How to Open a Master Combination Lock

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You can open your combination lock.
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If you've ever dealt with a school locker, you've likely opened a Master Lock combination padlock. It's a popular combination lock brand with a standard method for opening the lock. Combination locks are also useful for securing storage sheds and other spaces around your home. Once you know which direction to turn the dial and how many times, you can open any combination lock easily.


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Master Lock Combination Lock Parts

Most combination locks look similar. The lock has a dial on the front that spins with a knob sticking out of the middle to make it easy to turn. Small lines on the dial mark each number. You'll also see a few numbers on the dial with every fifth number represented by a numeral.


The indicator is usually at the top of the dial. It's a small triangle that points toward the dial. When entering your combination, this indicator needs to point at the line representing the number in the combination.

The shackle is the top loop portion of the lock. When you enter the combination correctly, it releases and you can open the lock. You can slip the shackle through items to secure them with the lock.


Opening a Combination Lock

A standard Master Lock combination lock has a combination with three numbers. You must stop on each number precisely in the correct order to open the lock. For example, if the combination is 2-25-15, you stop on the numbers in that order.


Here are the steps for opening a Master Lock combination lock:

  1. Turn the dial to the right at least three times.
  2. Stop on the first number in the combination. Using the example above, you'd stop on the line representing the number 2.
  3. Turn the dial to the left a full rotation so you go past the first number, in this case, 2, and stop on the second number in the combination. In this example, you'd stop on 25 after you do a full rotation.
  4. Turn the dial to the right again, stopping on the final number the first time you come to it. Using the above combination, you'd stop on 15.
  5. Pull the shackle away from the main part of the lock to open it. Once unlocked, the shackle rotates so you can easily put it through something to secure it.
  6. Push the shackle back into the lock when you want to relock it. Turn the dial a few times. Pull down on the lock to make sure it's secure.


Tips for Opening Locks

If you're a beginner, opening combination locks can seem intimidating. Practice on a lock that's not attached to anything to get the pattern of rotations. You need to stop on the exact line for each number, so turn the dial slowly to ensure you don't miss a number. Keep your combination in a secure location so you can have it for reference without compromising the security of the lock.


Lost Combination Tips

If you lose or forget your combination, you'll need the lock's serial number to retrieve it. Your combination can't be retrieved if you've changed your combination from the original. Take the lock with you, without anything attached to it, to a Master Lock distributor or retailer. They can contact Master Lock for you to retrieve the combination.


You can also fill out the Lost Combination Form, have it notarized and mail it to Master Lock. The company will send your combination in about four to six weeks.

A final option is to submit a request online using the "Contact Us" form on the Master Lock website. Choose the "Lost Combination" option from the dropdown. Include a photo of the combination lock with the serial number showing. The entire lock needs to appear in the picture, and it can't be attached to anything. You should get your combination in seven to 10 days with this method.