How to Pick a Small Padlock

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You don't need a locksmith to open a padlock.
You don't need a locksmith to open a padlock. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

It's not uncommon for people to lose their keys. Most of the time it's the car or house keys that go missing. But it can be just as unnerving when the small key belonging to a padlock cannot be found. There's no need to call a locksmith to open it, however. Just grab a standard-sized paperclip and you can pop that lock yourself.

Unfold the paperclip so that it resembles an S. Bend it back and forth repeatedly to break it in half at the middle bend. Form the two pieces into L shapes. One will serve as the pick and one as the torsion wrench.

Insert one of the pieces about 1/2-inch into the bottom of the keyhole. Turn it clockwise while applying pressure.

Insert the other paperclip piece -- the pick -- into the top of the hole. Continue to hold the other piece firmly in place.

Jiggle the pick up and down to find the lock's pins. After finding them, slowly pull out the pick. You should feel the pins turn as you pull out the pick.

Take hold of the clip being used as the wrench at the section nearest the lock. Turn it clockwise a little farther. The lock should now open.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't apply too much pressure to the paperclips so as not to bend or break them.
  • Only use these steps to help pick your own lock.

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