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How To Unlock A 3- Dial Combination Lock: Locks 101


How To Unlock A 3- Dial Combination Lock

Securing your property is essential in this day and age. That is why we invest in different types of security features, combination locks included. 

Locks are the most basic type of security that is affordable and efficient. They are easy to operate and are designed for use in most life situations.

However, using a three-dial combination lock can be tricky, especially if you have no prior experience. 

It’s also possible that you’ll misplace the combination code. It doesn’t have to be challenging, but it is best to understand the mechanisms before using them. 

How to Open a 3-dial Combination Lock

If you bought a new combination lock, use the factory default code of 0-0-0. That is the usual code that most manufacturers use unless otherwise stated.

If you have already set the code, use that code to open the lock. It is not a complex process unless you forget the existing code.

Unlocking With The Code

The best way to open a combination lock is to use the code. Rotate the numbers starting from the left side. 

Follow this rule if the code numbers are different. It makes no difference where you begin if the codes are identical. Rotate the dials until the opening codes match, then open. 

How you pull the locks away from the body will depend on the type of lock you use. Most manufacturers give a detailed explanation, so this will not be an issue.

What About Lost Codes?

Forgetting the codes is a standard human error. It is easy to forget a code with daily problems if you have not written it down. Opening a three-dial combination lock without a code will not be easy.

According to research, over 1000 possible codes can open a three-dial combination lock. That is a lot of code to open a lock. 

Is there an easier way? It will depend on the intricacies and quality of the lock. Regardless, there are ways to open locks. Follow these steps:

1. Understand your lock

Generally, a lock is designed with dials. These dials are usually three or more, depending on the type of combination lock. 

The dials align a toothed brace can be easily removed, but when the dials do not align, there is no way these braces can make it last the dials. 

That is the lock and unlocks mechanism.

2. Find the tools

The lock and a rope or thick thread are the only tools you’ll need for this job. If the lock is already locked on a door or anywhere else, the rope is unnecessary. 

3. Take the rope, loop it on the shackle, and pull it with one hand. 

It will create the desired leverage in the next step. If the lock is on a door, it would be much easier. Apply even pressure on top of the lock from here on out. Start rotating the dials from the left side. 

You’ll notice that one of the dials is challenging to turn. It’s the one with which you’ll start the next step.

4. Rotate the dial mentioned in step 3. 

Continue until you hear a clicking sound. If the shackles move to ascend, know that you are on the right path. 

At this point, check the corresponding dial number and note it down. Continue to rotate the same dial to confirm the dialed number.

If it’s still consistent with the number noted, you have the first number of the three. To be sure, repeat this process up to 5 times.

5. While applying even pressure on the lock, repeat the same processes on the remaining dials. 

Do not forget to note down the numbers when it clicks. When you figure out the final code, the lock should open. 

It’s crucial to maintain consistent pressure throughout the process. Otherwise, it may require a few more tries. 

How To Change Combination Lock Codes

Users may need to change the lock code from time to time. That may not be as straightforward as we’d like it to be. 

Some newer combination locks make it easy to change the locks while older ones don’t. In the latter case, a change of lock may be necessary.

A combination lock code change will require some research, depending on the manufacturing company. Most, if not all, companies provide detailed directions on this. 

Some companies provide a reset tool at the top of the lock. Nonetheless, this is not the case with every lock. So, you have to be creative. Follow the steps below.

Using a reset tool

If the manufacturers have provided a reset tool, this process is the best for you. Look for the reset hole on the lock. 

It is usually a tiny hole that can fit an unfolded paper clip. If the company has provided the tool, they most likely have provided the method. 

Insert the reset tool or paper clip inside the hole and turn it 90 degrees. Some locks do not require turning. 

Check the user manual or online to confirm. Keep the pin or tool in this position, and set the new codes. Remove the tool and try out the new code.

When there is no reset tool

If there is no reset tool, there is another option. Enter the current unlock code, but don’t let the clasp fall off.

Insert the clasp and the new code. Rearrange the dials by releasing the clasp to open the lock type in the new code.

Combination Lock Tips

When you use a combination lock, you need to be mindful of certain things. These tips will spare you any inconvenience associated with combo locks.

  • Always write down the combination code and save it online or send it to your email address. When you forget the code, you can easily access your email address and check it on your phone or PC.
  • When you are considering changing the code, take your time. Please change it to something you can remember yet secure enough.
  • Please do not change the lock code when it is locked. Always have it open during the process. You will not be locked in or out if it doesn’t work. 
  • Test out the new combination several times before you lock your door, safe, or suitcase.
  • Seek a professional locksmith if you are unsure what step to take next. Locksmiths have experience with different locks. They will know what will work and what will not.
  • Changing your lock instead of changing the code will save you a lot of time and aggravation.

Advantages Of Combination Locks

In recent years, combination locks have replaced mainly traditional locks. They’re becoming increasingly popular at home, in airports, and schools, among other places. They’re becoming increasingly popular at home, in airports, and in schools. 

And here are a few of the advantages you can expect:     

  • Combination locks offer more security than traditional locks. They are not easy to pick, and the numbers make them much more difficult to break.
  • In case you forget the code, manufacturers offer the reset option. They provide a specific tool for your lock to help you change the code. There are other locks with a reset button. In case you feel like changing the recent code.
  • A combination lock is more convenient than a traditional lock. There is no detachable key that you risk losing. You open and lock with the use of a code.
  • It is easy to access and uses a combination lock. Unlike other locks, sophisticated or not, there is no particular requirement to use combo locks. Just the code will suffice.
  • Unless you share it, the unlock numbers are a secret to the owner. No one can see the numbers as you use them, and they are not visible.
  • Combo locks are pocket-friendly. You can buy several locks at affordable prices. Property owners do not have to dig deep into their pockets to replace or buy more combo locks.
  • Another benefit of combo locks is using them professionally, at schools, and home. Owners can trust that their possessions are safe from thieves.
  •  Last, combo locks are an excellent alternative for outdoor security .They are the go-to locks for bike riders and those who have greenhouses and sheds. They are not susceptible to bad weather, and they last longer than traditional locks.
  • Combination locks are easy to set up no matter where you need them. They come in different designs and can fit whatever you have in mind. 


No matter where you hail from, security is one of the top needs for humans. Security firms earn millions, and people are prepared to spend more if they have to. Three-dial combination locks are one of the simplest ways to keep yourself and your property safe.

Unlocking a three-dial lock does not have to be hard to use or unlock. Check the user manual for more information if you feel stuck. We hope this read has been helpful.

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