Easy Fixes for Being Locked Out

Forgetting your keys or a faulty lock can leave you locked out in the cold. Follow the below tricks to get back inside fast.

Easy Fixes for Being Locked Out

I forgot my key

Use a plastic card to open the lock

It pays to keep spare keys with friends or neighbours, or in a key safe in your garden, but what if you've locked yourself out without any backup? If the door is locked with a surface mount lock, you can try a card trick you may have seen in the movies.

  • Insert a plastic card into the gap between the door and the frame where the latch is located, bending it back towards the doorknob while pushing it in as far as it will go.
  • When you've pushed it in as far as it will go, straighten the card while opening the handle and leaning against the door. With some luck, the door will come open.

If you have a dead bolt, you will need to call a locksmith; this is because dead bolts require you to turn the key in the lock to move the bolt and open the door, whereas surface mount locks employ a spring to keep the bolt in place, and the bolt can be pushed back externally.


Don't use a credit card or other important plastic in your attempt to unlock your door — it may get damaged in the process.

The door lock has frozen me out

Warm up the lock or the key

Sub-zero weather combined with moisture in the air can cause locks to freeze shut. With a little ingenuity you can heat your way indoors.

  • Try breathing on the frozen lock to free its movement.
  • Heat the key on the hood of your car if you've just driven home, dip it into a cup of hot coffee or even heat it gently with a lighter. Wear a pair of gloves and be careful not to burn your fingers.
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