If you find yourself locked out of your mailbox, and even though you have a spare key hidden somewhere but you just can’t seem to find it, you can open your mailbox without a key.
How to Open Your Mailbox Without Key
Luckily, if you need to access your mailbox urgently, there are different ways to open your mailbox without a key and without destroying it. Here are methods and step to guide you below:
1. Prying the door open
One of the quickest ways to open a mailbox when your key is lost is to pry the door open. All you need is a claw hammer and flathead screwdriver or tools similar to these.
If the mailbox is not yours directly, ensure the owner or manager approves of this before going ahead with it. And, if not done properly, it can damage the mailbox door or other mailboxes around it.
Don’t try this on a mailbox with thin metal doors, as it is likely to bend or be distorted, hence making the mailbox unusable. While prying, you can place fabrics around your tools as against the mailbox to avoid scuffing or scratching the surrounding metal. Carefully follow this process:
Step 1: Work the screwdriver into the crevice opposite the hinged side. Pry continuously till there’s a resistance.
Step 2: Insert the claw end of the hammer into the opening you’ve created and take out the screwdriver.
Step 3: Make a quick leveraged force with your hammer and the tailpiece of your lock will sheer off so the lock can then be removed and replaced. The tailpiece will also need to be changed.
2. Make a Key
You can construct a make-shift key with a few simple tools like a paperclip or a bobby pin or a piece of metal wire.
Step 1: Insert the wire in the keyhole, wiggle it around until you feel it catch.
Step 2: Turn the wire until the lock opens. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, or you could damage the mailbox. You should be able to feel the lock give way as you turn the wire.
Remove the wire and open the mailbox. Carefully insert the hole opener into the hole at the top of the mailbox and twist until the wire pops out. Once the wire is out, you can open the mailbox door and take out your mail.
3. Picking the Mailbox Lock
A lot of mailbox locks use a pin tumbler system where several stacks of pins are raised to a particular height by the groove depths on a key. In picking the mailbox lock, you are trying to raise the pins to that height, tensioning the lock so the pins stay set in position.
You can use a tension wrench and a rake. With better your tools however, the faster the process will work.
Step 1: Position your tension wrench whichever way keeps it out of the way of your lock pick, the top or bottom of the keyway.
Step 2: Turn the tension wrench in the direction to open the lock, usually a left turn. As you apply light tension, insert your lock pick.
Step 3: From the back of the lock to the front, move the pick as you lower it and elevate it in the keyway.
After a minute, if it doesn’t open the lock, release tension and repeat the process
4. Drill a Hole in the Lock
Another quick way to open your mailbox lock without a key is drilling. You will need a screwdriver and power drill with a new drill bit, which should be a bit larger than the keyway.
Make sure, you have a replacement mailbox lock before you start. A bit of lock prep that’ll help make the process smoother can also be engaged. You can lubricate the lock with any type of spray lube.
Step 1: With a screwdriver pry off the keyway dust cover. Place your drill bit at the top of the keyway
Step 2: Drill through to destroy all pin chambers. Turn the lock using a screwdriver as a key
If the drill bit is weak or is forced too much, it may break off in the lock. So, be very careful as you drill it.
5. Find a Locksmith
Getting a locksmith saves you all the energy and time involved in trying all others to open your mailbox without a key..
Being that mailbox locks are not re-keyable, a locksmith is most likely going to drill and change the lock. Non-destructive entry into your mailbox is only an option when a spare key is still available or you don’t wish to replace the lock.
Are Mailbox Locks Secure?
From low security to the illusion of security, mailbox locks are somewhere in the middle. The mailbox itself is quite insecure, so having a high-security lock is uncommon. This is why beginner lock pickers, basic destructive tactics or prying can gain entry into most mailbox locks.