The Slim Jim tool – What it is
The slim jim tool is also technically known as a lockout tool. This tool is a thin strip of metal of roughly 60 cm (24 in) long and about 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.57 in) wide. It was initially sold under that name by HPC Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of special locksmithing tools.
The Slim Jim tool can be used to unlock automobile doors without use of a key or lock pick. With careful handling and manipulation a car door can be opened. Unskilled use of the tool will most definitely detach the lock rods, making the lock inoperable even when the key is later used. This is serves as a clue that someone has attempted to break into a car.
Makers of newer cars have included in its defenses by having a barrier lock on the bottom of the window in place. This is to guard against damages that might occur against internal linkages through this small act of attempting to manipulate a breakage into the automobile.
The Slim Jim Kit is an invaluable asset which is just perfect to have in handy by any lockout technician and the Slim Jim lover. This kit comes in 5 different styles, thereby offering a chance for choosing among varieties. Whether it is the long or short, the wide or narrow, or even a clamp type, it is all available in this kit. Slim Jims are made from the high quality, round edged stainless steel which holds the bend necessary to reach and manipulate lock linkages and at the same time, not liable to rust.
Learning to use the Slim Jim Tool kit
You might not know the value of using this tool until you get yourself locked out of your car. Slim jims are just great helpers for getting out of such jams, as they can be used to open car doors with no use of keys at all. Using a slim jim correctly, however, requires putting in necessary hours to study and of course, practice the whole procedure for opening a car door with one of these devices.
The process of learning its correct use can be a tricky one. This tool which looks like strips of metal, with one end of it being molded into an odd-looking shape, is certainly not apparent at first glance how these devices open doors. And to use, you have to figure out not only how these devices work, but how car door locks work.
The first step in learning how to use a slim jim is having an understanding of how car door locks work. Almost every car door locks function by the means of a control arm. It is the control arm which activates when the car key is turned in the lock. This mechanism can also be bypassed in order to open the door without a key. The slim jim has a notched end which can be used to gain access to this control arm via the car window.
Sometimes, you don’t know how it happened, but just find yourself stuck, staring blatantly at your locked car door, and your keys had seemingly disappeared into thin air. This can be a serious mistake, as you might need to call on a professional locksmith. But be rest assured that you might just be able to use a slim jim in this absurd situations, this however, depends on your car’s make, model and year. So, there is a need for determining whether your car has the right locks for a slim jim. Then, you need to unlock the door using the slim jim.
Determining if the Slim Jim tool works for the car
1. First, make sure your car doesn’t have electric locks. If you try using a slim jim on electric or power locks all you get is a scratch on your window and the possibility of damages to electronics in your car door should also not be ruled out. In conclusion, do not use a slim jim on this type of cars.
2. Ensure your car has upright locks. Upright locks look like small cylinders and they are found near the bottom of the car window, where it meets the door. Let it be in your mind that these locks are mostly found on cars manufactured in 1992 or before, so if your car was made afterwards, even if it have these locks, the car door may have electronics, wires or even airbags thereby making the use of a slim jim more difficult. If you are not sure of what locks are on your car, please consult your user manual or reach out online.
3. If you still have doubts about if your car can work with this handy device, call your locksmith. Do not take chances with working on it yourself as it may damage your car lock. Although, locksmith charges might seem expensive, the repairs on your car could be much more.
Using a Slim Jim tool
1. Gain entrance through the car’s passenger side door. As much as it may seem easy to enter through the driver’s side, do not try it. Make your opening thorough the passenger side door. This is so that if a mechanism will be damaged, it will be that of a door that is not always in use.
2. Put in your wedge. The weatherstrip is the rubber strip running between the car door and window, put a wedge in between it. A space is thereby created for ease insertion of your slim jim. A rubber wedge is much advisable, as the wooden ones may leave splinters on your car door.
3. Ready your slim jim. The notched end should go in first, towards the car lock. Both the slim jim and lock should be aligned. Locate the keyhole which is at the rear of the door and push down towards it. This process should be a slow and careful one so as not to catch on anything on the way down.
4. Look out lock for subtle movement. If the lock moves slightly, know that slim jim has caught on the locking mechanism. The slim jim should be kept completely vertical, to avoid catching on any other mechanisms.
5. Do not make multiple attempts to open the door. After one or two trials and it seems the lock is not yielding, it is best to not proceed with the process as it may result in damages of some mechanisms. It takes more of very technical skill to bypass car locks; don’t feel bad if you’re not able to get it open. Get a professional locksmith for the service.
How to use your coat hanger as a slim jim
1. Straighten out the hanger. Untwist the hooked part and straighten the wire, leaving just the curved end in the original shape. You might want to make use a pair of pliers and gloves for this. The gloves for protecting the hands and the pliers for make untwisting easier. When you are done, you should get the coat hanger to be shaped like a straight line with a curved hook on the end.
2. Now, bend your hook into a “V” shape. This shape is needed so that it can have a firm grip on the door lock post.
3. Pry the window out gently if it is closed. There is no need for this if the window is left open. However, if the window is shut there will be a need for you to slide a narrow wedge into the gap between the window and door frame and pry the window out away from the vehicle. This requires extreme care, as the window may break if too much pressure or force is applied.
4. Grip the end of the coat hanger which is opposite from the “V” shape you made with pliers. Slid the hanger into the gap you made in-between the window and door frame. If the lock post is too close to the rear side of the car door, you may need to approach it from the front instead.
5. Turn the hanger around very gently until you catch the post. Apply pressure by pulling the hanger back toward the rear of the car. If the post pops up, the door will be unlocked and you can open it. Multiple trials may be necessary if the hanger slips off the post.
6. With the aid of the bent coat hanger, try to hit on the unlock button through the window crack. This may take a few tries, depending on the size of the window crack and the layout of your car. But if you have trouble reaching the unlock button with the tip of your hanger, try wrapping a small rubber band around its tip, this will also help.
7. It is advisable to have a friend guide you all through this process. He will have to stand on the passenger side of the car and guide you by looking through the window.
8. Once you have been able to get the hanger on the slide, push or pull it as necessary to unlock the door. This also may take a number of tries. You may need to bend the hook a few times in order to get it right. Just make sure the rest of the hanger is a fairly straight line.
9. The Next thing now is to slip the hanger between the window and the weather stripping. Along the lower edge of your car window is a length of black rubber weather stripping. Gently with your finger, Peel this strip back from the window a bit using your finger, after this gently insert the curved end of the coat hanger into the gap between the window and the rubber. In case it is damaged in the process, you have to replace the weather stripping.
10. Facing the interior of the vehicle, insert the hanger with the hook. That in place rotates it until you are sure that the hook is facing the inside of the car so it can catch the lock bar inside the door. This may be difficult to achieve, but it is always best to mark one side of the hanger with a marker. This makes it easier to keep your bearings.
11. The hanger is sure to come into contact with the pin which controls the lock post and door lock as you move the hanger back and forth. To disengage the door lock, try to pull up on the pin or bar. Usually, this will be located about 2 inches (5 cm) below the window base, near the interior door handle.
12. Keep trying and reform the hook as needed. Within a matter of time and with diligence you should be able to use your slim jim tool to unlock that door lock.
Now it is good to note that this method is extremely difficult, as you might not be able to see what is going on inside the door and vehicles each have slightly different designs. So, if you have no guide at that moment you have to continue trying until you are able to catch the bar in just the right manner and pull it with enough force to unlock the door.
Also be very careful not to damage the weather strip on the door. You will sure have to replace it if damaged or torn or the door may leak. There might be a need to re-bend the hook, that is, if you pull too hard on the wrong part inside the door.
Some vehicles will not permit the hanger to pass through because of the angle. You will then have to find a way to pry the window away from the door. Always remember that different vehicles have different interior door designs, so do not think that this method will work on all vehicles.
Also the use of excessive force when pulling up on the pin or bar should be avoided. Since you cannot see inside the door, there is the probability of you snagging on the wrong thing.