How to Unlock a Number Combination Lock

by Matt McGew; Updated September 26, 2017

A combination lock is a type of padlock that uses a unique series of numbers called a combination to open the lock. There are two basic types of combination locks: those with multiple dials and those with a single dial. If you know the combination of the lock, you can open the lock using a standardized procedure based on the type of lock.

Multiple-Dial Combination Locks

Step 1

Determine the combination for the lock with multiple dials. You can usually find this series of numbers on a sticker attached to the lock at the time of purchase.

Step 2

Adjust each dial on the combination lock to its appropriate setting.

Step 3

Pull the padlock portion of the lock up to unlock the multiple dial combination lock.

Single-Dial Combination Locks

Step 1

Determine the combination for the single-dial combination lock. You should be able to find this on a sticker attached to lock when you buy it.

Step 2

Turn the combination dial from left to right three times, stopping on the first number of the combination after three full turns of the dial.

Step 3

Turn the combination dial from right to left. After completing a full rotation, stop on the second number of the combination during the second rotation.

Step 4

Turn the combination dial from left to right, stopping on the third number of the combination.

Step 5

Pull the padlock portion of the lock up to unlock the single-dial combination lock.

About the Author

Since 1992 Matt McGew has provided content for on and offline businesses and publications. Previous work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," Travelocity and "GQ Magazine." McGew specializes in search engine optimization and has a Master of Arts in journalism from New York University.