Combination Lock Operation and Maintenance

A mechanical combination lock is a durable option for securing a safe.  As with any specialized instrument, however, they require knowledge to operate and maintenance to prevent failure.

Episode 2 of Shut The Front Door is about Combination Locks.  Watch this and read on for a few extra tips.

The basic dialing sequence is this:

4 times Left (Counter-Clockwise) to the 1st number in your combination
3 Times Right (Clockwise) to the 2nd number in your combination
2 Times Left (Counter-Clockwise) to the 3rd number in your combination
1 Time Right to a dead stop.  You have retracted the bolt and the combination lock is open.

Here are a few more pointers to extend the life of your lock:Herring Hall Marvin Fire Safe with combination lock

  • Never spray anything in a combination lock

    We occasionally receive a call about a dial becoming difficult to turn.  Sometimes the owner sprays some form of lubricant behind the dial, or worse yet, into the combination lock body itself.  Spraying lube in the lock will only aggravate the problem.  A dial that is difficult to turn or tight should be serviced immediately.

  • Do not lock the container if operation becomes difficult

    If your combination lock requires multiple attempts to open, have the lock serviced immediately.  If the container is open, or you are able to get the lock open, leave it that way.  When a safe is locked closed, the cost for service increases significantly.  Over the years the wheels in a combination lock can slip, causing the numbers in your combination to change slightly.  As this problem compounds, the safe becomes difficult to open.    If the dial or ring become loose, immediately request service.  Waiting until you are completely locked out of a safe to request service, rather than when you first notice the problem is a mistake.  Avoid costly emergency safe openings!

    Diebold combination lock safe with round lug door

  • Have a regular service schedule

    We recommend that you service your safe every 2 years when it is used frequently.  Commercial safes are accessed many times in a day.  This results in more wear and tear than in a residential setting.  Banks and Federal entities, which deal with very high security safes, have regular service schedules to prevent lockouts.  This is a best practice with combination locks.  When emergency service is required on a night or weekend, safe openings can become very costly.  As with most things, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when it comes to your combination lock!

With proper care and operation, your mechanical combination lock and safe will last for generations.  Despite all the bells and whistles available today with electronic combination locks, the mechanical combination lock remains the most durable and dependable option available.

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