What to Do if You Forget the Combination to Your Safe

Do you own a safe?

When you set your combination, did you pick numbers you knew you would always remember?

Have you ever forgotten the combination?

Many households have at least one safe because they are an important security tool. Picking and remembering the combination seems natural; however, sometimes things happen, and the combination is forgotten.

Whether someone passed away, a combination fails, or you simply forgot the combination, these tips and tricks can help.

Know Your Safe

Even before needing to get into your safe, it is important to know what kind of safe you have. While they may seem relatively straightforward, there are many different brands of safes that come in all different shapes and sizes. Some people use safes to protect their guns while others want to protect documents or jewelry.

If you are unable to open your safe, the first step to getting in is knowing what safe you have so that you can make a game plan for getting into your safe without damaging what is inside. Depending on the safe, you will either reset the code, recover the code, or unlock the safe with a physical key.

The information you need to know is the serial number and the purchase information, if available. On some safes, the serial number is located on the sides of the safe, on the back, or on the bottom. Some safes do not have their serial numbers listed on the outside of the safe, for security purposes, so having the serial number written down is a good idea.

Read Your Owner’s Manual

After knowing what kind of safe you have, it’s time to read your owner’s manual. Ideally, your owner’s manual will be stored in a safe spot, outside of your safe. If this is not the case, don’t panic, most owner’s manuals can be found online through any search engine.

Once you have located your owner's manual, read through it to determine whether your safe has an override in place. If you can't find an override, don't worry, many safe manufacturers do not offer an override for your protection.

If your safe does have an override, the two possibilities are either a Key Override or a Change Key. Here’s more about them:

Key Override

Key overrides do come in handy in situations like this because they allow you access to your safe through an alternative method. This process is similar to a spare key and is the easiest way for you to gain access to your safe.

Many people don’t realize they have a key override because not all safes advertise the fact that they have one, for safety reasons. If you don’t have a key override, don’t panic, there are still other ways to get into your safe. The next option to try is a change key.

Change Key

While this also does not work for all safes, this is an option to try. A change key will allow you to modify the combination on your keypad to get access.

Most of the time, you will insert a change key into a small hole in the back of the safe, and once pushed, will allow you to change your safe combination. If you have a change key hole in the back of your safe, it will require you to use a particular key to make it work. There are many different keys, but if your safe has a key, it will explain in the owner's manual.

If you have exhausted these methods and still can’t get into your safe, you still don’t need to worry, but now is the time to call a locksmith.

Call a Locksmith

Locksmiths will be able to help you gain access to your safe and often offer emergency services if needed.

It is important to make sure the locksmith company you call has experience dealing with safes to ensure your safe and valuables are taken care of, and not messed up in the process.

When a locksmith arrives, they will assess the situation and advise you on what steps need to be taken to allow you access to your safe. It is important for you to give them as much information as you know about your safe, to help them make the best decision on entry into your safe.

There are two common ways a locksmith will be able to get into your safe. They will either be able to get in through safe manipulation or forced entry. Here is more about each of those:

Safe Manipulation

Safe manipulation works best on safes with combination dials and is an intricate process. It is also an ideal option because it will not harm the lock, the safe, or any of your items.

If this method is an option, the locksmith will use tools to manually move the wheel pack and spindle of the safe dial. Hopefully, this option is successful, and you will not need anything further. If this method does not work, the final option is for a locksmith to use forced entry.

Forced Entry

Forced entry is the last resort because it means that your safe will be damaged and you will need to purchase a new one. Thankfully, this option is truly a last resort and many times unnecessary for a locksmith, but there are times when it is needed, and a locksmith will know how to do it safely.

Most of the time, forced entry is needed when the safe is inaccessible because of damage to the safe, either internally or externally.

There are several methods of forced entry, and your locksmith will be able to choose which one will work best for your safe; however, no matter which method they use, you will need to replace the safe or the lock afterward.


While no one wants to deal with the stress and hassle of forgetting the combination to their safe, several options can help you get back into your safe if it does happen. Reading your owner's manual and making a plan in case you, or someone you trust, needs to access your safe without the combination is the best way to keep your valuables safe.

Your best bet will be to keep your favourite Toronto safe supplier, Pro Locksmiths, at the top of your mind and reach out to us.


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