In my youth, I owned a 1970 VW bus with all the accessories. One cold, late night, my best friend and I found ourselves with the keys locked inside the van in the middle of a college parking lot. Security said they couldn’t help. Then my friend called his brother, who owned a locksmith shop, to...
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Some vehicles with a vertical linkage system, like the Accord, have lock buttons that difficult to grab, while others like the Ridgeline and Element have rectangular recessed buttons with a thumb-notch. On the buttons with a thumb-notch, I prefer an under-window tool, but on the round buttons, I use an under window tool with a “lasso” to grasp the button. This tool is awkward to use, but it will usually unlock the car with a minimal risk of damage.
Using a long-reach tool on a door with plastic trim is a bad idea. If you have to use a long-reach tool on a vehicle with plastic trim, use it with extreme caution. If you are in doubt if the trim is plastic or metal, try a magnet on it to make certain.
A new wrinkle has appeared on some of the Honda and Acura vehicles beginning in 2006 with the new Civic. These vehicles have a horizontal linkage system that uses bicycle-style cables, with a lock control rocker located inside the trim that surrounds the inside door handle. On these vehicles, the rocker moves in the opposite direction of most vehicles to unlock the door. It must be pushed forward with an under-window tool rather than pulled back.
CADILLAC XLR & CTS COUPE AND 2005 AND UP CORVETTE
These vehicles use a “keyless” lock system where the door latch is mounted in the body of the car rather than in the door. There is absolutely nothing in the door to attack with a tool. The window design makes using a long-reach tool almost impossible without breaking the glass. But all of these vehicles have an override lock mounted at the rear of the vehicle that you can generate a key for or pick. On the Corvette and the CTS, the lock is located directly above the license plate in the deck lid, with the lock pointing down. On the XLR, the lock is located behind a plastic plug in the rear bumper.
Picking these locks is not easy, but it can be done. The lock is also equipped with a clutch that is operated by the tip of the key though, so once you have it picked, you will have to push in on the clutch with your pick or another tool while you turn the lock. Once the rear hatch is unlocked, a couple of cables are hidden behind an upholstered panel. They will allow you to open the door and the fuel filler door.
With the GM-9 Determinator™ set, you can generate a key to operate the lock in a matter of minutes. Be aware that even though a B-106 “Z-keyway” blank can be used on these locks, the correct key blank is a narrow version of the B-106. At this time the only source other than the dealer for these blanks is HATA and their part number for the blank is HAT-3937.
BMW, MERCEDES, VW, AUDI & PORSCHE
I no longer consider these vehicles either hard to unlock or particularly challenging since the introduction of the new generation of high security lock picks. But I know that a lot of people reading this article probably feel differently. Between the High-Security Flip Pick, the VWEZ pick, and the BMWEZ pick, none of these vehicles stand a chance of defeating me. As long as the locks are functional and I’m patient, I have utter confidence in my ability to unlock the vehicles with the picks I have.
Why has the process of unlocking cars today changed so much in the last decade? The two biggest factors are crash safety and cost reduction.