How to Open a Storage Unit Lock Without a Key

Like most people, you probably didn’t think about what would happen if you lost your storage unit key. But don’t worry – there is a way to open a storage unit lock without a key. This article will show you how to open a storage unit lock without a key. So keep reading for tips and tricks on how to get into your storage unit without a key!

Many self-storage facilities use the same key on every lock. After all, if you’re a customer and you lose your key, you don’t want to pay for a new one! That’s why we will be checking out what these locks look like inside and how we can use specific tools (that most people carry around anyway) to open them.

How to Open a Storage Unit Lock Without a Key

A Step by Step Guide on How to Open a Storage Unit Lock Without a Key

Step 1: Determine How the Lock Works

The first thing you must do is research the type of keyless lock you have. How you gain entry to a storage unit with a keyless lock is different from how a padlock works.

Padlocks are opened by inserting the key and rotating 90 degrees counterclockwise or 90 degrees clockwise depending on which way the shackle faces when closed. In some cases, the shackle may be facing down, in which case turning it anti-clockwise will open it.

On most keyless locks, there is a code that needs to be entered before being opened. In addition, some models have three buttons that need to be pressed, whereas some models have five buttons that need to be pressed simultaneously for about 2 seconds within a 30-second window. How the buttons need to be encouraged is either printed on the side of the storage unit, or it can be found by searching online.

Storage facilities usually have their security protocol regarding who has access to this information, so do not take it for granted that you will find this without help. You can call your storage facility and ask them what model of keyless lock they use. Suppose you happen to know another tenant at your facility. In that case, you could ask them what type of lock is on their unit, but always remember to stay safe regarding any criminal activity.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools and Materials

You will need a drill (if using PVC pipe), electric drill (if using a saw), vise grip if necessary, lighter, screwdriver, faucet adapter (if using PVC pipe), and rubber doorstop (if using a saw).

Need a Drill to Open Storage Unit Lock

Step 3: Remove the Rubber Doorstop and Saw a Hole in the Shackle

This is where you will need to use your drill or saw. If you choose to use the saw method, then make sure not to cut yourself on any sharp metal pieces left behind. How big a hole needs to be earned depends on whether you are making a key out of PVC pipe or cutting off part of the shackle itself with wire cutters or bolt cutters.  

Using a Faucet Adapter as an Unlocking Key

If you have access to a larger supply of these locks at schools, churches, or other public facilities, you might be able to use a faucet adapter to open a storage unit lock. You can find these at your hardware store, and they cost a few dollars each. The faucet adapter works because there are different sized ends on it for connecting to various sized water outlets.

For this purpose, you will need to take off the end piece with the smallest size opening and drill a hole through one side until it goes all the way through. Then, on the other side, file down any jagged edges from drilling so that everything is smooth and flat.

Applying Heat From a Lighter or Match to Weaken Metal Material

If you have enough time together with steady hands, this method may work for you. It works by applying heat to the lock; usually, through a lighter or match, the metal will become so hot that it becomes weak and malleable enough for you to open with brute force if necessary.

Remember not to attempt this method unless you have time on your side because the longer you are exposed to heat, the greater risk of burning yourself. How long you can keep metal heated up typically varies depending on the material type but could be 20 seconds to 1 minute before another heat-up session.

Step 5: Get Open

At this point, your task should be pretty straightforward if everything goes according to plan. All that remains is picking the lock open, which requires practice for proficiency in doing so. How to pick locks is a skill that takes time to master, but once you have the hang of it, there isn’t much else stopping you from being able to get inside your storage unit without letting anyone else know.

Using Brute Force in Trying to Open It Can Damage

However, it should be noted that if the lock has a combination dial on it, then using brute force in trying to open it can damage or break this piece and require repair or replacement before further use. How probable this would depend upon which material type was used for the dial itself and how hardened and thick each wire inside may be (wire thickness can vary depending upon opening size).

At least one tenant at any given storage facility should know how to pick these types of locks, but again this is another skill that will involve practice.

Step 6: Keep From Getting Locked Out Again

The easiest way to ensure this doesn’t happen again is to purchase enough locks for all storage units, so there are at least 2-to to 3 of each type. These don’t have to be the same brand, size, or style, but they should be similar enough in use where you can interchange the keys if necessary later on down the line.

How professional-grade these locks are marketed can vary but generally aren’t any more expensive than what an average person would pay at their hardware store, plus it’s much cheaper if you get them used.

You might get lucky and find one or two keyed the same units available at an already existing facility as well, depending upon how large it is. Still, you can always contact the owner or manager directly to ask if they will be adding any new units shortly. When purchased brand new, how much these locks cost varies, but typically, around $15 – $20 per unit should be sufficient for most storage needs.

You can get around this other way to see if they allow you to install your lock on the door. How much this varies depends upon how agreeable the manager or owner of the storage facility will be. Still, it’s worth a shot if there aren’t any available locks at their office.

If all else fails and none of these options seem possible, then the only thing left for you is to purchase another storage unit elsewhere where more options are available. How expensive these go for depends upon location and size, so shop around before settling with one particular facility since prices can vary depending upon what’s available in your area. These steps will be helpful in how to open a storage unit lock without a key.

Use a High-quality Padlock

Additional Tips:

To protect against someone breaking into your unit and stealing everything:

  • Use a high-quality padlock (not the one provided by the storage facility) for additional security.
  • Invest in a motion or alarm sensor lighting system to help with nighttime activities.
  • Install cameras around the perimeter of your unit and any common areas such as entrances and exits. An application called “Dropcam” is available on iTunes that notifies you if there’s movement in front of your camera. It records all activity up to 30 days after the live feed has been interrupted. Otherwise, it will record silently for 24 hours before deleting footage. If you’re still uncertain about creating a DIY setup – purchase essential surveillance equipment from Walmart and sign up for a service like “Dropbox” (for viewing and storing photos and video off-site).
  • If you can, do not store anything of value. Even if it is locked in the Storage Unit, the items will only be as secure as the building itself.

What happens if I lose my U Haul storage key?

If you lose your U-Haul storage key, there are several options for trying to open the storage unit. It is best to try these in this order:

  1. Find another U-Haul customer who may have lost their keys and try the spare master key on your lock if they don’t mind. If it doesn’t work, return it to them or ask someone else.
  2. Pick the lock yourself using a hairpin or paper clip. Again, we do not recommend chemicals like WD40 but can provide information about which products might help your particular situation.
  3. Call local locksmiths or security professionals for assistance. You’ll need to know how much the service will cost before calling. Depending on where you are, they may ask for the location code found on your receipt to determine which storage facility you are at.
Use Tools and Materials

How to Pick a Storage Cylinder Lock?

Picking a storage cylinder lock can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it is possible to open the lock without damaging it. Before you begin, you will need a tension wrench and a pick tool. These can be purchased at any locksmith or hardware store. First, insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the lock and turn it slightly to create tension.

This will hold the pins in place and prevent them from falling back into the cylinder. Then insert the pick tool above the tension wrench and slide it into the lock. The pick tool should be positioned so that it can lift the pins inside the cylinder. As you lift each pin, try to turn the cylinder.

If you feel resistance, adjust the tension wrench slightly. Continue lifting each pin one at a time until all of the pins are set. Once all the pins are set, the cylinder should turn. With the tension wrench, turn the cylinder and open the lock.


If you’re ever in a situation where you need to get into your storage unit but don’t have the key, these steps should help in how to open a storage unit lock without a key. Be sure to practice them beforehand to be able to do it quickly and efficiently if the need arises. Good luck!

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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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