good news is that the car is home and safely in the garage. The bad news is that both keys are locked inside. Twice in 2 days the car has locked itself. The first time, a window was open - no problem. I told myself that I'd better take preventive action. Too late! This evening I had just closed the hatch. The windows were up following an extremely pleasant, springtime, 800 mile round trip kids visit. Once again, the car lock itself. What's up with that?

I remember trying to 'break into' my '82 following a dumber episode.
After all other efforts failed, including an unsuccessful, frustrated locksmith's techniques, I attempted to pry out on of the side rear windows. It came out... shattered. Seems like there must be an easier way. The ice cream is melting. HELP! PLEASE! HELP!

'88 S4 Auto Blk/Gray
'82S 5s Blk/Blk

The electric locks work by grounding one side of the controller or the other. I have seen a number of the door wiring harnesses getting screwed up as a result of poor stereo installations. It could be you have either a faulty wiring harness or the central controller is flaky. I believe you can patch the controller out of the system and still have the locks work.

You might be able to unlock the door with a slim jim. It worked on my 78.
There is a protection panel inside of the door, but you can probably get around this.

There are some other things you can try - each with an increasing cost and effort.

1. Try to pop the hood from under the bumper. On the S4 it might be a bit more difficult to get to the latch than the older models. Disconnect the power from the jumper point and reconnect it. The pulsing of the power to the car may cause the locks to cycle. Unlikely but simpler than the other approaches.

2. The latch in the back hatch is plastic. There is a little room to stick a pry bar between the two parts of the latch. Use a couple of rags for padding so you do not damage the hatch or the paint. The hatch might release without breaking the plastic part of the latch. If the plastic part does break then it is probably worn and due to be replaced. The plastic part of the upper latch is sold separately along with the holding pin.
Replacing the plastic portion of the latch will probably restore the remote function of the hatch since wear is generally the problem.

3. Probably the cheapest and easiest part to replace on the car is the rear quarter window. The gasket which will cost you more than a used quarter window can be re-used. You should be able to pick up a rear quarter window used for about $25. Since the glass is tempered it will break without leaving larger splinters. The best way to break the window is to take a sharp center punch or a chisel and strike the window near the center with a hammer. The window can be put back in with the double sting trick. Be sure to use some sealer between both the gasket and window and the gasket and body.

To remedy this problem in the future install a remote entry system. They are cheap and easy to install. J.C. Whitney sells on for a reasonable price as do the other supply houses. My remote unit rolls up and down the windows, opens the trunk and has an alarm. It is also is programmed to lock the doors when the car first starts to move and unlock them when the ignition is turned off.

Good luck and I hope you do not have to get too drastic.

Dan the Pod Guy
Portia's Parts


The Hatch has a lower receiver that allows a small hook to enter from one side, as the picture below shows. The hook must be long enough to push the white lock-device form the upper lock part back in.

This picture shows the white lock device from the upper part of the lock.

If you are able to push the spring loaded white "locker" back in a little the hatch will release. It gets easier when the liner of the latch receiver is worn and locking is already poor. The harder you pull on the hook to release the lock, the more the lock will give way and pop open. Making the hook point a little downward helps, but there is very little room. 

It helps to have helpers wiggle the outer left and right side of the hatch up and down so that the "locker" creeps up a little.