How to Open a Combination Lock


Last Updated: September 28, 2022Download ArticleARTICLEVIDEO

A combination lock is useful for your school locker, gym locker, bike, or anything else that you’d like to keep safely locked up and away. Once you know your combination, opening a combination lock is very easy—just a couple turns to the left and right, and presto—the lock is open! If you want to know how to open a combination lock, just follow these steps.×120&!1&fsb=1&xpc=F3Sq325PpH&p=https%3A// 1Method 1 of 3:

Buying your Combination Lock

  1. 1Buy a combination lock. Combination locks can be found at most hardware, home improvement, and sports stores across the US. Some stores that sell combination locks are The Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Modell’s, Staples, and Walmart.
  2. 2Find the combination on the sticker on the back of the lock. Most of the time, your new combination lock will come with a sticker on the back of the lock, telling you your lock’s combination. Remove the sticker carefully. Write down the combination and throw out the sticker — you don’t want to leave the sticker around in case someone else finds it and knows it’s the combination to a lock.[1]
    • Start memorizing your new locker combination. This will make it easier for you to consistently open the lock.

Method 2Method 2 of 3:

Opening the Combination Lock

  1. 1Turn the dial on the lock clockwise three times. Turn the dial to the right. This clears the lock and resets it so that it’s ready to open.[2]
  2. 2Stop turning when the marker points to the first number of the combination. The marker or line should be at the top of the dial, pointing to the twelve o’clock position. In many cases, it will be red. The first number on this lock’s combination is 36, so you should stop turning the dial when the marker points to that number.[3]
  3. 3Turn the dial back to the left for one full turn. Spin it counterclockwise one full turn, past the first number (36), then stop at the second number—in this case, 10.[4]
  4. 4Turn the dial to the right. Finally, turn the dial clockwise again and stop at the last number on the sticker—1.[5]
  5. 5Open the lock. Pull up the shackle at the top of the lock, and it should open right up. You can also hold on to the shackle and pull down the lock.
    • If it doesn’t open, repeat the process from the beginning. Once you’ve partially engaged the tumblers, you should clear out the lock before trying again.

Method 3Method 3 of 3:

Locking the Combination Lock

  1. 1Insert the shackle. Spin the shackle around so that the opened portion is above the hole, and push it into the opening at the top of the lock.
  2. 2Spin the dial. Turn the dial in any direction for three turns. It doesn’t matter what number you stop on. This process will disengage the tumblers and will make it so that you’ll have to start all over again with the first number if you want to open it.
  3. 3Test it. Make sure it’s locked by pulling on the lock or shackle. If it opens, lock it again.

Community Q&A

  • QuestionHow do I open a multiple combination lock when I don’t know the code?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerHold your thumb as hard as you can at the top. Go slowly through all the numbers and you will feel a click when it’s the right number.Not Helpful 96Helpful 258
  • QuestionDo I have to turn it clockwise 3 times every time I use it or just the first time?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerDo it every time.Not Helpful 51Helpful 117
  • QuestionWhat do I do if my combination lock won’t open?Community AnswerCommunity AnswerIf you’re at school, try it once or twice more. If it still doesn’t open, ask a nearby teacher for help.Not Helpful 71Helpful 107

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Read Video Transcript


  • You don’t have to touch the number exactly, you can be about two numbers off before it won’t click in the lock’s inner workings.Helpful 6 Not Helpful 7
  • If your lock is not opening even if you tried more than one time just check if its not hard when your turning it if it is hard than you need a new lock.Helpful 4 Not Helpful 5
  • Placing tension on the shackle (the U-shaped part that holds the thing you want to lock) will place more friction on the mechanics of the lock. Just leave the shackle alone and you’ll open the lock smoothly.Helpful 2 Not Helpful 8

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Things You’ll Need

  • A combination lock
  • Something to open the packaging of the lock

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