Open a Jammed Combination Padlock

How to Open a Jammed Combination Padlock?

Switching from a traditional key lock to a padlock may appear to be a safe option, but the actual issue arises when the padlock becomes jammed. To unlock a regular key lock, you simply need to relocate one point, but a padlock requires four. As a result, getting stuck on a padlock is natural, and there are fixes.

To open a jammed combination padlock, there are various fixes for different kinds of them. The common fixes include lubricating the insides of the shank and applying high pressured air into the holes will make the jammed one unlock as the dust or debris that might be stuck in the lock and prevent the bolt from moving. Moreover, hammering slowly on specific points can do the trick as well.

Nevertheless, we will get into details later on. First, let’s learn why they get jammed in the first place.

What Causes Combination Lock Stuck?

It’s more useful to understand why a combination lock is stuck in the first place before learning how to open a stuck padlock. You may not know it, but there are a few things you do unintentionally that are the only reasons your lock is preventing you from moving. Let’s check out the causes before you get locked again and call a locksmith.

Stuck Shackle

The shackle is basically the U-shaped metal in your combination lock. Few combinations don’t have a shackle, but most of them do. So, if your combination lock has a shackle, then definitely have a look here.

If you are having trouble unlocking, the shackle should be the first place you check. This specific portion of the lock is responsible for the complete locking and unlocking system. As a result, even a minor modification in the shackle hole will prevent the shackle from elevating. It doesn’t matter how much you put the right combination, it will not open up.

Rusts, dirt, or even metal shavings may be present, causing the shackles to get clogged over time. As a result, the locking pawl, which is the metal that stops the shackle while it’s locked, can’t fully open.

Actuator Clog

The actuator sits right beneath the locking pawl. It moves up and down and makes space for the locking pawl to move along with it. As mentioned before, the locking pawl’s failure to move accordingly will lead to non-functioning locks.

Nevertheless, these don’t corrode or collect dirt; instead, they break and become completely disconnected from the system. This implies you will be dialing those combinations seamlessly with no noticeable difference in the system but won’t be able to unlock it.

Extreme Cold Temperature

In snowy conditions, leaving padlocks outside can cause major changes inside the lock. When it snows, padlocks, especially those that are hung outdoors, are the most vulnerable. Even though pulling the shackle hard enough to free it occasionally works, you are actually damaging it.

On the other hand, applying heat near the paddle lock to melt the ice is another approach that many people employ. This is said to be more destructive to the lock than ever before since the ice melts into moisture, which then causes the entire system to become damp, causing friction inside the lock.


Rusting is the most typical cause of a lock jammed. The combination padlock’s materials, which are generally constructed of steel or iron, are exposed to water and oxygen. Unfortunately, rusts are drawn to these two materials, which allows them to take over.

How to Open a Jammed Combination Padlock

Nonetheless, we have addressed most of the reasons why your combination padlocks are possibly stuck at this point. Let’s have a look at how to open a jammed combination padlock.

In this section, we will go through how to solve two situations with jammed combination locks in a step-by-step manner. One of them is the most typical issue, in which your padlock has been clogged and has to be cleared out to be restored.

On the other hand, the second one is about your padlock not opening after changing the code, and you are completely trapped because you can’t access it with either the old or new code. Correspondingly, the master lock won’t open with correct code.

Let’s learn how to open a padlock without breaking it.

How to Fix a Clogged Padlock

It’s most likely a clogged padlock if your combination padlock suddenly stops functioning without you messing with the passcode. Furthermore, if a lock is not used for an extended length of time, it contributes to the clogged padlock. Regardless, here’s how to repair it:

Step 1: Safety First

Because the procedure involves using a hammer and other potentially hazardous materials, it’s wise to think about your safety first. We recommend that you use both hand gloves and goggles.

Step 2: Hammer the Shackles

Now comes the stage where you have to hammer the shackles in place and clear their movement by slowly pounding them. After you’ve put on your gloves, start tapping on the shackles from the top and both sides a little. If the shackle and other key elements of the lock have shifted from their original location, this will restore them in position.

Step 3: Pressurized water in the openings

Another reason why your combination lock won’t open is because of the rust or tiny specks of dirt stuck on the inside. So it will not matter how much you try to pound to fix it; it will just not get fixed. Thus, comes the cleaning part with pressurized water. Get hold of a hose that can provide moderate pressurized water.

Take a 360-degree look at your padlock and make a list of all the holes. Except for one, cover all of the holes with your hand or a towel. Take the pressure water hose and use it to clean the hole that has been left open. After that, take turns in each hole in the padlock, and you’re done with the cleaning.

Step 4: Lubricating the Keyhole

It’s time to lubricate your heavy duty padlock. You’ll need some form of lubricant to apply to the shackle holes and keyholes in order to do so. You can use powdered graphite, which you can make by scrunching the nip of a pencil.

Additionally, apply the lubricants to the shackle holes as well as the keyholes. Make sure to rub the greased areas with a cotton bar or any thin material you can get your hands on as well.

Step 5: Repeating the Procedure

You’re almost done with a stuck padlock. However, you may discover that the master key does not work after you have inserted it. As a result, it’s a good idea to repeat steps 1 to 4 a few times, inserting your master key each time and checking if it succeeded or not.

Opening Padlock That Stopped Working after Changing Combination

You can get into a situation where your combination padlock stops functioning after you’ve set a new one and won’t open even with a master lock. The nicest aspect is that the master lock stuck problem can be fixed on your own. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Rotating the wheels clockwise

Begin your lock hacking by spinning the wheel clockwise. Continue the cycle at least 15 times. Simply turn the wheel to the numeral 0 once you think it’s finished. However, be careful that you only spin clockwise to get the number 0.

Step 2: Pull the Shackle Upward

When you’ve set your dialer to 0, you’ll have to pull the shackle upward. This will allow the shackle to return to its original position and exit the stuck position. If you’re confident enough, you can pull it with your hand, or you can use pliers. However, don’t overdo it.

Step 3: Observe and Note

This step determines whether or not you will be able to unlock your padlock. You must begin gently turning the wheel and wait for it to reach a point where you can feel it swallow. It’ll usually be between two numbers, and you’ll need to write it down.

Continue following the steps until you have the appropriate amount of number for your padlock to unlock. Begin implying the number after you’ve gathered it. This will undoubtedly require more than one attempt to find your master lock combination.

How to Prevent Combination Padlock From Jamming?

Preventing combination padlocks from jamming is straightforward. Following them will maintain your padlock smoothly and operate all the time, saving you money on new locks every month. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Try to keep your locks away from water, as rusting only takes place when there is water.
  • If you are using it in a cold climate, then try wrapping it in a towel.
  • Lubricate your padlock every once a month, especially when it feels dry to unlock.
  • Do not tilt the master key or the combinations too hard.


Getting hold of a jammed padlock can be the most annoying thing ever. However, once you know how to maintain it from getting jammed, it gets easier every time to maintain it.

Nonetheless, rather than calling a blacksmith to open a jammed combination padlock, you can do it yourself with the tools you have at home. A bit of hammering and lubrication is all you need to get your padlock to get back in service.

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