How to Break a Cylinder Lock

A cylinder lock is one of the most common types of locks used on doors, cabinets, and other areas where security is needed. In some cases, you may need to break a cylinder lock to gain access to something that is locked. Therefore, it’s important to know how to break a cylinder lock so that you don’t damage the items or the lock itself.

How to Break a Cylinder Lock

Can You Break a Cylinder Lock?

For most modern locks, it is possible to break the internal components of a cylinder lock with relative ease. However, it may take some finesse and skill to do so without damaging the actual lock itself so that it can still be used afterward.

Fortunately, many people now have access to lock picking sets and other specialized tools that make breaking cylinder locks much simpler than was once thought possible.

With a bit of practice and knowledge, anyone can eventually master the art of lock picking, allowing them to quickly break open almost any cylinder lock with relative ease.

Why Should You Break a Cylinder Lock?

Breaking a cylinder lock has many advantages. Being able to access locked items provides convenience and peace of mind. It is also much easier than calling a locksmith or waiting for the police to arrive.

Additionally, breaking a cylinder lock can be done quickly and securely, leaving little evidence behind that someone tried to access the item inside the lock.

Not only that but doing it yourself saves money, as calling in expert help can be expensive. All these benefits make it easy to see why breaking a cylinder lock might be necessary in some cases!

7 Steps to Follow on How to Break a Cylinder Lock

Step 1: Identify the Lock Type

First off, it’s important to understand what type of lock you are dealing with. There are two main types of cylinder locks – double-sided and single-sided. Single-sided locks have been around for a while and are generally less secure than double-sided ones.

Double-sided locks have more pins inside them, making them extremely difficult to pick or even break open without the correct tools or knowledge.

Step 2: Have the Right Tools Ready

For breaking a cylinder lock, you don’t need too many tools. However, you will need an Allen wrench, a flathead screwdriver, and some lubricant oil. It’s also helpful to have a pair of pliers or bolt cutters handy as well.

You Will Need an Allen Wrench

Step 3: Lubricate the Lock

Using the lubricant oil, apply it generously to the keyhole. This will help reduce any resistance you might face when trying to open the lock. Give the oil some time to penetrate into the pins and tumblers of the lock before attempting to pick it.

Step 4: Insert the Allen Wrench

Once the lock is lubricated, it’s time to start picking. Take your Allen wrench and insert it into the keyhole. Push the wrench in as far as you can without using too much force, then slowly start pulling it out again. You should feel some resistance when doing this as the pins and tumblers try to pass by the Allen wrench.

Step 5: Insert the Flathead Screwdriver

Once you have pulled out the Allen wrench, take your flathead screwdriver and insert it into the keyhole with a bit of pressure. Remember to move slowly and steadily. Keep pushing in until you feel a slight click – this is where the pin has been pushed out of the lock.

Step 6: Repeat the Process

Repeat steps four and five until all of the pins have been pushed out. It’s important to keep repeating this process for each pin, as one pin might be harder than the other. Once all of the pins are out, you should be able to open the lock without much effort.

Step 7: Test the Lock

Once the lock has been opened, it’s important to test how well your technique worked. First, try turning the key inside the lock, as this will show how strong the pins are once they have been pushed out. If you find that it turns easily, then you were successful in breaking open the cylinder lock!

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to break a cylinder lock. With the right tools and knowledge, you can quickly and easily access any locked area. Good luck!

Troubleshooting Tips

1. Make Sure that Your Tools Are in Good Condition:

If you’re having trouble picking the lock, make sure that your tools are in good condition. Worn or damaged tools won’t work properly and can even damage the pins inside the lock.

2. Try Different Angles:

If the pins aren’t budging, try using different angles when inserting your Allen wrench or flathead screwdriver. This will help you get a better grip on the pins and make them easier to push out.

3. Use Slippery Supplements:

You can use slippery supplements to make the process of breaking a cylinder lock easier. These include graphite powder, WD-40 lubricant, and even Vaseline.

4. Use Leverage:

If all else fails, you can try to use leverage to break open the lock. Simply insert a flathead screwdriver and use it as a lever to open the lock. This should only be used as a last resort, however, since it can damage the pins inside the lock.

5. Call a Locksmith:

If you find yourself in over your head, don’t hesitate to call a professional locksmith. They have the tools and experience to quickly and safely open a cylinder lock.

By taking these steps, you can easily break any cylinder lock without too much effort. Just remember to use the right tools, be patient, and keep trying until you succeed! Good luck.

Things You Need to Know Before Break a Cylinder Lock

Breaking a cylinder lock can be an intimidating experience for many, especially if you don’t know what to do. There are several different methods for breaking a cylinder lock, each of which requires its own set of specialized tools and skills.

If you plan on attempting to break a cylinder lock yourself, you must first research the type of lock you have and become familiar with common tools and techniques. For example, many cylinder locks have pins that must be manipulated and jiggled to release the mechanism, while others require special picks that can force the locking mechanism open.

You should also consider purchasing special protective gear, such as gloves or glasses, before breaking the lock to avoid any potential injuries. Finally, if all else fails, it’s usually the safest, simplest, and quickest solution to call a professional locksmith who can access the lock without damaging surrounding property or areas.

Benefits of Break a Cylinder Lock

Cylinder locks are the most commonly used security measure found everywhere, from the doors of homes and offices to bicycle chains in public parks.

Offices to Bicycle Chains in Public Parks

While they offer a great deal of protection for your property, a cylinder lock is virtually impossible to get past without the key. Fortunately, there are ways to break a cylinder lock, allowing you access in an emergency situation.

Many people appreciate the ability to unlock their doors without destroying their locks, as it means no costly replacement fees or complicated repairs.

Another benefit of breaking a cylinder lock is that it eliminates the need for locksmith services – which can be time-consuming and uncomfortable given the likelihood that someone had locked themselves out accidentally.

With a basic knowledge and the right tools, anyone can safely and effectively crack even the most stubborn locks with relative ease.

6 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Break a Cylinder Lock

1. Not Inserting the Pick Correctly

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to pick a lock is not inserting the pick correctly. The pick should be inserted into the keyway at a 90-degree angle to ensure that it properly engages the pins.

2. Not Using Enough Pressure

Another common mistake is not using enough pressure when picking the lock. The pins in a cylinder lock are designed to bind when pressure is applied, so it is important to use enough pressure to ensure that the pins are binding properly.

When Picking the Lock

3. Applying Too Much Pressure

On the other hand, applying too much pressure can also be a mistake. If too much pressure is applied, the pins can become jammed and difficult to move. This can make it difficult to continue picking the lock and may even damage the mechanism.

4. Not Manipulating the Pins Properly

In order to pick a lock, it is necessary to manipulate the pins to align them with the shear line. This can be done by applying pressure with the pick and then gently twisting it back and forth. If the pins are not manipulated properly, they will not align with the shear line, and the lock will not open.

5. Not Using the Right Tools

Another common mistake people make when trying to pick a lock is not using the right tools. In order to pick a cylinder lock, it is necessary to use a tension wrench and a pick that are both specifically designed for that type of lock. Using other tools, such as a paperclip or hairpin, will likely not work and may even damage the lock.

Use a Tension Wrench

6. Giving Up Too Soon

Finally, one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to pick a lock is giving up too soon. Picking locks takes time and patience, and it is often necessary to try several different techniques before finding one that works. If you give up too soon, you may never be able to open the lock.

If you take the time to understand how a cylinder lock works and how to pick it correctly, you should have no trouble breaking one in an emergency. However, if you are unsure of how to proceed or feel that the task is too difficult for you, remember that help is available from professionals specializing in locksmith services.

Is It Legal to Break a Cylinder Lock?

When it comes to cylinder locks, it is important to remember that the legality of breaking them will depend on certain factors. In certain situations, such as if you are locked out of your own property, as long as you have taken reasonable steps to try and gain access without success, it can potentially be legal.

However, if you are locked outside of someone else’s property and do not have their permission to break the lock and gain entry, then under most circumstances, you could be accused of criminal damage or even burglary. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check local laws before attempting any kind of lock-breaking measure.

Is There Danger in Breaking Open a Cylinder Lock?

Cylinder locks are commonly used in homes and businesses to keep intruders out, but some people attempt to break them open with dangerous tools.

Cylinder Locks Are Commonly Used in Homes

The risk associated with this type of security breach is real; not only could you damage the lock beyond repair, but there is a chance of physical injury when using a hammer or pry bar to try and open the lock.

Additionally, depending on how the cylinder lock has been installed, if it is struck too hard, you could cause irreparable damage to walls or doors that may cost far more to repair than if you had simply consulted a professional locksmith in the first place.

Therefore, if you need access to a locked door for any reason, instead of attempting to do it yourself, it’s usually just better (and safer) to hire an experienced professional.

Frequently Asked Question

Q: How long does it take to break a cylinder lock?

A: This will depend on which method you use. Generally speaking, breaking a cylinder lock using force can take a few seconds to several minutes or even longer. If you can pick the lock, it may only take a few seconds for an experienced locksmith. It may take several minutes or longer if you need to drill it open.

Q: Do combination locks offer better security than regular locks in cylinder locks?

A: Combination locks offer added security compared to a regular key cylinder lock. A combination lock requires the user to input several digits to unlock it, making it much more difficult for an intruder to gain access.

Q: Are there other methods for unlocking cylinders in addition to picking and cutting them open manually?

A: Yes, locksmiths use several other methods to open cylinder locks. One method is to use a bump key that allows the lock to be manipulated so that it can be opened with minimal effort and minor damage.

Another method is decoding, where a locksmith uses special tools to determine the code of a combination lock.

Finally, a locksmith may be able to open the lock with specialized tools such as a drill or an airbag that applies pressure to the inside of the lock cylinder. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s best to contact a professional locksmith if you need help opening a cylinder lock.


Breaking into cylinder locks isn’t something anyone wants to do, but sometimes it’s necessary to gain access when all else fails! While there are many possible ways of breaking into these types of locks depending on their design and size, knowing how each method works will help ensure that no damage occurs during your attempts at gaining entry!

As always, safety should be your number one priority, so please take all precautions before attempting any type of forceful entry on any kind of locking system!

With this guide in hand, however, there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t feel confident enough about breaking into their own cylindrical locks safely and effectively! Good luck! Thanks for reading our post about how to break a cylinder lock.

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