How to Open a Locked Door

Oct 30, 2023

Locksmith Monkey welcomes you to our comprehensive guide on how to open a locked door. Whether you've accidentally locked yourself out of your home or are dealing with a stubborn door lock, our expert techniques will help you gain access without any hassle. Read on to discover the step-by-step process and become a door-opening pro!

Understanding the Basics

Before we dive into the specifics of opening a locked door, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with some essential concepts. Understanding the different types of door locks and their mechanisms will provide you with a solid foundation for successful door opening.

The Types of Door Locks

There are several types of door locks commonly used in residential and commercial settings:

  • Pin Tumbler Locks: These locks are most commonly found in residential doors. They consist of numerous pins of varying lengths that must align correctly to open the lock.
  • Deadbolts: Deadbolts are sturdy locks that provide an additional layer of security. They typically require a key or thumbturn to operate.
  • Knob Locks: Knob locks are commonly used in residential interior doors. However, they are not recommended as the sole security measure for external doors.
  • Lever Handle Locks: Lever handle locks are often found in commercial settings. They feature a lever handle instead of a knob, making them easily operable.

Tools You'll Need

Before attempting to open a locked door, it's essential to gather the necessary tools. These tools may vary depending on the type of lock you're dealing with, but the basics include:

  • Tension Wrench: A tension wrench is used to apply torque to the lock cylinder.
  • Lock Pick Set: A lock pick set comprises various tools designed to manipulate the lock's pins or tumbler mechanism.
  • Wire Coat Hanger: A wire coat hanger can be fashioned into a makeshift lock pick in emergencies.
  • Automotive Wedges: Automotive wedges are useful when dealing with car lockouts, allowing you to create a small gap for accessing the door's interior.

The Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Insert the Tension Wrench

Begin by inserting the tension wrench into the bottom of the keyhole. The tension wrench should be applied in the direction you would turn the key to unlock the door.

Step 2: Apply Torque

While applying slight pressure with the tension wrench, insert the lock pick into the keyhole above the tension wrench. Gently scrub the lock pick against the pins or tumbler mechanism, searching for any binding or resistance.

Step 3: Find the Binding Pin

As you scrub the lock pick against the pins, pay attention to any pins that offer more resistance than the others. These binding pins are indicators that you're on the right track.

Step 4: Apply Pressure to the Binding Pin

Once you've identified the binding pin, apply slightly more pressure with the tension wrench to keep it in place. This pressure creates a gap between the pins and allows them to be manipulated individually.

Step 5: Manipulate the Remaining Pins

Working from the back of the lock to the front, use the lock pick to push each pin up gently. As you do this, maintain pressure on the tension wrench and listen for a faint clicking sound indicating that the pin has set.

Step 6: Repeat the Process

Continue manipulating the pins following the previous steps until all pins have set. The lock should then rotate freely, unlocking the door.

The Importance of Professional Assistance

While it's possible to open some locks with the techniques mentioned above, it's crucial to emphasize the importance of professional locksmith assistance.

A qualified locksmith possesses the necessary skills, experience, and equipment to handle various types of locks and ensure minimal damage to your door. Additionally, they can provide valuable advice on enhancing your overall security system.


Mastering the art of opening a locked door can be a valuable skill in certain situations. However, it's essential to practice responsible door-opening techniques and rely on professional locksmiths when needed. Remember to always prioritize your safety and the security of your property.

For expert locksmith services and guidance, visit Locksmith Monkey today. Our team of skilled professionals is readily available to assist you!

Mindy Roth
Great tips! This guide by Locksmith Monkey is a must-read for anyone dealing with locked doors!
Nov 7, 2023