To open a standard Group 2 or Group II Combination lock with a dial.
Most of these locks use the same procedure and are the most common type used on quality
Turn the dial at least 4 times to the left and then stop at the first number. (Clockwise
or so the numbers are ascending)
Turn the dial in the opposite direction 3 times to the second number and stop.
Turn the dial left again 2 times to the third number and stop.
Turn the dial SLOWLY to the right. As you are turning the dial, you will feel the
lock engage with a little resistance, continue turning the dial until it stops.
Your combination lock should be unlocked
A quick Summary:
4 Times Left Stopping at the first number
3 Times Right Stopping at the second number
2 Times Left Stopping at the third number
Turn the dial Slowly Right until it Stops
Opening a Safe Lock with a Dial Combination
Many models of New England Safes are still sold with dial combination style locks
that have been used reliably on safes for years.
Knowing how to properly dial in the combination of numbers to open a safe is
as important as knowing the numbers.
If you are trying to open a New England Safe with a dial combination, It is probably
a Group 2 or Group II type lock.
There are many different types of locks that have been made over the years so
other brands, older safes or "Economy" or "High Security" safes, may use a different
This is the Opening Index
The Numbers Increase
The Numbers Decrease
When dialing a combination it is important to dial slowly and accurately.
If you go past the exact number, you must start over.
WARNING: A safe lock will wear out quicker or fail prematurely if it is abused.
Do not spin the dial hard or with abrupt motions, be gentle. Dialing too quickly
might cause errors. If the numbers seem blurred, you are turning the dial too fast.
Troubleshooting A Safe That does not openAfter making sure you have the correct
The first thing to do is check the handle and door. The handle should wiggle
a little and the door should have a small amount of play so that it can be moved
in and out slightly. Anything that might seem too snug might be a cause of "Back
pressure" and even if the lock is ready to unlock, parts that would need to move
freely inside the door cannot move because they are being held by what we will call
"Back pressure". Try pushing in on the door while wiggling the handle or putting
more pressure on the handle in the direction it normally locks or moving the handle
so it seems to be in a more neutral position that is no longer putting "Back pressure"
on the lock bolt could help.
Next we can try to determine if it is the lock actually malfunctioning. An indication
of a lock malfunctioning could be that after the combination is dialed correctly,
the dial stops, but it does not stop at the usual number and the safe is not opening.
This can also be the result of "Back pressure" and could be other things as well.
Try moving the handle while turning the dial at the same time. When wiggling the
handle does not free up the dial to allow turning it to the opening number and unlocking
the safe, you should stop and call a skilled safe technician because there are other
WARNING: Do not turn the dial with excessive torque or use pliers. You will almost
certainly break something and create a more serious problem.
When the combination is dialed and the lock does not stop on the last turn as
it should, there can be many reasons. Basically, the parts inside the lock are most
likely not aligning correctly to engage the mechanism that pulls the bolt in and
unlocks the lock.
Move the handle before you dial. After dialing the third number, as you are turning
the dial toward the last or opening number, turn the dial very slowly while you wiggle
the handle back and forth briskly. The vibration might help to engage the mechanisms.
Stop turning the dial briefly at the number 7 and give a few extra wiggles to the
handle before you continue to turn the dial further.
Try adding a number to each number in the combination, then try subtracting a
number, then try adding or subtracting 2 numbers. Try adding a number to only one
number at a time or in different variations of the numbers plus and minus 1 or 2
numbers. Wiggling the handle as described in the previous paragraph while dialing
these different combinations can help.
If the dial stops as it should and the safe is still not opening, stop there
and contact a skilled safe technician.
When the lock seems unlocked and the handle moves only slightly more than before
the lock was unlocked, yet it is still not enough to open the door, this may be indicating
that the lock is working correctly and that the problem is more likely caused from
the bolt works inside the door malfunctioning.
Best advice for this problem is to have a skilled safe technician provide service.
About the Simple or Obvious
Step away from the safe for a few moments and think about any obvious reasons
for the lock not unlocking or the door not opening.
Could the numbers have been changed and perhaps that information was not forwarded
to you ?
Do you have the right combination and are you dialing it correctly ?
We have seen this can be the cause of a problem often enough that it is worth
If you are part of a management team, verify that no changes were made and that
you are using the correct steps with someone else.
Has the safe been progressively getting harder to open ?
This was a good indication that eventually failure was inevitable. Contacting
an expert safe technician for emergency services instead of routine service is often
costlier. Open safes are always easier to service.
On a combination lock with a dial, the dial ring which is mounted against the
door beneath the dial and has the line marked at the top should not be loose, if
it is loose, it could have moved enough that your combination numbers no longer align
the wheels inside properly. You might be able to adjust it back to the proper position
or you can try adjusting the combination numbers by plus or minus 1 or 2 numbers
as suggested in an earlier paragraph. A loose dial ring will still need a skilled
safe technician to repair.
The above are only a few common issues to troubleshoot for and should you get
the safe open, consider contacting a safe tech before you close or lock the door.
Open safes are much easier to service
Skilled safe technicians usually have many methods they might try to get your
safe open before having to resort to drilling.
When a professional safe technician does have to drill, the drilling does not
usually destroy the entire safe. Often with replacement of a malfunctioning lock
and plugging the hole, repairs can usually put a worthy safe back in service.