How to Reset a Combination Padlock

A red suitcase with a combination padlock attached.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Reset tool
What You'll Need
Reset tool

Combination padlocks have become more prevalent over the years because they provide secure protection for everything from luggage to storage buildings. They come in a variety of sizes and styles and because they don’t involve the use of a key, they offer peace of mind with little hassle.

Choosing a lock type depends upon the level of security you're trying to achieve. In general, the more numbers or wheels on the padlock, the harder it is to crack the code, which affords more assurance that your property is kept safe.

When using a combo lock, it's crucial to remember the combination or store it in a safe place. If the lock comes with a preset code, making up a rhyme or acronym can help you remember it. If it can be reset and allows you to create your own combination, choose one that is significant to you somehow. This makes the combination much easier to remember.

Combination padlocks are popular because they don’t require a key to keep up with, however, if you forget the combination, it's important to know the options available to retrieve or reset it. Many manufacturing companies provide a secure website that stores combinations, so it's a good idea to register your code with the site in order to have a backup if you forget or lose it. If you haven’t done this and need help resetting or retrieving the combination, the following steps will help.

Step 1 – Check for a Serial Number

If the combo lock has a serial number on it, then it's likely that you can recover the combination from the manufacturer. Check with them through their website to begin the process, which usually requires that you send a notarized lost combination form to the company. They will retrieve the correct code and send it to you. This procedure typically takes four to six weeks.

Step 2 – Put the Padlock in the Open Position

If there is no serial number on the padlock, chances are it's able to be reset. Instead of coming with a preset code, these types of locks are designed to allow the owner to set a combination of their choice. Keep in mind that in order to reset a combination padlock, the lock needs to be in the open position. If it's locked, you will have to use bolt cutters to open the lock or call a locksmith.

Step 3 – Locate the Reset Tool

Most manufacturers include a reset tool packaged with their resettable locks. This tool is used to manually turn the wheels in the lock to a new combination.

Step 4 – Insert the Reset Tool

Insert the reset tool into the hole on the side of the lock. Push the reset tool in and turn 90 degrees in either direction.

Step 5 - Set Desired Combination

Arrange wheels to the combination of your choice.

Step 6 – Remove the Reset Tool

Turn and remove reset tool from lock. The new code should be set.

Step 7 – Record Combination in a Safe Place

Write down your new combination and store it in a secure place.

These instructions might vary slightly, depending on the manufacturer. It's a good idea to consult the instruction manual of a specific padlock if it's available. If you lose the combination while it is locked and are forced to break out the bolt cutters, you can find out how to repair a broken or cut combination padlock shackle and save the expense of replacing the entire lock.