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Ways to Remove a Padlock You’ve Forgotten the Code For

December 14, 2018


A combination padlock is an excellent way to protect your personal items. Whether you are using a locker at school or work, or locking up treasured possessions at home, a combination padlock means you never have to worry about losing your key. But what happens if you forget the combination? Here are five ways to remove a padlock for which you have forgotten the code.

Ways to Remove a Padlock

Crack the Code

It is surprisingly simple to crack the code on a basic padlock. First, hold the lock in such a way that the latch is at the top, the dial is facing you, and the locking mechanism is on the left. Experiment with the amount of pressure you need to apply to the latch. The dial should turn easily but not spin freely. This allows you to feel the mechanism engage.

Turn the dial to the left. If you don’t feel it catch at all, apply a bit more pressure to the latch. If you feel it catching at all or most numbers, ease up on the pressure just a bit. Eventually, you will notice that it clicks at a single number. That number is the first in your combination.

Now rotate the dial the other way. Go all the way around once, and then feel for a click at a specific number. Where it clicks is the second number in your combination.

At this point, you might remember the rest of the combination. If you don’t, though, simply use trial and error to find the third number. Correctly enter the first two numbers, then try each remaining number in turn.

Do a Master Reset

If you are unable to get the first two numbers in your combination to click, or if the code has four or more numbers, consider a master reset instead. Write down the serial number of the lock and contact its manufacturer. Note that you might be required to provide a copy of your ID and proof of purchase before the company will provide a master reset.

Use a Shim

You can purchase a padlock shim or find instructions for making one online. The idea is that the shim wraps around the locking side of the latch and slips down into the locking mechanism, allowing you to then pull up on the latch to release it. Note that newer combination locks often have protective features that prevent shims from being used. Never force the shim, or you could damage the lock.

Cut the Lock

If nothing else works, you can always cut the lock. Combination padlocks are typically not all that strong, and will yield to bolt cutters or even a hacksaw. The best place to cut is the right side of the latch, opposite the locking mechanism. Be very careful to avoid cutting yourself or damaging the item to which the lock is attached.

Call a Locksmith

If it is important to you to save both the lock and the container, consider calling for professional help. A skilled locksmith can generally open a padlock in just a few minutes without causing damage. It is more expensive than removing the lock yourself, but the peace of mind may be worth the fee.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are ready to form a relationship with a reliable, trustworthy locksmith, contact Texas Premier Locksmith today at (866) 948-8188.