Four Ways Picking Your Own Lock May Damage Your Vehicle

If you've locked your keys out of your car, you may be wondering if you can save some money by breaking into your car or picking the lock yourself. While that will save a little money upfront, it may damage your car, costing you money in the long run. Here's a look at some of the damage that may occur if you try to pick your own lock and why you should call a locksmith instead:

1. Damaged weather stripping

The traditional way to try to break into a car is by slipping a thin object through the window and using the object to trigger the lock on the car. This tends to be popular with vehicles that have old push locks rather than vehicles with more modern automatic locks, and people use anything from coat hangers, to special tools called "slim jims" for the job.

Unfortunately, however, anything that you slide through your window has the potential to damage the weather stripping. The only way you should try this approach is if the doors are locked but the window is cracked open. Only then is the weather stripping safe.

2. Scratching car

While slipping a piece of metal into the car window, you also risk scratching the paint around the window frame. Additionally, if you try to pick the lock by slipping something into it, the item you are using to pick the lock may scratch the paint around the lock or the lock itself. Automobile locksmiths, in contrast, know how to pick locks so that the lock and the surrounding area do not get damaged.

3. Wearing down pins

The process of picking a lock, whether you are dealing with a car lock or any other type of mechanical lock, typically involves inserting an object into the lock in such a manner that the object depresses the pins in the lock. This can take some trial and error as the pins are in a different spot with each lock to make it unique. Unfortunately, if you are not experienced, you may end up wearing down the pins with your pick. This can make the lock feel looser, or the damage could even prevent the lock from working in the future.

4. Broken implements

Finally, jamming an object into a lock has another risk. The object may break in the lock. Once it is lodged there, you will have to pay a locksmith to remove it and to pick the lock.