Whether you have a safe in your family that has been handed down through the generations or you happen to obtain one in a different way, it is likely that what you have will boast a crude version of the combination lock. While combination locks on safes brought about an entirely new level of security, these outdated locking mechanisms do not come without their downfalls; occasionally, you will have problems with the combination lock on your antique safe. Here are a few of the more common problems that can occur with an older combination lock on your safe and what you will need to know about repair.
Problem: Your combination knob jams and will no longer turn.
Cause and Solution: The outdated versions of combination locks are notorious for getting stuck, especially if they have been exposed to moisture or high humidity levels for long periods of time. Rust builds up at the base of the knob, and the corrosion will prevent the dial from turning as it should. You can try to remove the knob on your own to remove rust and corrosion, but if this proves to be a challenge, your best bet will be to contact a safe repair technician to handle the repair for you.
Problem: You put in the access combination and turn the lever, but the door refuses to open.
Cause and Solution: If you are positive that you are using the appropriate access code, carefully listen when you turn the lever to see if you actually hear the internal latch slipping out of the locked position. If you don't hear anything, it means that the small spring that controls the latch when you pull the lever has either broken or is overextended so much that it will no longer maneuver the latch inside to an unlocked position. A technician will have to remove the old lock to gain access to the safe and install new pieces.
Problem: Your combination only works intermittently.
Cause and Solution: If you constantly use the same combination and gain access only sometimes, it usually means that the keys of the combination lock are becoming worn. As you turn the dial of your safe to the correctly numbered code, small metal keys slip into grooves that will allow the safe to open with the right sequence. An intermittently successful code typically means that sometimes the right number is not pushing the appropriate key into place in the lock, which means a new combination lock system will have to be installed.
Owning an antique safe is an incredible way to keep your valuable protected, but without the appropriate servicing through the years, you can easily start to have problems. If you are having issues with your antique safe, talk to professionals like Mike's Lock & Key for advice.