There is an easy
way to determine if someone else has attempted to open the
vehicle before you without having to ask the customer. Simply
inspect the glass on the door you are about to open before you
start that opening. Never skip this step and make it become your
personal habit. There are always streaks of dirt from the tools
sliding in and out of the door cavity. All you have to do is look
before you dive in to avoid potential trouble.
Seldom does anyone give up on car openings. If the person before you did give up, they often left the job due to hearing or feeling themselves knock a linkage off, or even
worse, knocking the linkages off all doors. The customer may later look to you for the repair costs if you neglect to take the proper steps to avoid such a situation.
If there are smudges and streaks found at the door assigned by your manual, then look to open the opposite side door if that door hadnt also been attempted. Most often that opposite door will be the drivers door.
Opening the opposite door is often more difficult with added risks. One main concern is being forced to insert tools within a door cavity which has yet to be tested. The opposite door is seldom researched,
therefore you are experimenting when forced to the other side of the car. The instructions will become some what reversed, but still
manageable to follow.
The drivers door latch is often different and more costly to repair if things go wrong. Also, if you are forced to the drivers door and you end up disabling that door, the driver would then have to enter the car from other doors until repairs are made. This is the primary reason I first look to the
passenger side doors for opening solutions.
If you find no available
doors with which your manual says to open, a damage release
form must be signed before continuing the job. There is a
box on the release form covering previous opening attempts. Be
sure to give one of the carbonless copies to the customer as there
is nothing better than the signed paper to remind them you are
not responsible for what ever the other guy did before he fled.
If you arrive to find the manual lock linkages are knocked off at all doors, there is a sure way to open most any vehicle, if you have the correct tools and knowledge.
1) Extra long curved forceps. 2) A reliable door cavity light with a long wand that feeds down into the door cavity. 3) A Z-Tool with the mini box hooks in good condition. Good condition meaning sharp edges inside the hooks. By-the way, file the sharp edges inside the hooks once in a while. The sharper they are the better they grip.
How this last ditch opening works: All cars with a linkage connected to the key cylinder can be opened. The trick is to disconnect that linkage by surgery or by force. You will know you have a hold of the key cylinder linkage by placing your finger over the face of the lock as you move the linkage with the Z-Tool. The vibration and movement of the plug is very confirming on most lock systems.
First grab onto the key cylinder linkage with the Z-Tool and do not let go. Using the
forceps and door cavity inspection light, disconnect the linkage clip which holds the linkage to the tail of the lock. After the clip is disconnected simply push down or pull up on the linkage with your Z-Tool to open.
If you have no forceps, the
Z-Tool can grab the linkage and with brute force break the connector
clip free (if made of plastic). Most are the plastic type. Some
are steel which are pushed free with light pressure in the right
spot. Keep your bind on the linkage as it breaks free so not to
drop it. Again, simply push it down or pull it up to open.
Both surgery and breaking
free methods will require the door panel to be removed as the
manual lock linkage was disabled in the first place. Some panels
are quite difficult to remove without causing further damage to
the panel itself. No reason to offer your hourly rate to repair
all doors unless you have a stock of all types of clips. Our opinion
is to let the customer take the car to their local dealership
who know their door panels and the tricks to remove them best.
Flat bar tools are almost always the cause of this situation. It used to happen all the time, but today very few people use flat bar tools.
Beware of window tinting film:
If your manual only gives you one choice to open a vehicle by using the Under-the-window tool and the vehicle has after market window tint, there is a chance it can become scarred or torn in the opening process. The models that have curved glass is most at risk, due to the tool sliding along the inside of the glass. There is a box on the Authorization/Damage release form to cover this situation. Explain the potential problem to the customer and have them sign the release form before you start the opening procedure.