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Reasons For Damage To The Standard Dial Combination Lock

  • If the standard dial combination lock is broken, the padlock is lost. But just because the padlock cannot be opened does not necessarily mean that the padlock is broken. There are many reasons why a padlock cannot be opened, and their solutions do not always require brute force theft strategies such as cutting, prying or drilling. In some cases, you will need a locksmith, but this information should allow you to do some work yourself.

    The most common reasons why a padlock cannot be opened include:

    Lock the keyway
    Stuck shackle
    Damaged actuator
    Freezing components
    The key does not turn
    Combination wheel stuck
    Components of a standard padlock

    There are many variations of padlocks, such as combination locks and U-shaped locks. Not even every padlock with a key uses a pin system. However, when you understand how the most basic locks work, it will give you a better understanding of when a non-standard padlock cannot be opened. This is not a complete overview of the history of padlocks, just a snapshot of their current form.

    Locks-U-shaped length of metal, wrapped around the hasp on doors, gates, etc. Cut the locking pawl at the bottom of the lock to prevent the lock from sliding out of the lock body.

    Locking claw-When the shackle is fully inserted, the cut at the end will catch on the locking claw. Once jammed, the locking pawl will need to be retracted so that the shackle can be pulled out of the lock body.

    Lock body-the shell of all internal components, the shackle is fixed on the locking pawl. There are usually three entry points, including the keyway of the plug, the shackle hole, and the drain hole (to let the water flow out).

    Actuator-located on the back of the plug, when the plug is rotated, the component will retract the locking claw.

    Pin chamber-In standard pin latches, the drive pin must be moved out of the plug into the respective pin chamber so that the plug can rotate.

    Plug-When you look at the keyhole of the padlock, you are looking at the plug. Insert the key into the plug and the plug will rotate to move the actuator and retract the locking pawl.

    Now that you understand the basic parts of a padlock, you will be able to better understand the internal processes interrupted by a damaged padlock. When the padlock cannot be opened, it is because there is a problem with the way these components interact. So, let us learn more about why your padlock cannot be opened and how to solve this problem.

    1. Lock the keyway
      The most common reason for a blocked keyhole of a padlock is that the key breaks in the lock. In addition to the key, people sometimes stuff foreign objects into the keyhole. If an object is forcibly inserted into the groove of the keyway, this may not be visually obvious, but you will notice that the key will not be inserted completely.

    If the keyway is filled with fragile materials, such as wood, dirt, foam, etc., you need to clean the lock to fully restore it. When the material decomposes, it takes extra time to remove all the debris. If you are in an emergency situation, you may not have time to remove the fragments from the lock and need to cut the lock.

    In the most severe case, anything in the keyway will move up from the plug to the upper pin chamber and cannot be cleaned. Not every padlock has a key. In fact, many bicycle locks and locker locks use combination wheels. These wheels may not move or get stuck, but we will discuss the stuck combination wheels later.


    Even if you do not remove the damaged key from the lock, you will still experience the same type of remedial measures. You need an object that is long and slender enough to slide next to the blockage and use it as you pull it out. Your tool must be strong enough not to break and cause more debris to clog the keyway.

    1. Jammed shackle
      If the padlock cannot be opened because the chain is stuck, the key should still be turned in the lock. This is not always a full circle, but the cylinder in the padlock should be at least partially rotated. If the cylinder can rotate continuously without encountering resistance, there may be other problems with the lock (this may be a sign of damage to the actuator).

    As the shackle hole is blocked or the parts are damaged, the shackle will be jammed and the locking pawl cannot be retracted. The locking pawl may not be completely disengaged, or it may be disengaged but the shackle is restrained by other objects. You may have encountered a door lock that is stuck in this way before, and the bolt cannot be retracted at this time.

    Shackles may get stuck due to rust, but we will discuss this in more detail in another section. In this case, the padlock will not be opened due to other forms of blockage. This could be dirt, metal shavings from grinding parts, etc. There is too much material in the lock now that does not allow the parts to move correctly or slide past each other.


    When the padlock cannot be opened because the chain is stuck, you will have to focus on clearing the unrusted blockage. Graphite lubricant is recommended because it is a dry lubricant, unlike oil-based lubricants of popular brands such as WD-40. Over time, oil-based lubricants will collect particulates, allowing you to return to this situation immediately.

    1. Damaged actuator
      A reliable sign of actuator damage is the constant turning of the key in the lock. Or, when the padlock cannot be opened due to damage to the actuator, the key may turn correctly without resistance, but it will stop at the appropriate rotation point. The signs of a broken padlock will depend on what is broken.

    Regardless of the damage, the fundamental problem is that there is no longer a connection between the keyway and the device that releases the shackle. The shackle is held in place by two locking pawls, which will retract when the key turns and affects the actuator. If any part of the process fails, the handcuffs cannot be released and the padlock cannot be opened.

     If the locking pawl is spring-loaded and can move freely, the problem may be similar to how to fix a stuck door latch. In the case of a high-security padlock, the locking pawl acts more like a lock tongue, requiring an actuator to open the lock. You can interact with the actuator through the keyway contact tool, but this is not always possible.

    The solution of brass padlock for sale:

    When the padlock cannot be opened due to damage to the actuator, it means that the key slot is useless for opening the lock. To remove a damaged padlock with a problematic actuator, you will most likely have to cut the lock open. If you have a particularly low-security lock, you can choose to fill the lock or bypass the actuator, but it will be easier to cut.