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When Do l Need a Locksmith to Open a Safe?

2018 Gallup poll found that only one out of three Americans had confidence in the banking system.

It’s no wonder the vault and safe industry is expected to exceed $6.1 billion by 2024. More Americans are storing money and valuable assets in their safes.

Unfortunately, even the most expensive safe can malfunction either on its own or because of the user. While movies might make safe-picking look easy, you will almost always need a professional locksmith to safely open it.

So when should you contact a locksmith to open a safe?

In this article we’ll cover that question and many more — let’s get started.

Why Not Store Valuables In a Safety Deposit Box?

If safes can malfunction, then a safety deposit box seems like a good alternative. In some cases, a safety deposit box may be more appropriate than a personal safe.

However, it’s important to remember that safety deposit boxes are susceptible to fire, theft, flood or other potential damage. On the other hand, many safes can stand the test of both fire and flood.

You may think that banks insure the items in a safety deposit box — in some cases they do. Unfortunately, more often than not the items inside a safety deposit boxes aren’t covered by insurance.

You should especially avoid storing money in a safety deposit box. You can learn more by following this link here.

What Types of Things Should You Store In a Safe?

Safes can be used to store anything of value to you, but we recommend keeping important, irreplaceable in your best safe.

Things like insurance documents, passports, bank statements, medical information, hard drives, jewelry, safety deposit keys, and emergency fund cash are popular safe objects.

Another common thing safes and vaults are used for is gun storage. However, these types of products usually come specifically designed to fit and hold guns.

However, if you’re going to keep these things safe, then you need to make sure it’s a quality safe that can withstand thieves, fire, and floods.

We also recommend installing security measures to protect your safe from theft. The right type of security camera can catch culprits who stole or tampered with your safe.

The best way to avoid a defective safe is by purchasing from a quality brand you can trust. Here are some good selections for small home or office safes.

What Are the Different Types of Safe Locks?

There are a variety of different safe locks that require different methods and skill sets to access. It’s important to know which one you have before contacting a locksmith. We broke them into five different categories.

Safe Locks That Open With Keys

Safes that use keys are often the most affordable options but they do come with two serious entry threats. The first threat is where you store the key.

More often than not safe owners will make the mistake of keeping the key in the same area as the safe itself.

However, even if you store the key in a safe location, a skilled thief can still pick the kay safe open with simple locksmithing tools. As such, you should only store replaceable items in key safes.

Safe Locks That Open With Mechanical Combinations

Mechanical locks rely on unique non-electrical password combinations to gain access. They are more secure than safes that open with keys.

The mechanical lock eliminates the problem of key placement, which automatically makes it more difficult to break into.

However, make sure you don’t write down the safe combination and keep it near the safe. This will re-introduce the key problem.

Safe Locks That Open With Electrical Combinations

Electrical combinations rely on numbered keypads for entering preset codes. It removes the key placement problem and offers more possible combinations than the mechanical dial safe locks.

Unfortunately, it’s not perfect. You still must memorize the password and not keep any physical evidence. Electrical safes can also malfunction due to faulty wiring.

Safe Locks That Open With Biometric Tech

Biometric tech offers all the features of an electrical combination with some cool fail-safe features.

For example, if you forget your password, then you can use a fingerprint or eye scanner for gaining entrance. Because these biological signatures are unique you don’t need to worry about anyone copying it.

Safe Locks That Open On a Time Delay

Some safes come with special time-delay locks. Once set these types of safe can’t be opened until a preset date. These tend to be reserved for high security or bank vaults.

Why Is My Safe Not Opening?

Now that you know what type of safe lock you have, it’s time to figure out why it won’t open. You can wait until the locksmith gets there to identify the problem, but if you can figure it out yourself then you will save some time.

1) You Forgot the Combination

This explanation is one of the more common reasons for needing a safe opened. However, it’s important to wait a little bit before hiring a locksmith.

A safe-opening job more harm the safe, so it’s important to try every available non-invasive method first.

First, try and remember the password naturally. Taking walks or a hot shower can help jog your memory. If you still can’t remember, then check with other people who may have access to changing the password.

They may have accidentally changed it. If the password combination for the safe hasn’t changed, then you may be able to get it through the manufacturer.

Call the safe company support number and give them the safe’s serial number. If this method doesn’t work, then you will need to call a locksmith to help you get into the safe.

2) Combination Isn’t Working On the Safe

What if you know your combination by heart, but it’s still not working?

Well assuming someone hasn’t changed it, there is likely an internal problem with the safe. Most likely the issue comes down to the faulty lever or hinges.

If there’s visible rust on these parts of the safe, then you may succeed in opening it by greasing the trouble areas.

However, to open it you will likely need to pry it open. This force can ruin the safe for future use. A professional locksmith can usually get in and fix the problem.

3) Loose or Stiff Combination Rattle

If you find that you can’t move the combination dial on your safe, or that it gets stuck on certain numbers, you should not try and mess with it yourself.

This symptom can be an indication of a serious problem with the safe which you could make things worse.

Instead, contact the manufacturer. If you bought the safe recently, then some safe companies will cover it by sending an employee out to open and fix the safe.

However, if you find that your warranty expired or the company won’t fix the problem, then you will need to call a professional locksmith.

4) Dead Electric Safe Batteries

Sometimes the problem with electric safes can be something as simple as dead batteries.

If you put cheap brands in your safe, then it’s much more likely to die early. Make sure that the keypad is lighting up and reacting before you call a locksmith.

5) Potential Lockout Mode

Some electric safes also come with a lockout mode. If you enter the wrong combination several times, then the safe will automatically lock you for a while.

If this problem happens, then wait a little while before trying your password again. It may be a simple lockout mode problem.

6) Damaged Wiring

Damaged wire is a more serious problem that can occur with electric safes. Unless you have experience rewiring cut or torn circuits, then you should leave this work to the experts.

It requires either an electrician or a locksmith with an electric lock experience. You can check the wiring on your safe by removing the keypad and checking all the wiring connections.

7) Safe Bolts Are Stuck

Safe bolts can become misaligned when owners apply excessive force to them. However, it can also occur during transportation or a break-in.

Regardless of how it happens, you will need to call a locksmith if you find the locking mechanism isn’t fully rotating.

How Do Locksmiths Open a Safe?

There are three main ways a locksmith will get into a safe. They include:


A method that involves drilling a small hole into an opening in the safe. This method is the preferred method for a lot of locksmiths because it is quick and you can make the safe usable again with some minor repairs.

However, more advanced safe models come with anti-drilling security measures that make this method useless.


If the safe does feature a more advanced security system — like glass relocking tech or pick-proof locks — then a scoping method can help identify the best plan of action.

This method involves drilling and inserting a small camera so you can observe any security features on the inside of the lock.


Most professionals will avoid cutting a safe unless they have to. Unlike the other two methods, this one takes a lot of time, effort and manpower.

You will need to destroy the safe using either a series of saws or a blow torch. The procedure will be messy and loud. If you can find a different way to open you safe, then you should take it.

How Long Does It Take to Open a Safe?

It’s hard to tell how long it will take a locksmith to open a safe. Any locksmith that gives you a time is just giving you an estimate.

In our opinion, we think a realistic time frame is 15 minutes if the job goes perfectly and 5+ hours if it goes awfully. If you give the locksmith company more information over then the process can go a little quicker

Will the Locksmith Make Me Prove I Own the Safe?

Most locksmiths will go through a standard procedure to make sure you didn’t steal the safe. If the locksmith does suspect you of stealing the safe, then they may not open it for you and call the place.

However, most of the time a locksmith relies on their intuition of a situation. If you seem trustworthy and honest, then there shouldn’t be a problem.

Still, it helps if you have a receipt or proof of ownership for the safe. If you don’t have these certificates, then the locksmith may question you about the contents of the safe.

How Much Will It Cost to Open a Safe?

Any locksmith that gives you a fixed price on the phone probably shouldn’t be trusted. The truth is that every job is different and requires a unique price.

Some of the factors that influence the price include the distance the locksmith needs to drive, how long the job takes and the specific service rendered.

A job that requires an hour’s worth of driving and 2 hours worth of sawing will cost a lot more than a nearby 5-minute car lockout. Safe jobs can range on the long side so they do tend to cost more than the average job.

However, you can’t confirm that until you get a technician to come out and give you a price estimate. If you want more info on the factors that affect the price of a locksmith job, then you can find it here.

If You Need Help Getting Into Your Safe, Then Call Dallas FW Locksmith

If you call any old locksmith company, then you will likely get an untrained employee who will take a long time and break your safe.

Almost all safe jobs require a professional locksmith, and you won’t find a more qualified company than Dallas FW Locksmith.

However, we offer more than just safe-opening jobs. We offer commercial servicesresidential services, and emergency services.

Whether you need a business re-keyed, or some help getting in your home, we have your back.

If you have any locksmithing needs in the Dallas, Fort Worth, or the surrounding area, then make sure you contact Dallas FW Locksmith. You can request a locksmith by following this link here.

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