4 ways to open a lock

Table of contents:

4 ways to open a lock
4 ways to open a lock

There are hundreds of different locks, some require keys and some require combinations and most require a different method to open. However, all locks work the same. A group of pins prevent the lock or bolt from moving, which is the reason why you have to use a key or combination to move these rods, so that the lock opens easily.


Method 1 of 4: Open a combination lock

Open a Lock Step 1

Step 1. Recognize combination locks

These require you to enter a series of numbers in the correct order to open. They usually have thumbwheels with numbers from 0 to 60 or 100 and you have to turn them to open the padlock.

Open a Lock Step 2

Step 2. Find the combination

Usually, it is written on a sticker or engraved on the back of the padlock. If you can't find it, you won't be able to open the lock unless you guess the numbers or break it.

For example, in this tutorial, we will use the combination 5 - 45 - 20

Open a Lock Step 3

Step 3. Turn the dial 3 times clockwise

This action will reset the dial, allowing you to enter the combination.

Open a Lock Step 4

Step 4. Rotate the thumb wheel clockwise to select the first digit

Line this up with the small arrow at the top of the lock. In this case, stop at number 5.

Open a Lock Step 5

Step 5. Turn it counterclockwise to the first number

Make a full turn with the dial to return to the first number. Be sure to do this counterclockwise.

  • You will go through the second number during the rotation, but this is intentional.
  • In this example, you will return to the number 5.
Open a Lock Step 6

Step 6. Continue turning counterclockwise to the second number

After doing the first full rotation, keep turning in the same direction until you reach the second number. At this point you should be able to get 45.

Open a Lock Step 7

Step 7. Turn the dial clockwise until you reach the last number

After selecting the second one, simply turn the dial to the last number, which is 20. This is how you complete the combination.

Open a Lock Step 8

Step 8. Pull the U-shaped part of the lock to open it

Once you have successfully entered the combination, the padlock will open easily. As a reminder:

  • turn the dial three times clockwise until you reach the first number;
  • turn it counterclockwise, making a full turn before reaching the second number;
  • turn it clockwise until you reach the last number;
  • open the padlock.
Open a Lock Step 9

Step 9. Open the multi-dial padlocks by turning them individually

Some combination locks have multiple dials with numbers 0-9. To open one, simply turn each dial to get the correct combination. If for example the combination is 1492, place the first dial on 1, the second on 4, the third on 9 and the last on 2.

The first number is almost always on the dial closest to the padlock

Method 2 of 4: guess a combination

Open a Lock Step 10

Step 1. Reduce the number of times it takes to guess a combination

A classic MasterLock padlock has 64,000 possible combinations, but with a few simple tricks and an algorithm that you can find on the Internet, you can crack the code in less than eight attempts.

Open a Lock Step 11

Step 2. Set the dial to 0

Start with the triangle pointing down at 0. It doesn't matter which direction you turn the dial to reach that number.

Open a Lock Step 12

Step 3. Pull on the padlock as if you were trying to open it

Pull its U-shaped part as if you had put on the right combination and wanted to open it.

Open a Lock Step 13

Step 4. Turn the dial clockwise until it stops

When you turn it you will come to a point where it will get stuck. It only moves between two nearby points, either between two numbers (such as 10 and 11) or between two intermediate digits (such as 2, 5 and 3, 5). Consider the number between these as the first sticking point. For example, the number 3 will be the first locking point if the dial locks between 2, 5 and 3, 5.

  • If it is an intermediate number, such as 1, 5 (the sticking point is between 1 and 2), ignore it. Release the lock to rotate the wheel and repeat this step until you find the next locking point.
  • This number will be less than 11.
Open a Lock Step 14

Step 5. Continue to turn with the padlock pressed

Do this until you find the second blocking point. Repeat the previous step by holding the padlock as if you were opening it and turning the dial until it stops. Write the number between the locking points: the second locking point will be 5 if the wheel locks between 4, 5 and 5, 5.

  • As before, ignore the middle digits considered to be sticking points (2, 5 or 9, 5) and continue until you get a whole number.
  • This number will also be less than 11.
Open a Lock Step 15

Step 6. Release the pressure on the padlock

Apply half the required force on the top of the device. Make an effort to fully open the padlock, exerting light pressure on it, as if you were opening the U-shaped part at the top.

Open a Lock Step 16

Step 7. Turn the dial counterclockwise until you feel resistance

You can pass this number, but you will feel that the dial slows down as you pass this point. Think of this number as the point of resistance.

You can turn the dial (counterclockwise) several times and pass this point to be sure that you feel resistance in the same place each time

Open a Lock Step 17

Step 8. Enter the 1st and 2nd locking point and the resistance point

Do this on a calculator on the Internet. While you can do basic calculations by hand to find the exact location, hackers have released a free algorithm on the internet that determines the 8 possible combinations to open a padlock. This calculator will give you two potential sticking points that you can try.

Open a Lock Step 18

Step 9. Try a third digit provided by the online system

The algorithm will give you the first digit and offer you two potential digits or numbers at the bottom. Use the first one to try. If one of them is 15, set the dial on it.

Open a Lock Step 19

Step 10. Pull hard on the top of the padlock as if you were going to open it

With the dial set to the number potential, pull hard on the padlock. Keep in mind the resistance exerted by the padlock.

Open a Lock Step 20

Step 11. Try the other codes and pull the lock

Do the same with the second potential number. Compare that with the resistance of the first one, one of them should be much easier to select than the other.

Open a Lock Step 21

Step 12. Choose the third number that generated the least resistance

You can check multiple times, but a number will exert less resistance when you pull the padlock. Click on this number in the online algorithm.

You will see the second digit box filled with 8 possible numbers

Open a Lock Step 22

Step 13. Try the 8 possible combinations

Now that you have all eight possible combinations, the only thing you can do is try them all. The first and last number will all be the same, but try each of the possible intermediate digits to open the lock.

Method 3 of 4: Open a key lock

Open a Lock Step 23

Step 1. Insert the key and turn it

Most locks open clockwise, but if they don't, try doing it counterclockwise. As long as you have the correct key, you will hear a slight click and the door will open.

If the door won't open, you probably have the wrong key

Open a Lock Step 24

Step 2. Hook the lock if you don't have a key

The picking works on any classic lock. If you don't have a key to open the lock, pick it.

Open a Lock Step 25

Step 3. Choose a basic lockpick kit

You will need two tools: a torque wrench and a rod. When faced with a situation, ingenious locksmiths make use of hairpins, paper clips and butter knives. However, the easiest solution is to use a professional lockpicking kit, available inexpensively on the Internet.

  • Try using a flat screwdriver, butter knife, or small Allen wrench if you don't have a torque wrench. You can use any small object that can fit into the keyhole, but it should be strong enough that it won't break.
  • You can use a paper clip or a bobby pin if you have no other choice. Simply straighten them out and use pliers to bend their second half at a 90-degree angle.
Open a Lock Step 26

Step 4. Look through the lock

You should see several pins, which are small metal cylinders that keep the latch closed. The grooves in a wrench are made to push all those bars into the right place, allowing you to turn the wrench. However, when handling a lock, use a rod to manually move each pin.

Open a Lock Step 27

Step 5. Insert the torque wrench into the base of the lock

You need to adjust it slightly to the lower part of the lock so that it is only a few inches deep.

Open a Lock Step 28

Step 6. Turn it as if you were opening the lock

Pretend you are using a key, while exerting light pressure to turn the lock. You won't get much, but keep that pressure on the lock throughout the process.

Open a Lock Step 29

Step 7. Insert the pick tool and feel the pins

Use it and smell each of the rods in the lock. You should be able to be able to move them individually.

Open a Lock Step 30

Step 8. Lift one of the pins with the tool

Do this while maintaining pressure with the torque wrench. Gently push these rods upward with the pick tool. However, in order for them to stay in this position, you must use the torque wrench to keep turning them so that they do not slip back into place.

Open a Lock Step 31

Step 9. Vary the pressure with the torque wrench

Do this if the pins do not move. As you push each of them up, the subtle turn of the torque wrench will prevent them from returning to their original position. If they don't raise more when you push them, put more pressure on the torque wrench. Otherwise, reduce the pressure.

This technique is called lockpicking and you need to practice it. Each lock is a little different and you will need to know the correct pressure to apply in each case

Open a Lock Step 32

Step 10. Repeat this step with each pin

Maintain pressure with a torque wrench as you push in each of the metal rods.

Open a Lock Step 33

Step 11. Turn the torque wrench

Do this every time you manage to lift each pin. It is these bars that prevent the lock from moving. You just need to move them around so that it turns easily.

Open a Lock Step 34

Step 12. Contact a locksmith if you still cannot open the door

These are professionals who can open almost any door. Nonetheless, you have to prove that the lock you are working on is yours or else it won't do the job.

Method 4 of 4: Open a car without a key

Open a Lock Step 35

Step 1. Be aware that some car doors can be opened manually

The following techniques only work on older cars that do not have an electronic locking system. If your vehicle's doors have small handles or bars that move up and down when you close it, then you can open it without a key.

Open a Lock Step 36

Step 2. Open the door with a screwdriver

Then press the open button. Known as the screw and rod technique, it can damage the car if you are not careful. Since the locking mechanism is usually in the middle of the door, you can open the top of the door with a screwdriver and use a long rod to press the open button.

  • Open the top of the door with a flat screwdriver.
  • Obtain a metal rod or ruler and insert it into the space between the car and the door.
  • Use the rod to depress the door release actuator.
  • This technique also works on more modern cars.
Open a Lock Step 37

Step 3. Open the door manually with a hanger

Straighten this tool to turn it into a long thread with a hook end. Use this end to manually lift the vehicle door lock. Place the end of the hook between the gasket and the bottom of the glass, aligning the end of the hook with the button on the lock. Hold the hook down and find the lock. It will look like a vertical rod sticking out of the keyhole inside the car. Place the hook under it and pull it up to unlock it.

  • It may take a while, especially if you are inexperienced, but it will work in the blink of an eye.
  • The hooks for opening cars are for professional use and are made for this purpose. These are long, thin tools used by vehicle thieves in movies and on television.
Open a Lock Step 38

Step 4. Open your car with a lace

This technique only works on cars that have a visible lock button. Despite everything, it is efficient, easy and fast. To open the car with a lace, you need to do the following:

  • tie a slipknot in the middle of the cord;
  • place the lace inside the car, inserting it between the door and body. Consider doing this as if it were a dental floss;
  • pass the loop in the middle of the cord around the locking mechanism;
  • tighten the lace around the locking button by pulling on both ends;
  • pull the button up to open the car.
Open a Lock Step 39

Step 5. Call in a locksmith if you were unable to open the vehicle

If you are unable to get into the car, do not hesitate to contact a locksmith. Be sure to ask for the price of the service and the time it will take for the professional to get there.


  • Always test each key, turn it back and forth, before resorting to other measures.
  • Don't rush when trying to pick a lock without a key: patience is essential!

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