Determining If a Slim Jim Will Work for You
Make sure your car doesn’t have electric locks. Trying to use a slim jim on electric or power locks will do nothing but possibly scratch your window and damage the electronics in your car door. There might be other ways to unlock the door, but don’t try using a slim jim.
Ensure your car has upright locks. These locks look like small cylinders and are found near the bottom of the car window, where it meets the door. Note that these locks are usually found on cars manufactured in 1992 or before. If your car was made afterwards, it might still have these locks, but the car door may have electronics, wires or even airbags that make using a slim jim more difficult. If you’re unsure what locks are on your car, you should consult the user’s manual, or try researching your car model online.
Call a locksmith if you’re still unsure. If it’s not obvious whether your car has the right locks for a slim jim, you should strongly consider calling a locksmith. Using a slim jim on the wrong type of locks could seriously damage your car. A locksmith might seem expensive, but the repairs on your car could be more so.
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Using a Slim Jim
Approach the car’s passenger side door. It seems natural to want to open the driver’s side door; after all this is where you typically enter the car. However, professional locksmiths typically try opening the passenger side door .That way, if you make a mistake and damage the door’s mechanism, it won’t be the door you use most.
Insert a wedge between the car window and weather stripping. The weather-strip is the rubber strip running between the car door and window. This will create the space you need to insert the slim jim. You can get a wedge specifically designed for opening car locks, but they’re typically not much different than a door wedge. Ideally, use a rubber wedge, as a wooden wedge could leave splinters and shards in your car door.
Slide the slim jim in the space made by the wedge. Slide the notched end first, in towards the car lock. Align the slim jim with the lock, pushing down towards the keyhole, which is usually located at the rear of the door. Make sure to insert the slim jim slowly, making sure not to catch on anything on the way down.
Watch the lock for subtle movement. You’ll know the slim jim has caught on the locking mechanism if the lock starts moving slightly. Make sure to keep the slim jim completely vertical, to avoid catching on any other mechanisms.
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Pull the slim jim upwards slowly until the door unlocks. If you’ve latched onto the locking mechanism, the lock should move upwards as you move the slim jim. Keep your motion slow and smooth to avoid causing any undue damage. Remove the slim jim and you’ll be able to open the car door.
Avoid making multiple attempts to open the door. If you can’t get the door unlocked after one or two attempts, it’s best to stop before you cause any damage to it. Unlocking a locked door is a very technical skill; don’t feel bad if you’re not able to get it open. Get a professional to open your car door and call a locksmith.