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The most important thing to remember about any under-window tool is to remove your wedges before you pull the tool up on the inside of the vehicle. This simple step can save you a lot of grief. It greatly reduces the stress on the glass, and makes it a lot easier to move the tool inside the vehicle.
Another problem with under-window tools is multi-layer weatherstripping. If you’re not careful, the lower layers of the weatherstripping can roll under your wedges or your tool. This will make the fit of the window tighter and make it harder to insert and use your tool. In some cases, it can even tear the weatherstripping. The solution is to use a shim to hold the weatherstripping out of the way as you insert the wedges and your tool. You can make your own shim out of a plastic jug, use an old hotel key card, or something similar, but I like the WE12W or the WE12B Latch Shims (photo 3). These shims are durable, convenient, and easy to find in your tool kit. The WE12W is slightly thinner than the WE12B, but both tools do the job nicely.
The Tech-Train 1038 tool (photo 4) is a new under-window tool introduced recently. It was specifically designed around the Nissan Cube, but it can be used on many other vehicles including the Nissan Titan, Armada, Pathfinder and NV Vans, as well as the Infiniti QX56. Essentially, this is an extra long under-window tool with a straight end that is designed for pushing inside lock control buttons that are mounted on the armrest.
Nissan and Infiniti are among the few vehicles that still have functional power door lock controls after the door has been locked with the remote. On most late-model vehicles, the inside power door lock controls are disabled once the lock system has been activated with the remote. The TT1038 tool will allow you to easily operate the power door lock button and unlock the vehicle.
Because of higher fuel efficiency standards, most manufacturers are now on a mission to reduce weight in every place they can. This quest for lighter weight cars has even led GM to use smaller diameter linkage rods on as many new vehicles as possible. The Tech-Train 1039 tool (photo 5) is a new general purpose tool that is designed to grip these smaller rods. The TT1039 can be used to unlock the Chevrolet Volt and Cruze, as well as the new Buick Varano. In addition, it can be used on a wide variety of other vehicles.
Getting a firm grip on the rod inside the door has always been a problem. I’ve tried putting a variety of different things on the tip of the tool to improve my grip like duct tape, heat-shrink tubing, and plastic dips, but none of them worked very well or lasted very long. Now, you can buy a 10-pack of slip-on plastic tips for $5 that do the job very well. They’re called Sure-Grip Lockout Tool Tips (photo 6) and they are available from Lockmasters, Inc. At 50 cents each, I really don’t care if it only lasts for a couple of dozen car openings; the savings in time spent on the job more than pays for the tips.
Lock Picking Tools
This is the area of vehicle entry that has seen the most changes in recent years. As computerized precision machining processes improve, the costs have dropped significantly. It is now possible to create complex precision high-security lock picks at an affordable price. Most of these lock picks are for high security locks, but recently picks have been introduced for a variety of traditional automotive locks such as the Ford 8-cut system and the Chrysler 8-cut system. And as if that wasn’t enough, these new picks can also be used to decode the locks after they have been picked.
One of the earliest high security lock pick sets was the High-Security Flip-Pick from Lockmasters, inc. (photo 7) This tool uses a simple procedure to attack a variety of locks such as the BMW 2 & 4 track systems, Mercedes 2-track, VW / Audi / Porsche, (made before 2004) as well as some Saabs and some Volvos. The tool takes advantage of a weakness in these lock systems that allows you to pick the lock into the locked position. Once the lock has been turned to the lock position, the plug spinner is then used to “flip” the lock back to the unlocked position.
Even with all the tools, some jobs are harder than others.