By Steve Young / November 2005

Photo One: 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt

Photo Two: 2006 Chevrolet HHR

American Towman Lockout Column

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt and HHR
By Steve Young

The Chevrolet Cobalt (photo one) is a mid-sized vehicle introduced as a replacement for the Cavalier. It is available in three configurations, as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and as a five-door station wagon. The station wagon version of the Cobalt goes by a different name, however. It's called the HHR (photo two). Even though the HHR looks very different from the Cobalt, the differences are only skin deep. Those flared fenders and high roofline of the HHR ride on a standard Cobalt frame. The initials HHR stand for Heritage High Roof and the styling is based on the original version of the Chevrolet Suburban. Chevrolet hopes that the HHR will compete well with the PT Cruiser. All of the versions of the Cobalt, including the HHR can be easily unlocked with the TT-1017 tool.


Photo Three: Use the latch shim to protect the weatherstripping as you insert the wedges.

Photo Four: Use the end of the tool that will allow you to grip the vertical linkage rod from the outboard side.

To unlock the Cobalt or the HHR, begin by using two wedges spaced about eight inches apart to open a gap between the glass and the weatherstripping at the base of the window (photo three). Using two wedges spreads the pressure over a larger area and reduces the stress on the window. The Cobalt and HHR are equipped with multi-layer weatherstripping and you will have to use care while inserting your wedges. To protect the weatherstripping, I use a plastic shim, known as a "latch shim" as shown in photo three, inserted between the glass and the weatherstripping. Once the latch shim is in place, I slide the wedge between the shim and the glass, pulling the shim out after the tip of the wedge is below the lower lip of the weatherstripping. If you don't protect the weatherstripping, it will roll under your wedge and can be damaged, or restrict the movement of your tool inside the door.

The two hooks on the TT-1017 tool face in opposite directions so that you can grasp the linkage rod from either side once the tool is inside the door. Hooking onto the rod from the outboard side works best on the Cobalt and HHR (photo four). Once you have an opening into the door, carefully insert the hooked end of the tool just forward of the inside lock button (photo five). When the hooked end of the tool is as deep inside the door as possible, carefully rotate the tool so that the shaft can be inserted into the door (photo six). Make sure that the end of the tool that is inside the door doesn't bind against or hook onto the base of the window glass. If that happens, you could break the window glass. Once the tool has been rotated, the hooked end of the tool will be horizontal inside of the door.

When the tip of the tool is below the bottom of the glass, probe for the linkage rod while watching the inside lock button for movement. The linkage rod can be located easily by feel, but you can also insert an inspection light and locate the linkage rod visually. Once you have hooked onto the linkage rod with the tool, pull forward and upward on the tool in order to lift the lock linkage and unlock the door as shown in photo seven.

After the vehicle has been unlocked, carefully remove the tool from the door, being very careful that you do not hook onto the base of the window glass or bind against the glass with the hooked end of the tool. Don't get in a hurry at this point; that's a very good way to break the window.

The Cobalt and the HHR are equipped with vertical lock buttons that extend relatively high above the top of the door panel (photo eight). This makes it possible to unlock these vehicles with a plastic strip tool, but I found the TT-1017 tool to be very easy to use on these vehicles.

Photo Six: Rotate the shaft of the tool so that you can slide the hooked end deeper into the door.

Photo Five: Carefully insert the hooked end of the tool as deeply into the door as possible before rotating the shaft of the tool.

Photo Seven: Pull forward and upward at the same time on the tool in order to unlock the door.

Photo Eight: The tall vertical buttons also allow for the use of a plastic strip tool, but the TT-1017 is much easier.


Steve Young is the founder of Tech-Train Productions, which merged with Lockmasters, Inc. in 2003. His company produces vehicle entry tools, training videos, and manuals for the automotive security industry. He teaches hands-on seminars across the country and can be reached at: