Thursday, August 7, 2008

How do I change the combination of my safe?

There are several different types of combination locks found on safes used by homeowners, gun enthusiasts, businesses and others and the procedures may vary by maker and type. Usually, a new safe will include specific instructions for both mechanical and electronic safe locks, as well as any necessary tool or change key required for mechanical locks. See below for how to find that information.

IMPORTANT: after changing either type, care must always be taken to test the combination and operate the door bolts several times with the door open before closing and locking the door.

The two basic types are:

Changing of this type is accomplished by
A) first opening the door by dialing the existing combination to the opening (12 O'clock) index and then dialing the existing combination to a different "changing index" and using a special change key to reset the combination to the new numbers or
removal and mechanical disassembly in order to re-arrange the individual settings of the combination wheels.

Specific instructions for every lock type would be impossible to post here, but that information is usually available at the safe or lock maker's web site as a download. You can also call the maker's toll-free customer service number for assistance in replacing misplaced instruction sheets. Here is a link to the Sargeant & Greenleaf web site where PDF downloads for lock operation and changing instructions can be obtained:

Sargeant & Greenleaf Product Support

: (push-button keypad) In order to change this type, the existing code or PIN must be known and the safe door must be in the locked-open position. Then you follow the lockmaker's procedure for that particular lock (the simple instructions will vary by lock maker). These procedures will usually takes less than a minute to perform. Because the instructions are different for each maker, I will only give the basic steps here. Specific instructions for all kinds of electronic locks are usually available (as a download) at the lock or safe maker's web site. For instance, here is the site to download instructions for La Gard electronic safe locks:


When you buy a new safe, always keep a record of your safe's model name/number and/or serial number, as well as the maker's customer service toll-free number. Often, it's only a matter of a simple phone call to obtain the specific instructions for your specific safe lock via e-mailed or fax. The serial and model numbers will help in identifying the particular safe lock model on your safe.

You can also do a GOOGLE search by safe and lock maker to find a particular maker's web site or a professional safe & vault technician that has expertise with that maker's products.

GENERAL WARNING: Never attempt to lock your safe door unless you are absolutely certain that you have read and followed the instructions carefully and have tested the combination and door bolt function several times. If in doubt, leave the door OPEN and look in the yellow pages and/or on the WWW for a local safe & vault expert. We can be found under the heading: "Safe Expert" or "Safes & Vaults Opening & Repairing" in both the yellow pages or using google to search those terms. Include those search terms, as well as your area code, zip code or city and state, but make sure to include the term "licensed" to avoid internet scammers. For example, here's the search performed for Novato, California:

GOOGLE SEARCH for Safe Expert in Novato, CA

The Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA) also has a directory of members that is searchable using several criteria. Here is that web site:


I hope you've found this information helpful and informative or at least I've given you some good resources. Questions and comments are always welcome.

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Telephone: +1 (415) 519-3401 
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