How to Open Locks When You Forget the Combination

Combination Lock image by Mario Ragsac Jr. from

There are many instances when you can use a combination lock. Securing your possessions in your locker at the gym, locking a shed or deck box in your yard and chaining your bicycle to a post are a few examples. One drawback to a combination lock is that you need to remember the combination. You can write it down on a piece of paper that you bring with you, or maybe store it on your cell phone, but you get the most security from memorizing the combination. But if you forget the combination, there is a way to open the lock without cutting it.

Pull down on the lock slightly so that the locking bar is being pulled away from the body of the lock (where the dial is). If the lock isn't currently being used to secure an object, use your finger to provide the tension.

Set the dial to 0.

Spin the dial to the right until you hear a click. Use a smooth, even motion while spinning the dial.

Spin the dial to the right two more numbers after the click. That is the first number (so if you hear the click at 16, spin the dial to 18).

Spin the dial to the left until it stops, which will give you the second number. Keep pulling on the locking bar as you do this.

Spin the dial to the right until the lock opens while keeping tension on the bar. Spinning the dial will become choppy; ignore that, as that is the way the lock is designed. The number that the lock opens at is the third number of the combination.

Memorize the combination.