A combination safe is a great way to keep other people away from valuables – but an improperly maintained safe is a great way to keep yourself away as well. If you're having trouble getting your safe open, here are some things you can try before calling to have it drilled open.


If the lock is accepting your combination but not opening, one possibility is that the door of the safe is jammed. Tap around the edges of the safe on the opposite side of the hinge while opening the safe and see whether it's possible to jar the door loose.

Push And Pull

If you can enter your combination but the handle for the safe won't turn, it may be because the bolts are out of alignment or jammed up. This is especially likely if the handle will turn slightly but then becomes stuck. While turning the handle, pull outwards on the handle and use your free hand to push inwards on the door. You may be able to realign the parts enough to turn the handle completely.

Shift Your Combination's Numbers

Sometimes, older combination locks or locks that haven't been maintained properly will have their combinations shift slightly. Try taking your combination and subtracting one from each number; if this doesn't work, keep subtracting one until you've subtracted five. Then do the same thing except add one. This means that for a combination of 10-20-30, you should test 9-19-29, 8-18-28, 7-17-27, 6-16-26, and 5-15-25; then go in the opposite direction and test 11-21-31 through 15-25-35.

If you find a combination that works, you also need to call a technician as soon as possible because combination shifting is a sign that your lock will soon fail completely without repairs.

What's Next

If none of these solutions work, then it's time to call in a professional safe technician or locksmith, such as A-AAA Locksmiths, LLC. It's likely that they will need to drill into the safe and then replace the lock entirely.

Whether you end up with a new lock or get your old lock open, be sure that you have your lock checked and cleaned annually; the parts in a combination lock can wear down or become jammed if not taken care of properly. A technician can clean your lock and replace any worn parts before they cause your lock to stop working, ensuring that you don't end up with the same problem in the future.