To quickly access your documents or valuables that are kept in a safe, it is important to understand how to open the type of safe you own. Combination safes with a wheel lock require you to follow a certain procedure to enter the combination, while other types of safes can be more easily opened with a combination or digital keys. When you forget a combination or lose access to the safe, you will have to call on a locksmith to open it for you.
Method 1 of 4: Opening a 3-Wheel Combination Safe
Step 1. Locate the safe combination on the manufacturer's papers
Most combination safes come with a card that has the combination on it. Keep the combination card in a safe place and try to memorize the combination as well.
Many manufacturers can provide you with the combination for your safe if you have lost the combination card and don't know what it is. You will only have to provide the documentation that proves that you are the legal owner of the safe
Step 2. Turn the dial to the left past the first number 3 times, and then stop at the number
Turn the dial to the left and count the number of times you pass the first number in the combination. Line up the number with the marker at the top of the dial after passing it 3 times.
Always check your safe's owner's manual first to verify the procedure for entering the combination
Step 3. Turn the dial to the right past the second number 2 times, and then stop at the number
Turn the dial to the right and be careful to pass only the second number of the combination 2 times. Then line up the number with the marker at the top of the dial.
If you accidentally pass the second number more than twice, you will have to start the process all over again
Step 4. Turn the dial to the left past the third number 1 time, and then stop at the number
Carefully turn the dial to the left and only pass the last number of the combination 1 time. Line up the last number in the combination with the index marker at the top of the dial.
If you pass the third number more than once by accident, then you will have to enter the combination from the beginning
Step 5. Slowly turn the dial to the right until it stops and the bolt retracts
When the dial stops you will hear the safe open. Now you can open the safe door.
If the safe won't open, you've probably made a mistake in the combination or in the process of entering it on the dial. Check the numbers and try again
Step 6. Turn the handle and pull the safe door toward you to open it
Most large safes have a handle that you must turn after opening. Turn the handle counterclockwise after completing the combination and gently pull the door open.
- Safes generally have heavy doors, so be sure to open it slowly and stay away from it while opening the safe to avoid injury.
- Keep the handle turned fully counterclockwise until you close the safe door again, or you may have to re-enter the combination to close it.
Method 2 of 4: Opening a Safe with a 4-Wheel Combination
Step 1. Find the combination of the safe in the original documentation
Combination safes usually come with a combination card. Keep the combination card in a safe place where you can find it in case you forget the combination from the safe.
If you lose the combination to the safe, then contact the manufacturer and see if they can provide you with the combination. Typically, if you can prove that you are the legal owner of the safe and give them the serial number of the safe, then they will be able to tell you the combination
Step 2. Turn the dial to the right past the first number 4 times, and then stop at the number
Turn the dial to the right and count how many times you pass the first number of the combination. Line up the number with the marker at the top of the dial when you pass it 4 times.
Always read the safe manufacturer's instructions to verify the procedure necessary to open it
Step 3. Turn the dial to the left past the second number 3 times, then stop at the number
Turn the dial to the left until the second number of the combination passes 3 times. Line up the number with the marker at the top of the dial before swiping it a fourth time.
Turn the dial slowly and be careful not to go over the number too many times or you will have to start over
Step 4. Turn the dial to the right past the third number 2 times, and then stop at the number
Turn the dial to the right and pass the third number of the combination twice. Line up the number with the marker at the top of the dial after passing it 2 times.
If you pass the number more than twice, then start the combination over from the beginning
Step 5. Turn the dial to the left after the fourth number 1 time, then stop at the number
Turn the dial to the left and only pass the last number of the combination 1 time. Line up the fourth number with the index marker at the top of the dial to complete the combination.
Be very careful not to skip the last number more than once
Step 6. Turn the dial clockwise slowly until it stops and the door latch retracts
You'll hear the safe open when the dial stops. You are now ready to open the safe door.
If the safe door won't open, then enter the combination again from the beginning. Double check the numbers in the combination and be careful not to go over any of them too many times
Step 7. Twist the safe's door handle and gently pull it toward you to open it
Large safes have a handle that you must turn to open the door. Turn the handle counterclockwise after opening it and pull the door open.
Do not turn the handle to the right until you are ready to close the safe again or you may have to enter the combination again
Method 3 of 4: Open other types of safes
Step 1. Enter the code on the numeric keypad to open a digital safe
Locate the safe code, or retrieve it from memory, and enter the numbers on the keypad to open the safe. Pull the door open when it's unlocked.
- Most electronic safes have a 4-10 digit code.
- Pause 1 second between each number you enter to give the system time to process the code. If there is an "Enter" key, press it when you finish entering the code.
Step 2. Swipe the combination card and enter the code to open a card lock box
Safe deposit boxes require a pre-programmed card and code to open. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to program the combination card with a code, then swipe it and enter the code into the safe to open it.
These types of safes make it very easy to reprogram the code if necessary, since everything is digital
Step 3. Insert the key and turn it counterclockwise to open a locked safe
Align the key with the lock correctly and insert it. Turn it counterclockwise and pull the door towards you to open the safe.
If you lose your keys, contact the manufacturer to see if replacement keys are available
Method 4 of 4: Get a Locksmith to Open a Safe
Step 1. Find a trusted locksmith in your area
Check online or in your local phone book to find a reliable locksmith. Give them a call to make sure they offer secure opening services and find out what the rates are.
- The most common reason for needing a locksmith is because you've forgotten or lost your safe combination. Safes can also sometimes become jammed or damaged, in which case you will require the services of a locksmith to open and repair them.
- Ask the locksmith if you will need to provide documentation to prove that you own the safe before they open it.
Step 2. Make an appointment with the locksmith to open the safe for you
Schedule a home visit, or bring the safe to the locksmith if it is small enough to transport. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your scheduled appointment, as some safes will take longer to open depending on the complexity of the lock.
Many locksmiths offer 24-hour services, in case you need something from the safe urgently
Step 3. Reset the combination and write it down in a safe place
Have the locksmith reset the safe combination. Save the new combination in a filing cabinet or in digital form where you can easily find it the next time you need it.
If you've called a locksmith because the safe is jammed or broken, make sure they make the necessary repairs and that the safe is working before they leave
- Most of the well-known manufacturers have websites where you can download instruction manuals for free.
- Get into the habit of safely storing all the instruction manuals for any major purchases you make, and keep the combinations in a safe place.