Safes offer a wide range of benefits. Of course, the primary advantage is giving people a way to safely store their sensitive documents, valuable items, and other belongings they want to keep secure. Ample peace of mind can come from knowing you can lock away your handguns when the grandchildren come to visit or keep your vehicle titles and expensive jewelry safe when you go away on vacation. At the same time, many safes are designed to protect valuables against fires, floods, and other hazards, giving people an added safety net should things take a turn for the worse.
When the Safe Becomes too Safe
Despite the many advantages of having a safe, these strongboxes can pose a few hurdles as well. This is especially true if you’ve lost the keys or forgotten the access code and need to get to some of the items inside the safe. Since safes are built to thwart unwanted access, getting in without the right tools isn’t easy. You can’t simply slide a credit card into the lock or drop the safe on the floor with the hope that it’ll pop open. That doesn’t mean you have to write off the items in the safe as gone forever, though. Getting into a safe after you’ve lost the keys can be as simple as finding the right locksmith.
Ways to Get Into a Safe After Losing the Keys
As you might imagine, the simplest, fastest, and most effective way to get into a safe if you’ve lost the keys or the access code would be to contact a locksmith. They have the knowledge, experience, and tools to get past any type of lock. They can also do so safely without damaging the items in the safe that you’re trying to protect. If you’d like to try to get inside on your own before contacting a professional, though, a few options are at your disposal.
Contact the Manufacturer
Safe manufacturers can provide replacement keys and access codes for their safes. Their contact information may be listed on the safe itself or the paperwork that came with it. If not, you’ll probably be able to look up the company online. From there, you can contact them via phone or email to request a new key or access code. You’ll need to provide the serial number or other information about the safe so the company will know which key or code to send you.
In the event the safe’s manufacturer is no longer in business or the serial number or other information about the safe isn’t available, this may not be a viable option. Even if you can contact the manufacturer and provide all the information needed to identify the safe and its correct key or access code, this method will take time. For electronic safes, the company may be able to email you a code. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for the replacement key to come in the mail. The manufacturer may not respond to you immediately, though, especially if you contact them on a weekend or holiday.
Break into the Safe
Safes are made to prevent theft, so they’re not easy to break into. Of course, getting inside without the key, code, or combination isn’t necessarily impossible. For a combination lock, you could try placing your ear or a stethoscope against the safe and turning the dial until you hear all the right distinct clicks. This is usually much more difficult than it may seem. For standard locks, you could try using a small screwdriver or lockpicking set. For the latter, you’ll need to know how to use the lockpicking kit.
You could also try to pry the lock open by sliding a butter knife or other thin, sturdy object into the crevice between the edge of the door and the wall of the safe where the lock is. Then, press against the object to try to spring the lock manually. Using a screwdriver or knife could ultimately damage the lock as well as the safe, and both may be ineffective for getting past the lock.
If you have a safe with a digital code, there may be a simpler way to get inside. You have to remove the touchpad to replace its batteries from time to time, and some models have a hidden access portal in the opening for the touchpad. After removing the touchpad, you’ll need to look around for a hole. There may be a button inside the hole that you can simply press to open the lock. You may have to feel around for this button if you don’t see it from the outside, or there may not be a hidden entry point at all.
Drill the Lock
If all else fails, you can try to drill the lock. Simply grab your trusty drill and a sturdy bit that’s suitable for drilling metal. Then, drill away at the lock until it gives way and the safe opens. You may end up having to manipulate some of the remaining components of the lock to get into the safe. This should only be used as a last resort because it will destroy the lock and all the security it’s meant to provide. In truth, you may even destroy a drill bit or two in the process.
Don’t Overlook the Value of a Locksmith
You can avoid all the time and hassle of these methods by contacting a locksmith right from the start. Locksmiths may be able to create a replacement key for the lock. In the case of digital locks, they may have the right equipment to essentially wipe the slate clean and reprogram the lock with a new access code. In some instances, locksmiths can even replace the existing lock with a new one that comes with keys of its own. In the end, the locksmith may have to drill the lock to get into the safe if all other options fail. In most cases, though, locksmiths can get into your safe without damaging it or the items it holds inside.