Are you facing problems with your door? Is the key cumbersome to insert? Or worse, your lock is fully seized? Today, we’ll explain how to pick a door lock and what maintenance to give it! Simple and fast, it will only take a couple of minutes for eternal efficiency.

What is a lock made of?

It’s essential to understand the structure of a lock mechanism before looking at how to unlock it. A lock consists of six critical components:

  • A cylinder or a “barrel” is in the center of the lock. It takes the form of a metal tube.
  • A stator, fixed part, and a rotor, mobile part, collectively make up the cylinder.
  • A bolt. This is an essential part of the lock since it is the part that helps to lock and unlock the mechanism; the cylinder rotor activates it.
  • A strike plate is a part that attaches to the door and in which the bolt will be housed. This plate can be manual or electric.
  • A headrest corresponds to the visible face of the lock on the edge of the door. It can only fit with mortise locks.

How to pick a lock?

Examine the condition of the lock.

You’ll not be able to open the lock if it is broken. Rusty locks could be blocked, and even if you are a genius of picking, you can’t open them. Take a closer look at the device before trying to open it.

It may be possible to activate a rusty lock by applying a lubricant or penetrating oil.

Obtain the necessary equipment.

  • A professional hooking kit includes several tools, such as tension wrenches, hooks, and raking tools. You’ll also need a special lubricant, e.g., graphite lubricant that you find in most DIY stores.
  • You can also use household objects in place of these tools, such as a hairpin or a paper clip.
  • You could also go to a specialty store, such as one that sells spy or locksmith equipment or even order it online.

Although it is generally legal to have a kit to open the locks. If you get caught by the police in their possession, you may have to justify the use you were going to make of it.

Know what the tools are for.

It will be easier for you to discuss the different tools if you know their name and basic usage. It is all the more important that these tools are often poorly represented in popular culture.

A tension wrench: It is a metal tool with a flared end. It is L or Z shaped, in which case the diagonal line of Z is straight. We insert it into the barrel (the part of the lock that turns) to apply tension on it.

A hook: In general, it is a handle that shortened at the end into a fine metal point slightly curved at its end. The hook allows you to manipulate the internal parts (the pins) of the lock.

A rake: There are several rakes. Some may have a triangular point, but others have a round point. You’re going to rub them inside the mechanism to try to open it.

View the mechanism.

When you insert the key into the lock cylinder (the part that turns), the teeth of the key push the pins inside. Each pin is made from a combination of pins: the active pin and the passive pin. When the line between the active and passive pin (hyphenation) aligns all the pins of the mechanism, the lock rotates and opens.

You will not see inside while you try to pick the lock, which is why it is vital to have a good mental picture of the opening mechanism.

The number of pins varies from lock to lock. Padlocks have between three and four, while door locks generally have between five and eight.

How to open a lock pin?

  1. Know what you need to do.

While applying light pressure with the tension key on the barrel, operate the pins inside, one after the other. When you push a pin enough, the tension applied by the key will prevent it from falling back. Then, you can move on to the next one. Once you have put them all in place, you can open the pin lock.

  1. Determine the direction of rotation. 

Insert the tension key at the top or bottom of the barrel. Gently turn it to apply tension. The barrel will turn slightly to one side or the other. This is the direction in which the key usually turns.

Be careful not to press it too hard with the tension key. When trying to figure out which way it turns, you should only use one finger to press the tension key.

  1. Fumble the pins with the hook. 

Insert the pin into the lock. Feel the outline of the pins with the hook. Try to smell them all. Press gently, but slowly increasing the pressure on the lock until you feel the pins move. Take out the hook.

By pressing harder and harder on a single pin, you can test their resistance. Some may be more rigid and require more pressure.

In general, the internal mechanism of locks is rather delicate. You should always try not to use too much force to avoid accidentally breaking it.

  1. Gently press the tension key. 

Insert it at the bottom or top of the barrel opening. Then turn it by gently pressing it. After that, feel the change of position. Relieve the pressure a bit. Repeat several times.

From there, your goal is to find out if the pins are rigid. Moreover, feel their position in the mechanism to engage them and prevent them from falling back.

  1. Identify the active pin

Reapply tension to the barrel with the tension wrench. Insert the hook into it. Gently touch the pins with the hook to apply on it. Release the tension on the key. Continue the process until you can identify the active pin (the one that is more resistant than the others) by gently pressing it. This is the first active pin.

When you find it, press it firmly with the tension key. Do not press too hard, or you will lock the lock, but if you do not press enough, the pin will come back.

  1. Operate the pins one after the other.

While maintaining constant pressure on the tension wrench, gradually raise the first pin with your hook. Eventually, the tension key will allow you to turn the barrel slightly. The first pin is now in place. Use the hook to find the next one to lift it and put it in place. Repeat until they are all in place.

  1. Open the lock. 

When the last pin snaps into place, the lock should disengage and open. You can now press the tension key a little more to rotate the barrel. You can press a little harder with the hook if it is still inserted in the lock, but you should be careful not to jostle the engaged pins or damage the hook.


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