A locksmith unlocking a car door

How a Locksmith Avoids Damage Unlocking a Vehicle

Modern locksmiths have a more technical and varied set of skills than ever before. The game has drastically changed since the days of pin tumbler locking mechanisms in car doors. Today’s vehicles are equipped with technologically advanced security, internet-connected infotainment and keyless entry systems. While these systems are confusing to the average consumer, locksmiths are trained in unlocking even the most sophisticated vehicles.

With these points in mind, you might wonder how a locksmith is able to enter a vehicle without causing damage. Read on to learn a few of their techniques.

Slip in the Slim Jim

This famous tool of the trade just may be the first object that comes to mind when you think of a locksmith. At first glance the slim jim is a simple tool, but first impressions can be deceiving. It requires a surprising amount of skill and training to use properly. It is also not suitable for every vehicle. If used incorrectly, it could damage fragile wiring inside of the door.

A slim jim is a thin piece of metal that slides into the door (often with the help of a wedge). Once it is in the door, the locksmith manipulates the locking mechanisms of the door to gain access to the vehicle. Reputable locksmiths have the hands-on experience to use this tool without causing damage.

The Key to Fixing a Broken Key is a Key Extractor

Having a car key break off inside of the lock is about as fun as a tax audit. Luckily, modern locksmiths have a device called a key extractor. This specialized tool is used to safely extract the broken key segment from the lock, allowing the lock to be used again like normal.

Locks Aren’t Popping like they Used to

As previously mentioned, many modern vehicles aren’t unlocked by popping the lock. Auto locksmiths have a variety of diagnostic and programming tools used to gain access to vehicles that use computerized locking mechanisms. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, there are specific software packages that can be used to reprogram these systems and ultimately open the car. Often, this involves plugging specialized computer tools into a port called the OBD2 port of the car and reprogramming the system.

The purpose of an anti-theft system in a car is of course to prevent theft. Unfortunately, the anti-theft system (called an immobilizer) can become faulty, thereby making legitimate and legal use of the car impossible as well. Locksmiths are able to overwrite the data on a chip inside the car, thereby “re-flashing” the car’s system and gaining access to the car.

As you can see, the modern locksmith is adept at unlocking all sorts of vehicles without causing damage. The experienced auto locksmith uses carefully honed techniques and specialized devices for the specific purpose of unlocking vehicles. Regardless of whether your vehicle just rolled of the assembly line or is a beloved classic, auto locksmiths can be trusted to unlock vehicles and get stranded motorists moving again.