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How to Pick a Car Door Lock with a Paperclip

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

Did you know that you can pick a car door lock with a paperclip? It’s true! Follow these simple instructions and you’ll be able to unlock any car door in no time.

Gather Supplies

Picking a car door lock can sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a few items you can find in any home or office. For this task, you will need a paperclip, a bobby pin, and some needle nose pliers. Once you have these, you can begin the process of picking the lock.


Paperclips are a common household item commonly used for organizing papers and documents. Many people do not know, however, that paperclips can also be used to pick car door locks with a lock picking set.

To pick a car door lock with a paperclip requires straightening out the clip and then forming it into several pieces that are angled inwards slightly before inserting them into the keyhole of the locking mechanism. As you rotate the paperclip in different directions in the keyhole, each angled piece should come up against the locking pins of varying heights in turn and gradually push them up until all of them are at the same level – unlocking your car’s door.

If you don’t have a proper lock picking set on hand, using two or three paperclips may work just as well. But make sure you have an ample amount of time to practice and not rush or force it – as jamming or damaging your car locks can be an costly repair job ahead of you!

Small flathead screwdriver

In order to pick a car door lock with a paperclip, you’ll need a few supplies. A small flathead screwdriver is one of the most important items in the process. The slot on the paperclip needs to be inserted in the hole of the door lock, and you need something to apply a little pressure. The added pressure helps ensure that it can fit into the tiny crevice, giving you an easier time when attempting to manipulate it open. Additionally, you will need a pick set which consists of multiple lock picks and tension wrenches that are designed for opening car locks. This tool set makes it much easier to insert and turn mechanisms that are otherwise hard to reach with just your fingers. Finally, having some lubrication will greatly aid in pick manipulation and reduce any chance of damaging the lock itself or tool components.

Prepare Paperclip

One of the most common methods of picking a car door lock is with a paperclip. This technique can be used on most standard car door locks. Before attempting to pick your lock, it is important to make sure that you have the right tools. You will need a paperclip, a pair of needle nose pliers, and a flat head screwdriver. It is also important to note that this technique will only work on standard car door locks and not newer, more complex lock designs. With the right tools in hand, you are ready to start picking your car door lock.

Straighten the paperclip

The first step to picking a car door lock with a paperclip is to begin with a standard, medium-sized paperclip. A smaller or larger clip may work, but the medium is the most reliable size. Straighten out the paperclip as much as you can using needle-nose pliers. Leave some of the curved end intact so that you have one end that resembles an L shape and another that resembles an angled hook. This will be used to create tension on the interior lock mechanism of your car door.

Bend one end of the paperclip into a 90-degree angle

When you’re ready to pick a car door lock with a paperclip, start by taking an ordinary paperclip and bending one end into a 90-degree angle. This small hook-shape will be the key to engage the car door lock, so bend it carefully. Once your ninety-degree angle is complete, take the straight portion of the paperclip and bend it again at the midpoint. This will create enough leverage to actuate and unlock the door. The exact size of your bends may vary slightly depending on your make and model of vehicle.

Insert Paperclip into Lock

Picking a car door lock with a paperclip is not as difficult as it may seem. The first step to picking a lock with a paperclip is to insert the paperclip into the lock. To begin, take a paperclip and straighten it out. Next, hold the end of the paperclip and insert it into the lock at a 45 degree angle.

Insert the straight end of the paperclip into the keyhole

Once you have the outer end of the clip bent, you are ready to pick your lock. Insert the straight end of the paperclip into the keyhole as far as it will go and then gently press down with one hand. You’ll feel a spring-loaded “barrel” move; this is connected to the lock’s pins and allows them to move. At this point, you should slowly begin to withdraw the paperclip while slowly and gently wiggling it to encourage each pin around its resting position. The goal is to move all of these pins so that they are even with each other but still block access to thelock’s mechanism when engaged. If done correctly, you should be able to hear this happen as pins clink slightly against one another as they reach their stopped-down position.

Once all ofthe pins have been moved into place, you can turn the paperclip counterclockwise and open your car door!

Push the paperclip as far as it will go

Now that the paperclip is fully set in the lock, begin to push it as far as it will go. The goal should be to engage with the inner-workings of the lock mechanism, a process which requires firm but gentle force. As you push in the paperclip you will note some resistance, this is normal. Continue to apply pressure until the resistance has been overcome and then some. The goal should not be to break anything, but instead to create an effect inside the door lock that will allow you to open it.

Once you have applied sufficient pressure and made enough contact with the door’s lock mechanism, try rotating or jiggling the paper clip in a gentle but consistent manner. This can provide just enough motion needed for a successful unlock of your car door’s lock.

Manipulate Lock Cylinder

To pick a car door lock with a paperclip, you will need to be able to manipulate the lock cylinder. A paperclip can be inserted into a car door lock and used to push, pull, and turn the lock so that it can be opened. Different techniques can be used to make it easier to pick a lock with a paperclip. This section will cover these techniques for manipulating the lock cylinder.

Rotate the paperclip with the small flathead screwdriver

Once you have the small flathead screwdriver attached to the paperclip, insert it into the keyhole of the car door lock. Gently wiggle and move it around until you feel tension from within the lock. Once this tension is felt, you may use the flathead screwdriver to start rotating the paperclip. Continue rotating in one direction for 15-20 seconds so that pins within the lock can be successfully manipulated. After a few times attempting to rotate, resistance should decrease and you should be able to open your car door with successful manipulation of your car door lock cylinder!

Feel for the pins, and apply pressure to each one

Once you have the two pieces of the paperclip separated and straightened out, you will begin to feel for the pins inside the lock cylinder. For most cars, you will find six pins. Using your picks (the two pieces of paperclip), you will need to depress each pin one at a time while applying slight pressure to the tension wrench as well.

When inserting pick A, start with the pin closest to you and work outward. Slide the pick into the lock and nudge it towards the back so it touches each pin in turn. As the tip of pick A touches each pin, apply light pressure with your tension wrench. When all of them are in place and touching their corresponding pins, start turning your tension wrench clockwise slightly while maintaining contact between pick A and each pin.

Next, insert Pick B between pick A and each individual pin within the cylinder as needed (not necessarily in a linear pattern). You’ll want to lightly wiggle B side-to-side after insertion so that it can catch on any loose spots or jiggling pins caused by pick A’s movements — this is known as “raking” or “scrubbing” your lock. If done correctly, there should be a slight click sound when a pin is moved over its specific point. Repeat this process until all of its pins have been manipulated by both picks simultaneously before moving on to another one within the same row (or column) inside of your lock cylinder.

Continue to apply pressure until the lock opens

Once you have successfully manipulated the pins of the lock cylinder, you can continue to apply tension to the paperclip in order to complete the lockpicking process. It is important that even pressure is applied and that a continuous movement is already established while manipulating the pins. Otherwise, if the pins return to their original positions, then you must start again. You may need to carefully adjust your tension to ensure a gradual movement and steady unlocking action. If done correctly, once you reach a certain point in your manipulation, the pressure will be relieved as it is released from its locking position and engaging rungs of your paperclip. This can indicate that the door has unlocked successfully and may now be opened normally with ease.

Lock Your Car

There are many different methods of securing your vehicle, and picking a car door lock with a paperclip is one of the easiest and most affordable options. This method of lock picking only requires a few simple household items and will allow you to open the door to your car without the need for a key. Let’s look at how to pick a car door lock with a paperclip and the steps you need to take to make sure your car is secure.

Once the lock is open, use the paperclip to lock the car door

Now that you’ve managed to open the car door with a paperclip, use it to lock it back. Insert the tip of the paperclip into the small hole in the door handle and rotate it clockwise until you hear a click. This should activate the internal locking mechanism and secure your vehicle again. You can check that your latch is locked properly by tugging on the door handle and making sure it doesn’t budge.

If you find yourself without access to an extra paper clip, or if you can’t find one in time, you can also use a metal wire hanger, part of a hairpin or even fuse wire from an electronic device. Be sure to practice caution when tampering with locks and make sure to observe safety precautions when attempting such activities on your own.

How to Pick a Car Door Lock with a PaperclipCheckout this video:

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