Auto Lockout Tool Overview

No longer will one tool fit almost all. Rigid lock pawls, protected linkage rods, armored cables and side-impact airbags mounted into the door cavity have complicated the tools and techniques required for the “simple car opening.”


People have been locking themselves out of homes, offices, vehicles, etc. for many years. The auto lockouts have probably been the most profitable for locksmiths, based on sheer numbers. In fact, some locksmiths only do car openings. To open locked cars, homes and businesses, manufacturers have been...


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People have been locking themselves out of homes, offices, vehicles, etc. for many years. The auto lockouts have probably been the most profitable for locksmiths, based on sheer numbers. In fact, some locksmiths only do car openings. To open locked cars, homes and businesses, manufacturers have been producing specialty bypass tools forever.

Car-opening tools were probably invented the day before the first fully enclosed vehicle came off the assembly line. Before the ?Slim Jim,? there were vent window tools, long reach tools and others. For whatever reason, the Slim Jim became the best known lockout tool. Truth be known, the Slim Jim has a disputed origin with more than one company claiming it invented the venerable lockout tool.

From the early days, car-opening tools were sold individually as one manufacturer would produce a new tool as the need was created. Then from the 1960s through the 1980s, the Slim Jim, a simple piece of notched spring steel, became the main weapon in the locksmith?s arsenal of bypass tools. Along with the vent window tool, almost any car could be quickly and carefully opened without damage. In the hands of a novice, either the Slim Jim or the Vent tool could tear up new or old rubber weather stripping. As an added advantage, the Slim Jim could disconnect a linkage rod. Still, it was something you wouldn?t be caught without. Over the 20 or so years, many different styles of Slim Jim type tools were developed.

Today, you?ll still find a Slim Jim in most locksmith service trucks. It?s still useful, but has been joined by a myriad of other auto lockout tools and equipment.

No longer will one tool fit almost all. The advent of rigid lock pawls, protected linkage rods, armored cables and side-impact airbags mounted into the door cavity have greatly changed the tools and techniques required for the ?simple car opening.?

In about 1997 we saw the introduction of remote-assist lockouts with the release of General Motors OnStar system. This has resulted in some lockouts being handled by a distant operator sending a signal via satellite to open a locked vehicle for an authorized subscriber to the system. Still, there are millions of cars on the road not so equipped.

The investment into proper lockout tools and support equipment is essential for the locksmith of the 21st century to avoid doing damage to the customer?s vehicle. Specialty tools and equipment such as high-intensity inspection lights and inflatable wedges make the job easier. Detailed technical reference material is available in book form, on videotapes and in CD format.

Here is an overview of seven popular auto lockout tool companies and how their products can help you open locked vehicles in a professional manner that can make you money. They are listed in alphabetical order.

High Tech Tools

High Tech Tools offers a complete line of lockout tools for cars and trucks. ?Trucks? means more than just pickups and SUVs. High Tech offers tools and information for medium and heavy duty trucks, including semi tractors.

They have been in business over 20 years, producing vehicle opening manuals that cover almost every car from 1979 to the present, filling over 1600 pages with instruction, photos and diagrams. The lockout information is also offered in a DVD format.

All High Tech lockout tool kits contain the same 32 basic tools, but vary in price with additional accessories. Tools in some kits offer special plating options. Specialty tools include the Glass Man system for vehicles with frameless windows, the Lightning Rod and the One Hand Jack Set for emergency openings. The Air Jack is an inflatable wedge and some kits include a car-opening video.

A great selection of inspection lights, wedges, carrying cases and information options exist with this company. In addition to offering yearly book updates, High Tech also offers a money back guarantee and a lifetime tool replacement guarantee.

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