Solved: How To Open A Brinks Combination Lock? (With Or Without The Code)

Key Takeaway

  • To open a Brinks three-digit combination lock, apply adequate tension to the shackles and carefully rotate each number, paying attention to the clicking sound that indicates the correct position. 
  • Repeat this process for all three digits. 
  • You may also consider using a shim as an alternative method to open a Brinks three-digit combination lock without the code.

Ah, combination locks—a friend to lockers, safes, and even luggage. And when it comes to trusty security, Brinks combination locks are like the superheroes of the lock world. But have you faced those moments when you find yourself desperately needing to crack open a Brinks combination lock, either with the code or because your brain decided to take a vacation? 

Recently, my wife’s friend found herself in a bit of a pickle with her Brinks combination lock. Of course, being the self-proclaimed lock expert in the household, my wife couldn’t resist flexing her confidence in my lock-cracking abilities and roped me into helping out. 

Now, if you’ve read my previous blog on opening a 4-digit combination lock, you might already have an idea of what’s coming. But if you haven’t, fear not! In this blog, I’ll provide you with detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to open a Brinks 3-dial combination lock, both with the code and without it.

How To Open Brinks Combination Lock Using The Code

How To Open Brinks Combination Lock Using The Code

Opening a Brinks combination lock using the correct code is a straightforward process. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Clear the lock

Begin by turning the dial clockwise several times to clear any previous attempts and reset the lock.

Step 2: Start with the first number

Rotate the dial clockwise until the reference point aligns with the first number of the combination. Make a full rotation, passing the first number once, and stop precisely on it during the second pass.

Step 3: Move to the second number 

Turn the dial counterclockwise directly to the second number. Avoid overshooting or undershooting the number.

Step 4: Proceed to the third number

Rotate the dial clockwise until it comes to a halt at the third number of the combination.

Step 5: Unlock the lock

With the correct numbers aligned and the lock in the open position, you can now pull up the shackle or press the release button, depending on the type of Brinks lock you have. This action will unlock the lock, allowing you to open it

Remember, accuracy is crucial when aligning the numbers with the reference points. If the lock doesn’t open, double-check that the numbers are correctly aligned and attempt the process again.

How To Pick A Brinks Combination Lock (Forgotten Code)?

In this section, we shall look at two ways how you can open your Brinks combination lock, even without a code.

Method 1: Cracking the Code

Cracking the Code

Cracking open a Brinks 3-digit combination lock without the code requires a clever technique involving tension and careful manipulation. After I shared this technique with my wife’s friend, it took her a little while to become proficient, but eventually, she mastered it and could open the lock successfully. The moment she accomplished it, she was completely amazed by the results.

However, it’s important only to use these techniques on locks you own or have proper authorization to access.

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to accomplish this lock-cracking feat.

  • Step 1: Begin by holding the Brinks combination lock with the shackle (that metal loop) pointing upwards. You’ll need to create tension on the shackle to unlock the lock.
  • Step 2: Grab a length of rope and pass it through the shackle, pulling it tight. This creates friction among the lock wheels, resulting in audible clicks when the wheels are adjusted. These clicks can indicate the correct position of the wheels and help decipher the code.
    length of rope
  • Step 3: Turn all the wheels on the Brinks lock and identify the wheel that offers the most resistance. This will give you a starting point for cracking the code.
  • Step 4: Locate the stubborn wheel and rotate it while keeping the shackle raised. Listen for a satisfying click and feel a slight lift of the shackle. Repeat this action to confirm that the wheel consistently clicks at the same number. Make a note of this number, as it is likely the correct value for that particular wheel.
  • Step 5: Without releasing the tension on the shackle, move on to the second wheel that’s hard to turn. Rotate it until you hear a click—this will be your second number.
  • Step 6: Repeat the process with the third wheel to find the third and final number.
  • Step 7: Once all three numbers are lined up, push down on the shackle, and voila! The Brinks lock should open, granting you access to its contents.
    all three numbers are lined up

Note: If you encounter difficulty finding all three numbers, repeat the steps while paying extra attention to the clicking sounds and when the shackle stops spinning clockwise. 

Method 2: Using a Shim

A shim is a thin, flat material, typically metal or plastic. In the context of locks, a shim can bypass or manipulate the locking mechanism to open the lock without using the original key or combination. 

Creating The Shim

Creating the Shim

A shim may be created in several shapes or ways. Here I am sharing my preferred way to create a shim.

  • Gather materials: Prepare a thin piece of metal using an aluminum can or a metal sheet.
  • Cut the metal: Using scissors or a utility knife, cut a narrow strip from the metal, approximately 1 inch wide and 4-6 inches long.
  • Shape the shim: About 1 inch from one end of the strip, make two small cuts on each side, creating rounded humps instead of pointed triangles. Try to make the cuts as smooth as possible.
  • Bend the shim: Bend the strip slightly to form a gentle curve or “U” shape.
  • Adjust the shim size: Ensure that the width of the curved end is narrower than the shackle of the padlock you wish to open.

Opening The Lock

By inserting a shim between the body and the lock’s shackle, you can create tension on the shackle, making it easier to manipulate. 

Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Insert a shim—a thin piece of metal—between the body and the shackle of the Brinks lock at the top or bottom. This creates tension on the shackle, making it easier to manipulate.
  • Step 2: While holding the shim in place, use your other hand to turn the dial on the Brinks lock clockwise and counterclockwise. You’ll notice the shackle moving slightly with each turn of the dial.
  • Step 3: Keep turning the dial until you reach a point where the tension on the shackle disappears. This indicates that the Brinks lock has been released and is now open.
  • Step 4: Carefully remove the shim from the Brinks lock and open it to access whatever treasures lie within.

Note: Using a shim can potentially damage the lock, so it’s best to consider this method only as a last resort when other options are exhausted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can I get duplicate keys made for the Brinks Combination lock? If so, how to get them?

Answer – Yes, it is generally possible to obtain duplicate keys for Brinks locks. The process for obtaining duplicate keys may vary depending on the specific model of your Brinks lock and the policies of the company or locksmith you approach. 

Here are a few common options to consider:

  1. Contact Brinks: You can reach out to Brinks directly to inquire about obtaining duplicate keys for your lock. They can provide guidance on the process and any specific requirements or documentation needed. Check their website or contact their customer support for more information.
  2. Local Locksmith: Visit a local locksmith who offers key duplication services. Bring your original key and explain that you need a duplicate for your Brinks lock. The locksmith will likely have the necessary tools and expertise to create a duplicate key for you.
  3. Hardware Stores: Some home-improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot may offer key duplication services. Check with your local home improvement store to see if they can duplicate Brinks keys.

When obtaining duplicate keys, it’s important to provide proof of ownership or authorization, as locksmiths and key duplication services may have security measures in place to prevent unauthorized key copying.


Opening a Brinks combination lock can be done with the original code or through alternative methods if the code is forgotten. These methods include trial and error and using specialized lockpicking tools. However, it is important only to use these methods if you have proper authorization or ownership of the lock. If you are unable to open the lock, it is recommended to seek professional help from a locksmith. 

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.