Unlocking a 3-Digit Combination Lock: Step-by-Step Guide

Combination locks are commonly used to secure lockers, briefcases, luggage, and other items. However, it can be frustrating if you forget your combination or are trying to open someone else’s lock. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to unlock a 3-digit combination lock.

Unlocking a 3-Digit Combination Lock: Step-by-Step Guide

Before You Begin

Before attempting to unlock the lock, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have permission to unlock the lock.
  • Determine whether the lock is mechanical or digital. This guide is specifically for unlocking mechanical (non-electronic) 3-digit combination locks.
  • Be patient and don’t rush through the process.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps carefully to successfully unlock your 3-digit combination lock:

Step 1: Clear the Lock

To begin with, make sure that your combination code doesn’t remain set on its previous setting. Rotate the dials of the latches at least twice before starting just so there isn’t any particular numbers that stick out already.

Step 2: Turn Right

Turn right until dial stops at first digit of old proper sequence as per user demand inside box restriction e.g., when opening new suitcase for first time you may see an instruction card Locked where instructions invite users by writing down their own chosen numbers
If there isn’t any chosen digits select default number usually zero then move clockwise until getting into fixed shelf stop point .

Step 3: Turn Left

Then turn left one full rotation until stopping onto second number. As soon as second number becomes locked in please proceed onto next logic level meaning rotating all way around once more towards left again but not moving beyond this initial number location which was found satisfying during previous step.

Step4 : Turn Right Again

Now turn right after making second round along the dial and stop when reaching last chosen digit. Keep exerting pressure all along to keep the mechanism under lockdown until next step.

Step 5: Pull Down

Pull down on the lock shackle (the U-shaped metal loop) while maintaining forward force for combination dials, without allowing it to pass beyond its expected level of resistance.

Step 6: Open It Up

If you did everything correctly till this point and manipulation was done precisely, latch will open up freely as soon as the correct code is entered into combination lock.

Tips to Remember:

Here are a few additional tips that can help make unlocking your 3-digit combination lock easier:

  • Writing down your combination in a secure location for later use.
  • Repeating the process several times helps maintain continuity with memorization work and successfully avoiding confusion.
  • Always starting with zero or any other number relevant in some cases may assist inexperienced users.
  • Double checking each digit after setting up proper sequence inside may prevent wrong numbers from sticking out which could lead towards an error in judgment or confusion among digits selected by user


Unlocking a 3-digit combination lock may seem complicated at first, but if you follow these steps carefully, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Keeping persistence intact and being patient throughout entire exercise can save time as well as maintaining structural integrity important components such as these mechanical locks use sensitive mechanisms that need care while handling them.

By following this guide you should be able to unlock any typical three-dial mechanical device safely without causing damage or general wear-and-tear towards its internal systems.The more one practices getting better they will become at decoding multiple sets of codes by reducing guesswork required; therefore increasing efficiency associated per attempt expended during unlocking process itself!


Here are three popular FAQs about unlocking a 3-digit combination lock with their answers:

How can I reset the combination on my 3-digit lock?
To reset the combination on most 3-digit locks, follow these steps:
With the lock open, turn each wheel so that your desired new combination is lined up in the window.
Use a tool or pen to press and hold down the small reset button located on one of the sides of the lock (near where you enter your current code).
While holding down this button, move each wheel as far as you can to either side until it stops (it should click into place). Release the reset button once all wheels have been moved.

Your new combination is now set.

What if I forget my combination for a 3-digit lock?
If you forget your combination for a 3-digit lock, there are a few things you can try before contacting a locksmith:

Try different combinations based on common patterns like birthdays or addresses.
Apply pressure to one side of the shackle while turning each dial back and forth. You may be able to hear or feel when one number clicks into place.

Turn each dial until it stops rotating smoothly, then try moving only that wheel while applying pressure to see if it unlocks.

Can I use anything other than brute force to unlock my 3-digit lock?
Yes! Here are some non-destructive ways to potentially unlock your 3-digit combination lock:

Shim Method: Made from thin pieces of metal or plastic, shims work by sliding between some parts of locks causing them not engaging correctly which allows opening without damaging device’s mechanism
inserting them between where body and hoop meet and shimmying lever
Combination Reset Tool: If shimming doesn’t work , Combination Reset Tools works just like pressing those hidden buttons but they mechanically create an energy pulse wave that sets off pins inside disk.
Professional locksmith services: If all else fails, a professional locksmith will have the tools and expertise to unlock your 3-digit combination lock without damaging it