How to Open a Roof Rack without a Key? A Handy Guide (2023)

Owning a roof rack is such an advantage for a car owner. However, it brings such a huge problem if you somehow lose the rack key. Fortunately, losing the key doesn’t mean everything is over. You still have a chance to open the rack without the key.

In this article, I’ll explain how to open a roof rack without a key. You can conveniently do it by applying some valuable methods. Anyway, let’s read out to know thoroughly to access the rack when the key is nowhere to be found. Here we go –

How to Remove Roof Rack without a Key? Check Different Methods

Not every task is so easy. Sometimes, things get out of our hands. Then, what to do? You must think outside the box since there’s no other way around. Let’s check some practical methods to remove the roof rack without a key –

How to Remove Roof Rack without a Key

Method 1 – Using a Coat Hanger or Wire

Coat Hanger or Wire

One of the most common techniques for opening a locked roof rack involves using a wire or a coat hanger. Here’s how you can do it:

Straighten the coat hanger or wire to create a long, slender tool.

Bend the wire into a hook shape at one end.

Insert the hooked end of the wire into the gap between the roof rack and the roof of your vehicle.

Move the wire around while trying to locate the latch mechanism.

Once you’ve located the latch, carefully manipulate it to release the lock and open the roof rack. It may require some patience and trial and error, but you should be able to unlock the roof rack successfully with persistence.

Method 2 – Use a Lock Pick Tool 9 1 1

Using a lock-picking tool isn’t a challenging task. However, it’s still a tricky job! It’s not legal to use in every place. However, you won’t be charged if you don’t use it on other people’s assets.

Additionally, you can effortlessly find this equipment at your nearby hardware store or online. There are various types of lock-picking tools available in the store. You can purchase the one you like.

Anyway, let’s check out the process of using a lock-picking tool –

  • Take the equipment in one hand and the screwdriver in another
  • Press the device in the keyhole and keep pushing the pins above and down without taking a break
  • During wriggling up and down, enter the screwdriver and keep massive anti-clockwise pressure inside
  • This enormous pressure will assist you in spinning around the keyhole horizontally
  • When the tool breaks the key, it will finally open.

Method 3 – Use a Philips Head Screwdriver

 Head Screwdriver

Please check out these steps to use a Philips Head Screwdriver to unlock the roof rack –

  • Firstly, find the screwdriver fastening your rack to the car mounts.
  • Ensure to remove all these screws.
  • Now, if all the screwdrivers are removed, it’ll assist you in moving smoothly and mount pretty conveniently.
  • When all the screws are out, check thoroughly any last clips holding onto your roof rack.

Method 4 – Use a Sledgehammer

A sledgehammer is an unconventional method to open a roof rack without a key. Since it’s a heavy tool, it can effortlessly break or destroy targets. Additionally, it is like a “Thor’s Hammer”! Yes, like Mjolnir, it can ruin object easily!

  • Firstly, you need to wear protective tools such as, goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. This is how you can safeguard yourself from any dirt and grimes flying into your face and body.
  • Then, secure the rack by using clamps around loose parts.
  • Use the sledgehammer to break the rack very carefully.
  • Check all sides where the rack was previously fastened to ensure you’ve done the task successfully.

Method 5 – Use a Chisel

You can make the task convenient if you use a chisel. Nevertheless, you can do the job perfectly if you just follow some steps. Let’s check –

  • The first thing is to use a hammer to withdraw the bolts from the rack. Put them next to the bolt heads for convenient access during reinstallation.
  • Now, use a flathead screwdriver to pluck off any fastened parts.
  • Then, place the chisel into any gaps between the metal elements of your rack. After that, tap mildly with your hammer until all pieces come out.

Method 6 – Use a Magnet

Some types of roof racks have magnetic locking systems. You can also try if your rack has a similar approach. Put the magnet on the top of the lock and apply a bit of pressure. Consequently, the magnet should pull the latch. Hence, activate the locking mechanism, which will release the roof rack.

Method 7 – Use Lubrication

Roof racks can become difficult to open due to rust or debris accumulation. You can use a lubricant to help loosen the lock mechanism in these cases. Spray the lubricant on the lock. Then, wait a few minutes before opening the roof rack. This method will definitely make you exhausted. However, it’ll do the job considerably.

Method 8 – Take Assistance

If you’re not confident enough, it’s best to seek professional help. A professional locksmith can help you open the roof rack by either creating a new key or extracting the broken key from the lock.

Method 9 – Contact the Manufacturer

If you cannot open a roof rack without a key, you can contact the manufacturing company. Just contact the respective company’s customer care and tell them about your problem. They’ll take the initiatives to solve the problem.

Safety Tips to Remove the Roof Rack without the Key

Removing the roof rack without the key isn’t a challenging task. Notwithstanding, if you can do it properly, things can go wrong. You can follow these safety tips to do the job correctly –

  • Before removing the rack, read the instructions and safety tips properly
  • Clean the car properly before removing the rack
  • Remove the rack only in dry weather
  • Remove the rack only after you have removed any cargo from the roof.



Are roof rack keys universal?

Roof rack keys are usual. There are different types of racks available on the market. Not all of them have the same traits. Different brand has different types of locking mechanism. So, it’s not possible to make the roof rack keys universal.

Will attempt to open the roof rack without a key damaging my vehicle?

Well, generally, it won’t. But it can. To prevent it, you can take help from a professional. Besides you can also make contact with the manufacturing company.


Losing the key to your roof rack is undoubtedly a massive problem. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. You can mend it by applying efficient methods, such as using a coat hanger or wire, seeking professional assistance, or contacting the manufacturer.

It’s possible to open a roof rack without a key.

Remember to prioritize caution and patience during the process to avoid causing any damage. So, you should take enough precautions while doing the task. You can select the method I’ve told above and choose the best one.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, goodbye!

A seasoned writer with a passion for crafting engaging content. Whether it’s exploring the great outdoors, diving into automotive trends, or uncovering travel secrets, I’m here to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with you.