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How to Remove a Deadbolt Lock From the Outside: 5 Steps

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to remove a deadbolt lock from the outside

You’re locked outside of your door without a key! What are your options, then? If you don’t have any other entry point, don’t panic. You may pick your deadbolt locks, but if picking won’t help either and your deadbolt is broken, your only option is to take a deadbolt off from the outside.

If you’re in that situation and wondering how to remove a deadbolt lock from the outside, this is for you. Here, we provide techniques to get deadbolt out of door; with just a few steps, the right tools, and little patience, you’ll be in, in no time.

How to Remove a Keyed Deadbolt Lock From the Outside Using a Drill

Your purpose for drilling is to break or remove a piece of your lock. Drilling will be a breeze if you use the right set of a capable power drill machine and suitbable bits to remove multi lock deadbolt.

What to prepare

  • A power drill, with variable speed and power torque, ideally with hammering mode
  • Drill bits (size 1/8, ¼, 3/8), ideally cobalt bits, sharp and capable enough to drill through hard metals
  • Flat-head screwdriver or long-nose pliers
  • Safety glasses
  • Prying bar or hammer

Step 1: Mark a pilot hole


Learn how its locking mechanism works and the typical anti-drill measures to assess the most efficient technique to apply.

Then, mark the hole for drilling.

Step 2: Insert 1/8 bit into the drill and drill slowly


Aim the drill bit in the pilot hole and gently press the trigger, applying firm pressure.

Drill until you feel you have punctured five pins. You can feel each time the drill progresses to the next pin.

Step 3: Change your drill bit and continue


Use a slightly bigger bit (¼ then 3/8) for increased pressure when you reach a particular depth.

Drill until all of the pins are shattered, and the bit has punctured the back part of the lock.

Step 4: Turn the lock


Slip a flat-head screwdriver or long-nose pliers into the keyhole and move it in the same direction as you turn a key.

If it is still in locked position, check if there’s the 6th pin. Upgrade to a bigger bit and drill deeper until all the pins have slipped out to unlock.

Step 5: Remove deadbolt from door

The deadbolt should come off once the locking mechanism is destroyed; if not, use a prying bar or a hammer claw to remove it.

You can see how to forcefully remove the deadbolt here:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any drill bit to remove locks?

Depending on the grade of your lock, consider the quality of drill bits you will use to drill your deadbolt, as not all drill bits can pierce the strong metals used in locks.

Almost all drill bits used to drill out locks are made of cobalt.

As with the size, this general guideline may be helpful. If you don’t have these sizes, pick the next closest size.

  • 1/8 for pilot hole
  • 1/4 to destroy tumblers
  • 3/8 or larger drill bit

Which part of the deadbolt should I drill?

There are various methods for successfully drilling a lock, as well as several distinct points where you can position your drill bit tip to drill it properly.

Depending on your lock, you may aim the tip of the drill bit on the shear line (just above the keyway), the key pins (bottom pins), the driver pins (top pins), springs, or the screws that secure the deadbolt to your door.


Deadbolts, especially those without screws, are manufactured to be taken off when the door is open. To remove a double keyed deadbolt, it requires access to the screws on the interior side of the door.

Unexpected events may occur, and there may come a time when you may not have complete control over your door to access your locks.

Whether you’ve misplaced your sole key or need to get through a closed door in an emergency, learning how to remove a deadbolt lock from the outside is a valuable ability to have and might one day save a life.

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