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How to Break a Door Lock with a Hammer and Screwdriver

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

How to Break a Door Lock with a Hammer and Screwdriver – Step by Step Guide


Before attempting to break a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver, it is essential to make sure you are prepared. This means gathering all the necessary tools such as a hammer, a screwdriver, and something to protect your hand from the impact of the hammer. It is also important to plan out your approach so that you are ready to take action when the time comes.

Gather the necessary materials

To break a door lock with nothing but a hammer and screwdriver, you’ll need several supplies. The most important are the hammer and screwdriver, of course; make sure to use a long-handled claw hammer for more control and leverage. You will also need a piece of scrap wood about 2 inches wide that you can use to provide additional leverage with the screwdriver against the rod inside the door. Additionally, acquire safety glasses or other protective eyewear to prevent metal chips from splintering off into your eyes during the process. Finally, secure some old rags or newspapers to cover the floor where you will be working so that any pieces of metal don’t skitter across the room while you work.

Put on protective gear

Before beginning this procedure it is important to put on some personal protective gear. You should wear thick, durable gloves and safety goggles. This is also a very noisy procedure, so hearing protection would be a good idea as well. When breaking a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver, pieces of metal can fly off in all directions, so make sure to protect your eyes, ears and hands from injury.

Understand the Lock

Breaking a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver requires some knowledge of the lock itself. Most keyed locks have springs and tumblers inside of the cylinder. The springs put pressure on the tumblers, and the key is used to properly align them. Knowing how the lock works is essential in understanding how to break it.

Identify the type of lock

Before attempting to break open a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver, it is important to identify the type of lock you are dealing with. There are three main types of locks: cylindrical locks, mortise locks, and deadbolts. All three can be opened without destroying the lock completely if you have the right tools and knowledge.

Cylindrical locks are most common in residential buildings and feature keyhole on both sides of the door. Mortise locks are made for commercial or industrial use, and feature a round or oval keyhole in the center of the door near its edge. Deadbolts require more effort to open because they latch in an area that requires more torque than either a cylindrical or a mortise lock would need.

After identifying the type of lock you’re dealing with, you should also identify any possible weaknesses that might exist in your particular model – such as worn springs or weak pins – which will make it easier to use a hammer and screwdriver to force it open. You should never attempt to break open any type of lock that has not been tested for safety by experts – this could cause irreparable damage or even electrocution!

Identify the location of the pins and tumblers

Locks are an integral part of home security and serve as a barrier between you and potential threats. In order to successfully open the lock without a key, the pins and tumblers must be identified in order to properly manipulate them.

Pins and tumblers are located inside the cylinder of a lock, which houses all the internal components of the lock. Visually inspect your specific lock for 3-5 small metal pins centered around a cam or plug (the part that rotates when you insert a key). These identical pins are arranged differently in each brand of locks and range from 1 to 3+ rows depending on the complexity of the lock.

The pins consist of two different types: driver pins (top) and key pins (bottom), aptly named because they look like stacks composed of both parts. In homes, pin tumblers are generally used because they’re easier to pick than other lock systems. The bottom section acts as both a spring and restricts movement, while the top section is pushed up by your flat head screwdriver-or whatever tool that you’re using-to get them out of place which is necessary for them becoming unlocked. By lifting each pin in succession, you can eventually open even heavily secured locks without even needing keys!

Insert the Screwdriver

Breaking open a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver is a fairly simple process. To get started, you’ll need to insert a flat head screwdriver into the hole in the door knob. The size of the screwdriver does not necessarily matter, but you should use the largest one that will fit in the lock. Make sure that the flat side of the screwdriver is facing you, and that it is at a 90 degree angle to the door knob. When the screwdriver is in place, you can begin to carefully twist and turn it until it disengages the lock.

Position the screwdriver in the keyhole

In order to break a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver, first position the tip of the flat head screwdriver in the keyhole. Be sure to fit it inside firmly and make sure that it is completely straight so it will be easier to use once you start hammering on it. Take your time when doing this for the best results. Once in place, use the hammer to pound on the handle of the screwdriver with considerable force. Keep pounding until you can feel that the pins inside have been dislodged from their grooves, and then move on to jiggling the handle while keeping a strong downward pressure on the screwdriver itself. You may need to continue tapping with your hammer as you try to unlock the door; do not give up if you don’t hear a click right away!

Apply pressure to the screwdriver

Once you have identified the latch on the lock, you are ready to insert the screwdriver. To insert the screwdriver, line it up with the latch and then apply pressure. If you have the correct size of screwdriver, it should fit snugly against each side of the latch and move easily as you move your hand up and down. If you don’t have the right size of screwdriver, use some padding around it to ensure that it fits correctly into the latch. Once it is firmly inserted, use a hammer to hit the head of the screwdriver repeatedly in order to loosen or break off the latch. Make sure that your aim is true, so that you do not damage any other components of your door lock. After several forceful taps with a hammer, your door should be unlocked and you can try turning your handle to gain entry into your house or apartment.

Strike the Screwdriver with the Hammer

Breaking a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver is a relatively simple task that can be done with the right materials and a bit of knowledge. To begin, you will need to locate the screws that hold the lock in place. Once the screws have been removed, you will need to take the screwdriver and strike it with the hammer in the direction of the cylinder of the lock. This will cause it to break, allowing you to open the door.

Strike the screwdriver with the hammer

Striking the screwdriver with a hammer uses force to break the internal pins of the lock and open the door. Place the tip of a flathead screwdriver into the keyhole of a door lock. The type of screwdriver used should be narrow enough to fit inside the keyhole to make contact with component parts within. Firmly hold onto the handle of the screwdriver and then strike it firmly with a hammer. The impact will cause shockwaves to travel through the entire locking mechanism, allowing you to turn it open or breaking it apart. This method can be used for locks of all types, such as combination locks, deadbolts and knob locks. Depending on how sturdy your outmoded lock is and how strong you hit it, this method may take multiple attempts before it works.

Apply pressure to the screwdriver

Once you have identified the point on the door lock where the screwdriver needs to be inserted, you can begin to strike it with the hammer. The force of the hammer will apply pressure to the screwdriver and should eventually push it into unlock position. It’s important that you strike the screwdriver head in a downward direction, as this will ensure that greater pressure is applied to unlock mechanism. Be sure to use force consistent with your strength and don’t swing too hard. If too much force is used, it could damage both screwdriver head and door lock. Aim to hit in such a way that pressure gradually is getting closer and closer to unlocking position until it ultimately clicks open.

Remove the Lock

Breaking a door lock with a hammer and screwdriver is not a difficult task, as long as you are careful and precise. First, you will need to remove the lock from the door. This can be done using a hammer and screwdriver. Start by inserting the screwdriver into the lock, and then use the hammer to strike the screwdriver. This should break the pins inside the lock, allowing you to remove it from the door.

Check for any remaining pins

Once you have used the hammer and screwdriver to break the lock apart, it is important to check your work thoroughly. Carefully inspect all of the pins that have been removed and look for any pieces that still remain in the plug or cylinder. Sometimes, stubborn pins may not fall out when they are hit by a hammer. If you find any remaining pins, use pliers or needle-nose pliers to gently remove them one at a time. Take care not to traumatize the cylinder too much as this may cause damage to its interior components.

Pull the lock out of the door

To remove a lock from a door, start by inserting the flat end of the screwdriver into the small hole at the bottom of the lock’s faceplate. Turn it counterclockwise to release pressure on the latch and then wiggle it up to lift out the locking pin.

Next, insert a narrow object into the keyhole of your door lock and push down on the pins inside. Use something that is small enough to fit in, but not so thin it will bend. This is necessary because some locks require pressure to be applied on internal pins in order for them to move out of place.

Once you have released any pins inside, use your hammer gently to tap around the circumference of your hinge plate. Do this until you feel it loosen from its place and pull or wiggle it out from its setting in your door. Make sure you exercise caution when doing this, as excessive force may cause permanent damage or break other parts of your door hardware.

Finally, check for any extra screws that may be securing your lock and unscrew them with a screwdriver before pulling out the entire piece from its housing in the door. Afterward, keep all components in a safe place for later usage if desired.

How to Break a Door Lock with a Hammer and ScrewdriverCheckout this video:

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