Most safes and locks utilize combination codes to lock and unlock them rather than keys. This has long been regarded as a more secure method of locking because, while a key can be stolen, a combination code isn’t a physical object that can be taken. Also, it is typically harder to pick a combination lock than a standard key lock, making it more difficult to break into safes with combination locks.
There are two types of combination safes available: those that use a dial combination lock and those that use an electronic combination lock. Electronic locks require batteries or an alternate power source to operate, and typically work by entering a 4-digit combination into a telephone-style keypad. Dial combination locks operate without electricity and usually have a 3-digit code. The combination is entered by turning a dial, which is marked with notches and numbers to show the operator what point on the dial to stop. The dial typically has 60 numbered notches, although commercial safes may have more. The dial is the single most obvious feature when identifying whether a safe uses a dial combination lock or an electronic combination lock.
Start by resetting the lock so that the mechanical elements know you are beginning a new combination rather than continuing from the number that was last entered. Rotate the dial in a clockwise motion for three complete rotations to reset the lock. Keep turning the dial clockwise until you reach the first number in the combination, then stop. Turn the dial counterclockwise a full rotation, and continue until you reach the second number in the combination. Stop on the second number and then begin turning the dial clockwise once more until you reach the final number in the combination. Stop on the final number and lift the lever on the front of the safe to open the lock.
To lock the safe back, simply close the door, lower the lever and turn the dial on the combination lock. Changing the number on the lock is very important. If the dial is left to rest on the final number in the combination, the lock will remain unlocked and anyone can open the safe.
Hiding the Safe
Hiding the safe is an important aspect of securing the valuables inside. This is particularly true in the case of smaller, lightweight safes that could be carried away. Have a professional install your safe into a wall, where it can be covered by a picture, tapestry or furniture. Keeping the safe inside a locked cabinet or desk drawer is also a viable option. In the event that a safe is large enough that it is difficult to hide, consider purchasing some extra weights to keep in the bottom of the safe, making it less likely to be stolen.
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
How to Open a Combination Lock
A combination lock is a type of lock commonly used to secure lockers and safes that have multiple digit codes that must...
How to Reset a Sentry Safe Combination
Periodically updating the combination to your safe provides added security and helps eliminate unauthorized access. Safes with manual combination locks must be...
How to Open a Dial Safe Without the Combination
If you have a dial safe containing valuable personal possessions but you can't remember the combination, you need to figure out a...
Combination Directions for Fire Fyter Safes
Fire Fyter brand safes are steel-constructed, fire-resistant safes manufactured by Center Manufacturing Company exclusively in the United States. The safes feature electronic,...
Mosler Safe Combination Instructions
The Mosler Safe Company manufactures a wide variety of safes for use in homes, hotels, jewelry stores and other commercial applications. Buying...
How to Get a Combination for a Brinks Fire Safe
In many cases, a home fire safe requires both a key and combination code. If you have lost either, you can get...
How to Open a Sentry Safe With a Combination Lock
How to open and unlock a Sentry safe using either the 3- or 4-digit combination sequence that came with the product.
How to Open a Left/Right Combination Lock on a Victor Safe
Victor security safes are old antique safes that were common around the early 1900s. Victor Safe and Lock Company was known for...
Combination Safe Instructions
A combination safe is exactly what the name implies. It is a safe that utilizes a combination dial, usually set to a...