How to Break a Cylinder Lock

Did you know that there is a way to break into a locked cylinder without any tools? Believe it or not, all you need is a metal rod and a little bit of patience. This blog post will show you how to break a cylinder lock.

This guide will teach you the basics of how to do so and what type of tools you’ll need. It’s also important to note that breaking a cylinder lock should only be used as a last resort when all other methods have failed. Keep reading for more information.​

How to Break a Cylinder Lock

5 Import Factors to Consider Before Breaking a Cylinder Lock:

1. Make Sure the Key Isn’t Working Anymore:

It’s easy to overlook the fact that your key may just be worn out. However, if you’ve been using the same key for years, the teeth have likely become worn down and no longer fit the lock as snugly as they once did. If this is the case, get a new key made.

2. Try Lubricating the Lock First:

If the key isn’t the problem, the next step is to lubricate the lock. This will help if the issue is that the lock is just dirty and dry. Put some lubricant ( WD-40 works well) on a cotton swab and insert it into the keyway. Work it around until you see some of the lubricants come out of the other side. Then, try inserting and turning the key again.

3. Know When to Use a Pick:

A pick can be a helpful tool when trying to open a cylinder lock, but it’s important to use the right type of pick. For instance, a rake pick will work well on a pin-tumbler lock but not on a wafer lock. So make sure you know which type of lock you’re dealing with before proceeding.

4. Make Sure You Have All the Necessary Tools:

In addition to a pick, you’ll also need a tension wrench. This applies pressure to the cylinder while the pick is inserted into the keyway and manipulated. Make sure you have both tools before starting.

The Pick Is Inserted Into the Keyway

5. Don’t Forget About the Springs:

When breaking a cylinder lock, it’s important to remember that springs inside need to be dealt with. The springs can be delicate, so be careful not to damage them when using your tools. Try to release the springs before removing the cylinder from the lock.

With these factors in mind, let’s look at the process of breaking a cylinder lock.

What Tools & Supplies Needed:

  1. A screwdriver
  2. A hammer
  3. A putty knife or a chisel
  4. A drill with a 1/8″ drill bit (optional)
  5. WD-40 or another lubricant (optional)

Step by Step Instructions: How to Break a Cylinder Lock

Step 1: Insert the Tension Wrench Into the Keyway.

Before doing anything else, you’ll need to insert the tension wrench into the keyway. This is the part of the lock that the key inserts into. The tension wrench applies pressure to the cylinder while the pick is inserted and manipulated. If you think the lock will be difficult to pick, you may want to lubricate the keyway with some graphite powder first.

Lubricate the Keyway With Some Graphite Powder

Step 2: Apply Pressure to the Cylinder.

Once the tension wrench is in place, you’ll need to apply pressure to the cylinder. This is what turns the lock. The amount of pressure needed will vary depending on the lock you’re dealing with. You’ll only need to apply a light amount of pressure for most simple locks.

Step 3: Insert the Pick Into the Lock.

Now it’s time to insert the pick into the lock. First, you’ll need to find the right spot to insert it, which can be a bit tricky. Once you’ve found the sweet spot, apply pressure to the cylinder with the tension wrench while manipulating the pick. You may need to wiggle it around a bit before finding the right combination to open the lock.

Step 4: Drill a Hole Into the Lock.

If the lock is still difficult, you may need to drill a hole into it. This will usually only be necessary for tougher locks. Start by drilling a small pilot hole, then slowly make the hole bigger until you can fit the cylinder inside. Once the cylinder is in place, apply pressure to it with the tension wrench and turn it until the lock opens.

Step 5: Insert a Screwdriver or Other Object Into the Lock.

If drilling a hole into the lock isn’t an option, you can try inserting a screwdriver or other object into the keyway. This may help to loosen up the tumblers inside and enable you to pick the lock. But make sure you don’t apply too much pressure, as this could damage the lock.

Try Inserting a Screwdriver

With these simple steps, you should be able to know how to break a cylinder lock with relative ease. Just remember to take your time and be careful not to damage the lock if you’re going to reuse it.

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

Here are five common mistakes people make when trying to break a cylinder lock:

  1. Using too much force: When trying to break a lock, people often use too much force, which can damage the locking mechanism beyond repair or injure themselves.
  2. Using an inappropriate tool: Misusing tools such as pliers, hammers, or screwdrivers can cause damage to the lock and decrease the chances of it being opened.
  3. Not knowing the locking mechanism: Not all locks are the same, and attempting to break a lock without knowledge of the type of lock or locking mechanism can result in wasted time, effort, and potential damage.
  4. Forgetting about other access methods: Lock picking, bypassing, or drilling may not always be the most efficient way to gain access to a locked device. Sometimes finding alternative access methods like a backup key or utilizing devices like magnetic lock picks, shim picks, or bump keys are better options.
  5. Not hiring a professional: Trying to break a lock without the necessary knowledge and proper training can further damage the locking mechanism, leaving you with more expenses than what was initially needed to open the lock. Hiring a trained locksmith can save time and money and reduce the potential for incurring further damages.

Other Effective Methods to Break a Cylinder Lock:

1. Using a Hammer:

If you don’t have any picks or tension wrenches, you can try using a hammer to break the lock open. Just insert the screwdriver’s blade into the keyway and strike it with the hammer. Hopefully, this should loosen up the tumblers inside and enable you to turn the cylinder.

2. Using a Chisel:

Another method is to use a chisel. First, insert the chisel into the keyway and then strike it with a hammer. This should hopefully create enough space for you to be able to insert a thin piece of metal, like a nail or a paperclip, which you can use to push the tumblers out of the way and turn the cylinder.

3. Cutting the Cylinder Lock:

If all else fails, you can always try cutting the cylinder lock open. However, this is a destructive method and should only be used last resort. First, insert a hacksaw blade into the keyway and start sawing through the cylinder.

It’s best to use a new blade for this so that it doesn’t get stuck. But make sure you have a good grip on the cylinder, so it doesn’t spin when you’re sawing. Once you’ve cut through the cylinder, you should be able to turn it and open the lock.

4. Using a Crowbar:

If you’re trying to break into a door with a cylinder lock, you can also try using a crowbar. Just insert the crowbar into the space between the door and the frame and apply pressure. This should hopefully pop the lock open.

Insert the Crowbar Into the Space

5. Prying the Lock Open:

Another method is to pry the lock open. First, insert a flathead screwdriver or a knife into the keyway and then use it to pry the lock open. You may need to use a lot of force for this to work. But be careful not to break the cylinder.

6. Using a Lock Pick Gun:

If you have a lock pick gun, you can try using it to break the lock open. Just insert the gun’s tip into the keyway and then pull the trigger. Hopefully, this will vibrate the tumblers inside and enable you to turn the cylinder.

Safe Precautions You Need to Consider When Breaking a Cylinder Lock:

  1. If you’re going to reuse the lock, be careful not to damage it when trying to break it open. Otherwise, you may not be able to use it again.
  2. If you want to use a hammer, use a wooden one instead of a metal one to avoid damaging the mechanism inside the lock.
  3. Be sure to have a good grip on whatever you’re using to break the lock so that you don’t accidentally injure yourself.
  4. Always wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp metal when breaking a lock.
  5. When drilling holes into the lock, be careful not to damage the surrounding area.
  6. If you don’t have any experience breaking locks, it’s best to leave it to a professional.

Can Your Locks Be Broken Using Cylinder Snapping?

Cylinder snapping is a relatively new technique used to break into homes and businesses. However, it’s a very simple and effective method that can be used to break most types of cylinder locks. The best part about it is that it doesn’t require any special tools or skills. All you need is a screwdriver and a hammer.

To break a cylinder lock using cylinder snapping, all you need to do is insert the screwdriver’s blade into the keyway and then strike it with the hammer. Hopefully, this will loosen up the tumblers inside and enable you to turn the cylinder. Once you’ve turned the cylinder, you can then open the lock.


A cylinder lock is a type of lock that uses a cylindrical key to unlock it. This lock style is common in residential settings and can be found on doors, windows, and other items that need to be secured. If you find yourself locked out of your home or office, don’t panic! There are several ways to break into a cylinder lock without causing damage.

In this post, we have walked you through the methods for breaking into a cylindrical lock. So, there you have it. Our step-by-step guide on how to break a cylinder lock. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more times you try this method, the easier it will become. Be safe, stay smart when breaking into locks, and always respect other people’s property. Thanks for reading!

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Michael Ortis

Michael has always been interested in security and safety. When he was younger, he loved reading books about espionage and crime. This led him to develop a fascination with surveillance systems and home security systems. He has 8 years of expertise installing, fixing camera problems and door locks. He also gained knowledge by helping homeowners to stay safe and secure in their homes. Over the years, Michael has gained a great deal of experience in this field. He is responsible for the content development on this blog.

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