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How to Break a Door Lock With a Hammer

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.

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If you’re looking for a way to break a door lock with a hammer, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to do it quickly and easily.

Gather Supplies

Breaking a door lock with a hammer requires some basic supplies, including a hammer and a steel punch tool. You may also need to wear protective gloves and eyewear to protect yourself from potential flying particles during the process. Let’s look at the supplies you need to gather before breaking a door lock with a hammer.


When attempting to break a door lock with a hammer, it is important to use the right tool for the job. A good sized claw hammer is the best option as it has a narrow head that fits between the teeth of the lock, and a sturdy handle for more power. The claw side should be used to break apart and remove different pieces of the locking mechanism, including the pins. Additionally, choose a fairly lightweight hammer that you can control easily when striking. Safety glasses or goggles are also important to protect your eyes from flying debris or dust chips that may be produced by breaking apart the lock with your hammer.

Flathead screwdriver

Before you attempt to break the door lock with a hammer, be sure that you have the right tools. You’ll need a flathead screwdriver and something that can open and close like pliers. The flathead screwdriver is necessary in order to free any screws and/or bolts that may be keeping the lock in place. Be sure to get a sturdy screwdriver or brace yourself for one of those infamous elbow-aching moments when the screwdriver starts slipping! You may also want a pair of pliers or another small tool nearby for assistance in case the screws become difficult to turn.

Phillips screwdriver

One of the items you will need when attempting to break a door lock with a hammer is a Phillips screwdriver. The Phillips screwdriver can be used to unscrew the screws that hold the inside plate of the knobset together. It is important to use a Phillips-head screwdriver, as other types may not fit properly in the screw heads. Using a flat-head or other type of screwdriver may strip out the head or damage it beyond repair if you attempt to remove it.

Prepare the Lock

Before you think about breaking a door lock with a hammer, you’ll need to make sure that it is the last resort and that you’re taking the proper safety precautions. First, you’ll want to prepare the lock. This means assessing the lock situation and ensuring that the lock is the right type for hammering. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right tools and materials necessary to complete the job.

Locate the screws on the lock

Before you can find a way to break a door lock with a hammer, you must first locate the screws holding the lock in place. The screws will likely be located on the inside of the door and around the edge of the door near where it meets its frame. If there are no visible screws, try tapping lightly around the lock’s edge with your hammer to see if any give or move in any noticeable way. Once you’ve identified one hidden screw, look for others. You may need to use a drill or screwdriver to remove these stubborn bolts before you break open the door with your hammer.

Remove the screws with the appropriate screwdriver

Once the hammer has been wedged into the space between the door and frame, you can focus on removing the screws that hold the lock plate in place. For this part of the job, it’s important to have a screwdriver that fits the screws correctly. If you use a screwdriver that’s too small or large, you can strip the screws and make them impossible to remove.

You may need to remove several different types of screws during this process. Common types you may find include flat head, Phillips, hex head or Torx (star-shaped). If necessary, replace worn out screwdrivers or have extra ones handy to ensure that none of your screws are inadvertently stripped in the process.

When all of the screws have been removed from around the edge of the lock plate and door handle assembly, you should be able to carefully pull it away from the door itself. Once again, take care here because some doors may require additional parts removal before they are unlocked.

Remove the lock faceplate

Carefully examine the lock faceplate. Most cylindrical door locks and deadbolts require you to remove the entire faceplate from the door before tampering with any internal lock mechanisms. In some cases, depending on the type of lock you are dealing with, it may be necessary to remove any screws or nails that connect the faceplate to the door frame, or to simply pry off the plate if it has no additional fastening hardware.

Once you have successfully removed the lock’s faceplate, locate and identify each individual component in order to determine what needs to be hammered away in order for access to be granted through the door. Set aside all pieces of faceplate that you may need when reinstalling a new piece of hardware later on.
Parts typically found behind a vertical cylindrical latch that needs removal include a mounting plate, spring, small case containing tumblers (or pins in case of pin cylinder locks), a plug containing pins and/or wafers (depending on model), washers/retainers, a cam (or tailpiece), and levers located beneath screws that connect each piece together.

Attack the Lock

Breaking a door lock with a hammer requires a few steps that need to be followed in order to make sure the lock is weakened enough to be broken open. It’s important to remember that this method should be used only as an emergency measure and not as a way to simply break into a door. This will cover the various ways you can use a hammer to attack the lock and make it easier to open.

Insert the flathead screwdriver into the lock

Using a flathead screwdriver, carefully insert the sharpened edge into the door lock. Make sure you press firmly and twist slightly to ensure the screwdriver has gone far enough into the keyhole. If you hear a clicking sound, this indicates that the flathead is positioned correctly and ready for use. Take a hammer and tap firmly on the handle of the screwdriver to jolt it back and forth; this should cause any pins inside of the lock to move out of position and misalign, thereby unlocking it.

Tap the screwdriver with the hammer to break the lock

Using a hammer in combination with a screwdriver (or other tool) is one of the most effective methods for breaking a door lock. First, selected a suitably-sized screwdriver (or other implement) to fit inside the keyhole of the lock. Position the screwdriver in an upward direction, so that you can apply downward force on it with the hammer. Then, use a few forceful taps to break open the lock by pushing off any pins or components which are preventing it from opening. Be sure to hit in only one direction; sideways force is unlikely to be effective and will waste your energy over multiple attempts.

Continue tapping until the lock is broken

With the hammer and the cold chisel in place, it’s time to Break Open your door lock. Strike the cold chisel with a steady, consistent force in order to bust through the pins of your lock. It can take a few minutes of striking hard and at a consistent rate to fully Break Open the lock mechanism. During that time, you need to keep hammering until all of the components are shattered and the lock is disassembled. If you decide to take breaks during this process, it can drastically increase the amount of time required for your job and leave you without much progress achieved. For best results, be sure to focus on continued tapping until your door lock is completely Broken Open and you can access your premises or property.

Replace the Lock

Although it is possible to break a door lock with a hammer, it is usually an ineffective and dangerous method. The best course of action is to simply replace the existing lock with a new one. Replacing a door lock is relatively easy and doesn’t require any special tools. In this section, we will cover the steps for replacing a door lock with a new one.

Purchase a new lock

When it comes to replacing a damaged door lock, your first and best choice is to purchase a new lock. This is typically the easiest option, especially if the old lock cannot easily be opened. The new lock may require some effort to install, but the amount of effort will be considerably less than attempting to break or remove a stuck or jammed lock.

When you purchase a new door lock, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Firstly, measure the size of your current lockset as well as the depth and diameter of the hole in your door. This will ensure that you buy the right replacement type and size for your needs. Additionally, consider factors such as cost, design, security features and installation requirements when purchasing replacement locksets. With this in mind, consider stainless steel or brass locksets for higher levels of security and durability; brass having superior durability over standard steel due to its resistance to corrosion over time. Finally look for keyless entry options where desired and locksets with interchangeable cores for flexibility with future security changes without needing to replace the entire door hardware set up.

Install the new lock with the appropriate screws

Once you have broken the old lock using a hammer, you can take it out and begin to install the new lock. Gather the appropriate screws, bolts, and connecting components from your lock kit and set them aside in an easy-to-reach area. Then place the new lock in its desired opening and fix it in place with a screwdriver. Tighten all screws until the lock is firmly secured, ensuring that all components are tight enough to prevent removal. Once complete, it is essential that you test your new door lock’s functionality before replacing any coverings. Attempt to unlock, open, close and re-lock the door multiple times to verify that everything is connected properly and operating as intended.

Test the new lock to make sure it works properly

Once you have acquired the new door lock, it is important to test it in order to make sure that it fits properly and that all the internal mechanisms are working properly. To do this, open the door and place a key into the lock’s cylinder. When you turn the key within the cylinder, it should cause all the internal components within the lock mechanism to operate as they should.

The lever of your new door lock should also operate properly. Place a key in the lever and make sure that when you turn it in either direction, nothing binds or sticks. Make sure nothing prevents or interferes with your ability to completely open or close the lock’s lever arm.

Additionally, check to see if there is any play or movement within your new door lock’s deadbolt assembly. If so, this means there is an issue with how tightly your deadbolt sits within its slot in the frame of your door; as such, this could be an indication that you need a replacement soon.

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