Does Lock Picking Break Locks?

If you’ve misplaced your lock keys, lock picking is one option you want to consider. And while it’s helpful, you’re probably unsure of your lock’s status after picking it. I get it; it’s okay to be worried—after all, some quality door locks do not come cheap.

If you’re wondering if your lock can still function correctly after picking it, this article contains every piece of information you need. Let’s get started!

Does picking a lock break it?

In short, lock picking does not break locks but could do some damage if poorly done. Having a locksmith pick your lock could help prevent any harm.

That said, if you’re interested in learning more about lock-picking, this article contains more valuable information for you. Let’s dig deeper!

How Do You Pick a Lock Correctly?

Does Lock Picking Damage Locks

To pick a lock the right way, you need to get the tools. Here are the basic tools for lock picking:

Lock Pick: This tool is used to push a lock’s pins to the shear line, which is part of the lock picking process.

Tension Wrench: This tool comes in an L shape, and it’s used for rotating the plug in a lock as the key does. It also holds the pins at the shear line during picking to prevent the pins from returning into the plug.

Now that you have all the tools, here’s how to pick a lock correctly:

  • Step 1: Insert your wrench into the keyway and try to exert a little pressure towards the direction you turn the original key—usually clockwise. Ensure you don’t force the wrench in the direction of turning a key, you only need to apply a bit of force.
  • Step 2: While holding your wrench as described in step one, insert your rake pick into the keyway and push it up to the back of the lock.
  • Step 3: Using your rake, apply pressure on the pins—this should be upward of the pins. Next, snap the pick out gently. Ensure you bump all pins on your way out.
  • Step 4: If the above steps are correctly done, most of the lock’s pins will set at the shear line and the plug will also rotate slightly. You may not notice this rotation if you’re a beginner, so proceed to the next step.
  • Step 5: You need to scrub the lock’s pins again by inserting a pick into the keyway to the back of the lock. So repeat step three until all the pins are set and you can notice that clearly.
  • Step 6: You should be able to open the lock after the scrubbing, which will set the pins. If your lock is still not open after this, release the pressure off the wrench to see if the pins will drop. If there’s no drop, it means you probably applied much pressure on the wrench and you may have to repeat the entire process.

Note: There are other methods and advanced tools for lock picking, mostly used by locksmiths. But we’ve presented the most simplified way to pick a lock, especially for beginners. If you’re not able to use this method to pick your lock, we advise you to get a locksmith for a proper picking that won’t damage your lock.

Is Lock-picking Illegal?

Anyone can learn lock picking, own locking picking tools, and as well pick locks. The process isn’t illegal as long as you don’t do it with any malicious intent.

Misplacing keys can happen to anyone, and you’d be locked out if you don’t have the keys to your front door. This is where lock picking comes in. If you could pick a lock and you have the right tools, you can quickly put them to work and regain access to your home. Alternatively, you can get a licensed locksmith to pick your lock.

However, lock picking is one method used by burglars, the reason some people see it as a criminal act. So lock picking is not without downsides, but that doesn’t make it illegal.

In most States/Countries, anyone may own lock picking tools while a few others allow only licensed locksmiths to carry out lock picking. So depending on where you live and the laws, lock picking could be legal or illegal for individuals. See lock picking rules per State in the US.

How to Know if Your Lock Has Been Picked?

As mentioned, lock picking is also used by intruders to carry out nefarious acts. If you suspect your lock might have been picked, here’s how to verify:

1. Key Turning Difficulty

If you could turn your lock easily to lock it while leaving the home but difficult to open it on your return, it’s a sign that your lock might have been tampered with. Your lock may give you a hard time to lock and unlock when a wrong key is used to break in.

Of course, burglars have bump keys and lock picking tools that could alter a lock’s pins, making it difficult to lock and unlock with the original key. You should immediately change your keys if you experience this. Read more about securing your front doors.

2. Scratches on Your Deadbolt

An attack on your door could leave your keyhole with visible scratches as the burglar struggles to use his lock picking tools. If your lock has no scratches and you eventually notice some, it’s a sign that someone tried to pick your lock.

So always check your lock and if you notice suspicious scratches, get a replacement as soon as possible. Read more about forced entry attempts.

3. Missing Spare Keys

While this may not be directly connected to lock picking, missing spare keys could also indicate that someone is trying to break into your home and this can happen without traces if you don’t check your spares. Burglars may get your key, rekey, and use them to break into your home.

If you’ve misplaced your spares, a rekey may not be the best option. Instead, get a new key to prevent any unauthorized entrance.

FAQs About Lock Picking

Is it legal to buy a lock pick set?

Generally speaking, anyone can own lock picking tools, but it’s been regulated in some States in the US. So check to see if you’re allowed to own lock picking tools before you go for them.

Can you pick a smart lock?

Lock picking is done via a keyhole, so smart locks with keyholes can be picked. But they’re smart locks without keyholes, and those can’t be picked.

What household items can you pick a lock with?

Screwdriver, hairpin, and paper clip are some common home items that can be used to pick a lock. However, you may need to be skillful in the lock picking art to use the tools effectively.

What locks cannot be picked?

All locks with keyholes can be picked, but those with advanced pick proof features such as Smart Key Security. But keep in mind, lock picking has advanced methods that may bypass any security as long as the lock has a keyhole. So locks that can’t be picked are those without keyholes.

Can a Medeco lock be picked?

All locks with keyholes can be picked, so are Medeco locks. However, most Medeco locks are equipped with six pins and an anti-pick shield that makes them very difficult to pick.

To Conclude

You probably found this post based on this search query—’does lock picking break a lock‘? Of course, we did provide a succinct answer above.

To recap, lock picking won’t break your lock if done correctly. But the reverse may be the case if it’s not done correctly. While lock picking is a DIY thing, you want to have a locksmith pick your lock if you’re not sure of doing it correctly.

Also, some Countries/State laws do not permit individuals to own lock picking tools. If this applies to you, getting a locksmith to pick your lock is your best bet.