyless entry systems, and providing guidance and expert advice on maintaining your car trunk lock and keys best. With the help of a locksmith, you can prevent lockouts from happening and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a secure and reliable lock and key system.

What to Do When There are Locked Keys Trapped In Your Car Trunk
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