How combination lock work

You may have encountered a combination lock at least once in your life; however, have you ever learned about how they actually work?

Combination locks are one of the most common locks out there because they are affordable, come in various designs, and are convenient because you do not need a key to unlock it. The only thing you need when it comes with combination locks is to remember a combination of numbers.

If you want to learn more about combination locks and how they work, please feel free to keep reading below.

The Features Of A Combination Lock

Combination locks are commonly used for safes or doors for added protection. While they all look very similar, the mechanism inside every combination lock is almost identical.

The locking mechanism of combination locks consists of a number of wheels and plates inside. The amount of wheels depends on the total numbers you can select from on the combination. For example, if you have to make a combination of four numbers, then there will be four wheels inside.

Located in the centre of the wheels is a spindle, which is attached to the dial where the combination is situated. When the combination begins to turn, the pin sitting inside the lock will touch one of the wheel togs. 

How combination lock work

How Combination Locks Work

Once the combination is entered, the combination dial inside the padlock will begin to spin. The pin located in the centre will touch the cog of one of the wheels in order to trigger the mechanism. 

From here, the respective wheel will turn where the notch on the wheel points up. This serves as the first number entered into the series of numbers. Then, the dial will start to turn in the other direction, again ending up with the notch facing up. This will continue until all the wheels face this same position and direction. 

Once all the wheels are facing in the appropriate position and direction, a fence bar will move down to close the gap. As this is happening, the combination is complete and, if correct, the padlock will unlock.

In summary, when all the wheels in the wheel pack are turned into the correct position, each of their notches aligns to form a gap. The fence will fall into the gap under the force of its own weight, hence allowing the combination lock to open. 

How combination lock work

The Safety Of A Combination Lock

Combination locks are known to be very hard to break through and decipher the code. In fact, there are fifty thousand combinations for just a three-digit combination on the dials. This proves that combination locks can be very secure and challenging to break through. 

Once the locks are made, the dial is inserted in and the lock case is tightly fitted over the top. To ensure that the dial is functioning properly, the locks are thoroughly tested. Moreover, there is a specific serial number that is found on each padlock for an added layer of security. 

The only thing to be cautious of with combination locks is that you must set your own combination as soon as you obtain the lock. This is because if a potential thief knows the predetermined combination of the lock, they will be able to break open your lock.


Combination locks, while simple, cheap, and convenient, are highly effective locking systems. They can be unlocked with the right combination of numbers which can trigger the locking mechanism to unlock from within. 

Typically combination locks are made up of a wheel pack. Inputting the right numbers allows the wheels to move into the right position, allowing the notches to align and form a gap by which the fence can fall into and the lock be opened.

If ever you have trouble with a combination lock, please contact us at Solid Lock LocksmithsWe have adjusted the way we do business to adapt to the new normal. Just like the quality of our service, we make sure that your health takes top priority.

For a fast, reliable locksmith in your area, please call us today on 0401 073 756 or contact us through our website.