Have you lost the keys to the lock you placed on your storage unit and cannot get inside? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us, and below I will cover how to get right back in by cutting off a lock on a storage unit.
Below I will show a few of the most used methods for cutting padlocks and the steps. You could even try picking the lock if you don’t have any tools handy, but that is a whole different article. For now, let’s stick with cutting the storage unit lock off.
Before Cutting the Lock
Before diving deeper into this how-to guide, let’s look at a few things first.
Check with the storage facility and see their policy on cutting locks. They will probably want to be notified if you plan on doing something like this first.
Also, if done incorrectly, some of these methods could damage the storage unit, which might cost you. So please, make sure that you are allowed to do this first.
Do you really need to Cut the lock off?
Before you get started on cutting the lock, let’s make sure you need to do this. A lot of people cut their locks only to find out the lock was fine before and it was not necessary.
1. Make Sure You’re At The Correct Unit
I know what you are thinking “I’m not an idiot,” but you would be surprised how often this can happen after a long day and tiring day, your mind could wander, and you might end up in front of the wrong storage unit.
Look at the storage unit’s number, its color of it or anything that signifies that it’s yours. After this, you could continue.
2. Key not working? Make Sure The Lock Is Working Correctly
Next, you should check if the lock is working correctly. If the keys aren’t working, don’t get frustrated.
- Perform a visual inspection: Check for any obvious damage or wear and tear on the lock and its components.
- Test the lock: Insert the key and turn it to see if it opens and closes smoothly.
- Check the key: Make sure the key is not bent, worn, or damaged, as this can prevent the lock from functioning properly.
- Check the lock’s alignment: Make sure the lock is properly aligned with the strike plate and the door frame.
- Check for proper tension: The spring tension in the lock should be strong enough to keep the lock securely in place when the door is closed.
- Have a locksmith test: If you are still unsure about the lock’s condition, consider having a locksmith inspect and test it.
If you still have issues, search online for the lock’s make and model. Look for articles on common issues users have had with that lock and try finding something for your problem.
But, if you have already tried everything you could find and the lock isn’t opening, it’s time to move on to the guide.
3. When You Lose Your Storage Unit Keys
Now, let’s see what you can do when you’ve lost the keys to your storage unit.
Check for a spare key: Look for a spare key in a safe place sometimes, you may have left one nearby and forgotten, such as at a family member or friend’s house or in a key holder in your home.
Contact the storage facility: Let the staff at the storage facility know that you have lost your keys and ask if they have a spare set or if they can provide a replacement.
Some storage facilities won’t allow you to cut locks yourself, especially if it’s the business’s property. Call the manager or an on-site worker and discuss your problem. Together you will come up with a solution. The most likely one is that they would cut the lock for you with your written permission.
If by chance, they allow you to do something like that yourself, then we can get started and learn how to cut the lock off.
Use Bolt Cutters
The first method is by using bolt cutters to cut the lock. But, before going through with this, you should start by selecting the right tool for the job.
Step 1 – There are different options for a reason. But for the universal solution, get a pair of 30-inch bolt cutters. They will cut almost all types of locks easily.
Step 2 – You should tilt the cutters slightly to get the angle right. Then place them firmly on the metal shackle of the lock.
Step 3 – Get a good grip on the handles and squeeze. The shackle should split in two quite easily. But, this process will require a bit of strength.
And voilà, you have a cut lock on your hands.
Use an Angle Grinder
Next up is the angle grinder. They are used to cut almost any hard material with precision. And just like the bolt cutters, you need to know which one to use.
Step 1 – First up, select the right disc for the task. It would be best if you got a grinder that has a 60-grit disc. Along with the correct disc, you should also consider your overall safety. So, get a pair of gloves and a face shield before continuing.
Step 2 – Take the grinder and firmly grasp it via the vice-grips. Place it on the lock at the desired position on the shackle.
Step 3 – After positioning the disc on the shackle, turn the grinder on. Put pressure on the lock, and you will slice straight through it after a while. But be careful when nearing the end, so you don’t accidentally damage the unit.
Using Heat and a Hacksaw
This method will require a bit more. Besides the hacksaw, you will need a propane torch and vise grips.
Step 1 – Vise-grips are needed to hold the lock in place with them so that your hand isn’t near the lock while heating and cutting it. Place them at the bottom of the lock and tighten them as hard as possible, ensuring that the lock won’t wiggle around.
Step 2 – Hold the lock by the vise grips to not get burned. Light up the propane torch and heat the shackle in the place where you will cut. It would be best if you did this until the metal of the shackle turns red hot. (1)
Step 3 – Let the lock cool down for about 2-3 minutes. But don’t use water since that will only strengthen the steel again.
Step 4 – After letting it cool down, get a fine-toothed hacksaw, which is meant for cutting metal. Holding the lock firmly by the vise-grips with your non-dominant hand, place the hacksaw on the area of the shackle you heated. The hacksaw should be in your dominant hand. Apply firm pressure and pull the saw back and forth until you have completely cut through the lock. (2)
Contact a Locksmith Before Considering Cutting the Lock Off
If you don’t possess the required tools or are unsure of yourself, you could call in a locksmith to help you out.
Locksmiths have completed training and will be able to unlock every type of lock easily. Unlike the methods before, which will make the lock unusable again, the locksmith won’t destroy it. They have tools that will open the lock without even damaging it. So, if this sounds like a great plan, look online for a good locksmith and call them.
That marks the end of this how-to guide on cutting open locks. If you tried one of our ways, let us know how you did. And maybe some of you will think of other ways we haven’t mentioned here. Feel free to let our readers know about those alternatives in the comments. Hopefully, next time something like this happens to you, you will be able to resolve it without much hassle quickly.
(1) metal – https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/metal.htm
(2) pressure – https://www.britannica.com/science/pressure
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