Locked out in Lincoln – Vehicle Advice for a Bad Day!

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re locked out in Lincoln and needing some help. The first thing to say is don’t panic because we’re going try to help you. Furthermore, try not or make things worse by having a go yourself and damaging your car unless you are confident you know what you’re doing.

We unlock cars most days all over Lincolnshire. On top of that we’ve heard of so many stories about why it happened , whatever you’ve done someone has already done it!

What’s happened?

There are two types of car lockouts, which one applies to you? 

  1. Somehow you’ve left your keys in the car and the doors are all locked. Maybe they were in the ignition while you de-iced the car, or possibly you had a flat battery and left your car keys in the ignition when you connected the battery charger. As a result your keys are inside so now it’s a simple case of unlocking your car to get them. Or maybe you have a different problem.
  2. You’ve got a key and it’s NOT inside the car. However, when you press the button on the key it doesn’t unlock. Or you put you car key into the door lock and it won’t work. As a result, you’re locked out. This is a bit more unusual, but depending on what car you have, I’m sure we can help. 

Locked out in Lincoln - When the keys are inside

(Before you read on, if you have a key but it’s playing up, please skip down to the bottom half of this post.)

In the olden days, unlocking a car was easy. For a start, there were only so many keys for each car so if you borrowed your friends key for his Ford Cortina, it might just fit yours!

Picture from Wikipedia

Next, if that didn’t work you could grab the nearest coat hanger or some packing tape and try and pull the button up on the car door. 

Locked out in Lincoln

Image from https://anewwayforward.org/how-to-unlock-a-car-with-a-coat-hanger/

Unfortunately things have moved on and unless you have a very old or basic car these things won’t work on modern cars. So what can you do?

How WE unlock cars

Firstly we’ll look at what we do. On most cars we use lock picks. These slide into the lock and move all the pins in the lock so that eventually, if we do it right, the lock turns and the car is open.
Locked out in Lincoln
Unfortunately, this isn’t the sort of thing you can do yourself. The lock picks are delicate tools and tricky to learn how to use, so lets look at what you can do.

What You CAN Do

Call Roadside Assistance
Are you on the AA, RAC or a similar breakdown service? Maybe it’s included as part of your car insurance, or your bank account. We have a policy with our bank that includes this service so it’s worth checking that out if you’re locked out in Lincoln. 

Many of the breakdown patrols are very professional at unlocking cars. Many have lock picks and are very good at using them, so hopefully they’ll be able to help.

Call Your Local Garage

Garages are very resourceful and they’ve had to get themselves out of scrapes in the past no doubt. Odds-on they’ll have accidentally locked keys in a car that they’re working on at some point. It’s really common they’ll have a lockout kit. So give them a call and see what the can offer. At worst, they’ll give you the number of a good Auto-Locksmith and hopefully that’s us!
Call an Auto Locksmith
Sometimes you need to admit defeat. As painful as it is to pay someone to unlock your car, in the long term it may save you money. We often get called out and find there’s already damage caused by a well intended ‘would be locksmith’.
Locked out in Lincoln
That damage can run into the hundreds so long-term it’s normally cheaper to pay a professional to help.

How Much Does it Cost to Unlock a Car?

As a general guide, you can expect to pay £90 for us to come out in the van and professionally unlock your car. The charges are made up of several things including

  • Maintaining and insuring the van.
  • Putting fuel in the van.
  • Wages for the locksmith who is coming out.
  • Repair and replacement of tools, lock picks etc. 

You may find someone cheaper if you phone around. Likewise, if you accidentally call a national company (be careful they can use a local number), they’ll take £50 off you immediately and then phone around to find a company like us who can help you. Then you’ll need to pay us as well, so the whole job can cost around £140 – £200. This is why you want to shop locally when you’re locked out in Lincoln. 

If you’re worried you’re going to get scammed, then check out our blog post on the best way to find a good Auto Locksmith. We wrote this for our UK Blog site and it has lots of good information on it. 

I'm pretty handy, any other tips?

If you are handy at this sort of thing, it’s understandable you want to try and unlock your car. The lock-out kit we talk about is a selection of metal rods, maybe a lasso, and a blow-up pillow that creates a gap in the door. It will look a bit like this.

The idea is that you make a gap between the door and the car. Next you feed in either a rod, or a piece of pacing tape.

Imagine you are outside the bank after withdrawing a lot of cash. You want to count it, but are worried someone is going to open the door and grab it. How would you lock the car from the inside? Once you have the answer to this question, you know how to unlock the car from the inside! Cars have a random selection of methods including pressing a button on the inside of the car, pressing a switch on the door pillar or pulling up a button. 

Once you know what you have to do, it’s simply a case of trying to do this with a rod or lasso from the outside of the car! It’s a bit like ‘Hook-a-Duck’.


This is where the damage starts. We have seen doors bent back, and interiors scratched to bits and you still may not get into the car.

Locked out in Lincoln

So proceed with caution and try not to make things worse. 

Nissan Qashqai, Note, Micra etc

Just as a quick extra, if you find yourself locked out of a Nissan, the good news is that you can get it fairly simply. If you contact a good Auto-Locksmith they will will be able to help. We would simply order a key number from the dealer and cut you a door key so you can get back in! The total for this would be £45 and the key is normally available within a few hours.

Better still if you have a key number, or can get your own from the dealer, we’ll charge you £24for a door key. This will save you paying for someone to come out to you. 

Part Two - Locked out in Lincoln with a key

So this is the part where it’s normally easier and cheaper to help you. Read on to find out how you can save yourself some money when you’re locked out in Lincoln.  This section is all about when you have your car key but is won’t do what it should do. The problems are as follows.

Problem One – Your key buttons don’t work 

This is really common and at some point bound to happen if you drive for long enough. There are several reasons that you car key buttons stop working.

  • The car key battery needs changing. 
  • Your buttons are faulty.
  • The main car battery on the car is flat.

What to do about each of these.

Your Car Key Battery Needs Changing 

Let’s start with the easiest first. At some point your car key battery will need replacing. Hopefully you’ll notice that it’s getting difficult to use some time before, but if suddenly it don’t work, try a new one. You have a couple of choices when buying a new key battery. If you can visit us then bring  the key to our shop on Tritton road in Lincoln. We’ll check to see whether it needs a new battery and most probably replace it for you. We charge £10 for this service and call it a ‘battery for life’. Click to read more

Or, if you want to try it to change it yourself, we’ve made over 100 YouTube videos on our national website that will help.

Click here Take a look and you should find what you need. 

Hopefully once you’ve changed your battery you’ll be in and the problem will be over. 

Your Car Key Buttons are faulty

Again, no surprises here because underneath the soft or hard rubber buttons are delicate electrical switches that can get damaged. We often see this at our shop in Lincoln can replace the faulty ones with  new switches and a case. 

This type of repair is cheaper than us coming out to you, so if you can visit us we can hopefully fix your key. This type of repair costs between £30 and £50 depending on what key it is.

Main Car Battery is Flat

In the winter this is very common. If your key normally works ok, then check to see if it’s your car battery. Imagine unplugging your TV and then trying to change the channel using the remote.

Obviously it won’t work because there’s no power going to the TV. Well it’s the same with your car. If the battery is flat, there’s no power and so even if your key is working fine, the car will not unlock. 

How Do I Unlock the Car?

If you have a key, it should be easy. On the car there will be a door lock. If you can’t find it then try the following.

Look on the passenger side.

On French vehicles such as Renault, it’s very common to have an emergency lock on the passenger side. 

Locked out in Lincoln


Look for a hidden lock. 

It’s become the fashion to hide away the door locks under plastic caps. We think this is a stupid idea, but it’s what’s going on, so it’s best we all get used to it. We regularly take calls from confused motorists that are convinced they don’t have a door lock.

So where is the door lock?

Depending on what car you have the lock could be on the drivers or passenger side. On some cars the manufacturers have made it easy by showing a car key symbol such as the one below. 

Locked out in Lincoln

On other cars the cap doesn’t give any clues so you’ll need to look at the handbook or look on YouTube (always a good place for car key help). When you find out where the lock is, be careful taking the cap off. It’s possible to break it, or if it drops to the floor it may damage the paintwork. 

Locked out in Lincoln

Good luck finding it!

Problem Two - My Door Lock Doesn't Work

This section will cover what to do when you find yourself in the following situation. You go to use the car, put the key into the door lock but nothing happens. Your key is doing what it should so you’ve found yourself locked out in Lincoln. 

The reason for this depends on what car you have, therefore we’ll list a few examples and hopefully yours will be on our list.

Peugeot, Citroen, Renault and associated locks. 

There’s a strange fault that effects the following vehicles 

  • Peugeot 107 or Partner
  • Citroen C1 and Berlingo
  • Toyota Aygo
  • Renault Clio, Modus, Master, Kangoo, Trafic
  • Mercedes Citan

These locks and keys are terrible.

We see lots of these vehicles that suffer from a problem where the keys won’t slide in the lock, or if they do, they get stuck in the lock get stuck.

Even if you manage to get the key in, there’s a good chance eventually it won’t turn the lock to unlock the car. Do you have this problem? 

If you do, click here as we’ve written a separate article all about this problem and what to do about it. 

Ford Transit up to 2013.   

Do you have a Ford Transit with a blue remote  key? Does your key look like the one below?

We see two very common problem on Ford Transits. Firstly the key buttons are unreliable and on top of that, the door locks suffer from wear. There’s too much information for this article so click here to find out more. 

Citroen and Peugeot older vehicles. 

Lastly a word about the older style Peugeot and Citroen locks. They use a funny four sided key and are used on the following vehicles

  • Peugeot Partner up to 2008 and Expert up to 2007
  • Citroen Berlingo up to 2008 and Dispatch up to 2007
  • Fiat Scudo up to 2007

The locks are not very good and once the key gets worn the locks spin, but do not unlock the van. If you have that problem we can simply re-cut a fresh key and that will cure the problem. Call us on 01522 514141 to find out more. 

Locked out in Lincoln Extra Information

We hope some of this information has helped. To wrap up, here are a few bits of extra information that don’t really fit into the sections above. They are links that lead to other pages with further information on specific cars. In no particular order. 

Ford Transit or Custom 2014 onwards. 

For a start the locks keys on these vans are rubbish, Click Here to read more. When the buttons fail you’ll ned to use the door lock. However, the door locks are frequently damaged by tool thieves, trying to get into the back of the van. When the door locks are damaged, they no longer work correctly and you’ll be left locked out in Lincoln. 

If you put your key into the door lock and it won’t turn then you either need a new lock or a key. Click here to find out more

So that’s it!

We hope the information is helpful and that you’ll soon get your locked out in Lincoln problem sorted out. Please call us if you need help on 01522 514141

Thanks for reading 

Steve & Simon

The Car Key Men

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