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How to Open a Locker Lock Conveniently and Correctly?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to open a locker lock

Surely when going to public places, such as schools, gyms, public swimming pools,… you will more or less face the use of combination locks. This type of lock was similarly tough for me to use on the first day of school. I was even stupid enough to find a position to insert the key.

It’s embarrassing and troublesome if we can’t store our belongings, especially for students. But don’t worry! With some basic knowledge and practice, you will be able to solve this problem. In today’s post, I’ll guide you through how to open a locker lock so you can arm yourself before the real problem hits. In short, there are three main sections:

  • Mechanism.
  • Step-by-step process.
  • Tips and tricks.

What is a Combination Lock


A combination lock is a security mechanism that uses a code consisting of a series of characters, letters, or numbers to unlock a lock. Some lock points connect with indentation engraved into the cams as you interact with a single rotary dial or mechanical mechanism. Only when you enter the correct combination, will the metal curve bar called shackle to come out as the cams line up. The most significant distinction between these and regular locks is that they do not require a key to open.

This product, made of weatherproofed plastic and vinyl or metal, is portable, has good resistance to external conditions, and may help minimize theft in schools, workplaces, and public areas. However, this type of lock is not a good choice if you want to protect larger things like a gate, warehouse, or container.

How to Open a Locker Lock Step-by-Step Process


Step 1: Find the predetermined combination

Combinations often appear in many types. For new locks, they are usually printed on a label on the back of the lock. If they are not, then they are likely to be of the second category.

In case you received an old lock from someone without knowing the combination or have lost or forgotten it, follow these steps.

Step 2: Turn to your first number

Turn the knob a few turns to the right to clear the stuck segments, then stop at the first number. At 12 o’clock, there is a straight line resembling an arrow, usually red. Rotate the knob until the number mark joins the indicator in a straight line.

In the second situation, use your finger to pull the shackle up as far as you can and hold it there. Turn the knob until you hear a click on the inside. Ignore the times when it gets stuck and just stop at the click when it’s smooth. Add five units to that number to get the first number in your combination.

This process can take time and practice, so be patient. Continue reading for instructions on how to rotate the whole combination.

Step 3: Turn to your second number

Now turn to the left side. Turn the knob one full turn to the left and make sure it’s past your first number before stopping at the second one.

For the second case, continue to pull the shackle and turn the knob to the left. Stop until you really can’t turn the dial anymore, which means it is stuck. Your number is now around that position. Retry the same task many times to feel the clicking inside and write down some possible results.

Step 4: Turn to your third number

Go right again. This time rotate it directly to the right until the indicator points to your third number. Now, you can open the lock by gently pulling the shackle up or the padlock down.

For the second case, you don’t need to pull the shackles anymore. However, it will take some time because we need to do some tests. Turn the knob to the right by two units, four units, and four units again until you successfully pull the shackle out of the lock. That’s how you get your third number and succeed in opening lockers.

Step 5: Lock your padlock

Remember to lock your padlock when you finish using it. For locking, all you need is to put the shackle back in place, then turn the knob a few turns to the right as in step 1 so it can clear the numbers. If you don’t do this step, the dial can be easily turned to the third number. Then, the shackles can be pulled out by somebody else.

Tips and Tricks to Be a Master

  • Do not panic if you’ve tried opening a locker combination many times, but there is no movement. It can take time but try to test all possible combinations and keep a note of them. Only do this when you are sure no one is around.
  • Once you know the correct combination, do not force the shackle anymore. It can create friction and prevent your unlocking process.
  • Jot down the last correct combination when the key is unlocked and keep it in a secret place. You certainly do not want anyone to know your numbers and open your locker.
  • Do not tell or give that combination to anyone, including your friends. As for the school, they even set rules to prevent this.
  • Try adding a little oil if you are sure to enter the correct combination, but the lock stays locked. There is very likely a fault with the internal hinge or lever.
  • Contact the school’s administration or public place because they keep track of all the serial numbers and the combinations on combination locks.
  • Check the quality of the lock regularly because it can be damaged at any time by external factors like collision and weather. Buy new or ask for another one if problems are detected to avoid encountering bad situations.
  • Do not be afraid to communicate. Ask a random person for help, or save the locksmith’s phone number if you do not want to wait until the sun goes down and no one is there to help you.
  • Before calling a locksmith, you need to know the basic information printed on the padlock, such as model number, manufacturer, and standard size, so that they can bring the right tools to fix it for you.


There are many types of combination locks, from mechanical to electronic, but what I present today is the most common type that people often use to lock lockers. For the first time, using this type of key can be a bit difficult. So, besides equipping yourself with the method I mentioned above to open locker combinations, you need to practice alone until you are proficient.

I’ve shared with you helpful tips and tricks in the hopes of teaching you a thing or two about methods on how to open a locker lock conveniently and correctly. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Send me an email if you want to explore any other subjects as well.

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