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Locked Your Keys in the Car? Here’s How Much a Locksmith Will Cost You

  • Auto Insurance
  • Renee Martin
  • 4 minutes

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Almost every driver has been in a situation where they’ve been locked out of their car – and it’s not desirable at all! But how much will it cost to hire a locksmith to unlock a car?

If you think that you’ll never be forgetful enough to get locked out of your own car – you have another thing coming! Even the sharpest drivers can make the mistake of leaving keys in the car – one of the many ways you can get locked out. In fact, almost 16,000 lockouts happen in the US alone every year!

It’s always handy to have a locksmith’s number in your contact list. Here, we break down everything you need to know about when to call a locksmith and how much it will cost you to unlock your car.

In what situations should you call a locksmith to unlock a car?

  • When you’ve forgotten your keys in the car and are locked out
  • If your car key fob is dead and the manual key is not working
  • If you’ve accidentally locked a child or pet inside a car and are unable to unlock it
  • You’ve lost the keys to your car and want to replace the keys

how much does it cost a locksmith to unlock a car

How much does it cost for a locksmith to unlock a car?

Depending on the severity of the lockout, a locksmith’s service can cost you between $50-$250. Other factors like the make and model of your car and the kind of locking mechanism. Luxury cars may cost more to unlock because they use more sophisticated locking features.

Locksmiths charge the following average rates for their services

  • Fee to physically unlock a car door: $80-$150
  • Cost to unlock your car door in an emergency (rushed service/middle of the night): $140-$300
  • Cost to rekey your car door: $50-$300

Apart from unlocking car doors, they can also help you in other situations that need key replacement:

  • Replace the locks on your car door: $250-$500
  • Rekey your ignition: $50-$150
  • Install a new keypad: $400

How do locksmiths unlock a car?

Unlocking a locked car can seem easy-peasy in the movies, but in real life, you need a trained professional to ensure your car isn’t permanently damaged. Going at it with a coat hanger can often do more harm than good.

Locksmiths are trained in the different ways to unlock a car like:

Using Slim Jims

Slim jims may seem easy to use, but they are handy tools only in the hands of a good locksmith. These tools can be inserted between the glass and weather stripping of the car window to unlock it without using a key.

Broken Key Extraction

It’s also possible that your key breaks off and a piece of it remains in the slot. In such situations, locksmiths can use a broken key extractor to remove the part, and then create a new duplicate key.

Mechanical Code Key Cutter

If your car is one that primarily uses keyless entry, you may not have a spare key lying around. Locksmiths use a key analyzer to determine the shape and then a mechanical code key cutter to make a precise duplicate of the manual key.


Locksmiths know how to reprogram keyless entry systems and unlock cars without too much damage to the car’s systems.

Immobilizer Reprogramming

Many car models these days have an immobilizer, which prevents a car from starting when a thief tried to jack it. However, if you need to enter your car when you’ve lost your key, the immobilizer can be a big hurdle. But locksmiths know ways to get around them!

Also read: How much does a new car key cost in 2022?

Can you call the police for help unlocking a car?

While you can always call the police for help when locked out of your vehicle, they may not be able to unlock the car for you without damage to your vehicle. Calling the police will be your best bet in an emergency like if a child or pet is trapped inside a car.

But for all other purposes, it’s best to trust a trained locksmith, roadside assistance service, or towing service.

Does roadside assistance cover locked keys in a car?

Some auto insurance providers offer locksmith services as part of additional coverage. It is usually a standard option included under roadside assistance plans – but the coverage and distance limits may vary.

Also read: All you need to know about car key replacement

how much does it cost for a locksmith to unlock a car

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