Locksmithing/How to open safe.

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Question
I have a Vanguard 2.0 fire safe which has been opening fine until now. I have only the first 3 numbers of the combination and have always just turned the knob back until it stopped for the final number and the safe opened fine. Now it won't. Are the tumblers sticking or can you offer a solution?
Thanks, James

Answer
James,

Unfortunately mechanical problems require "hands on" diagnostics and solutions.   Without having your safe here in my hot little hands, I have no idea WHAT the actual problem is.

In general there are ONLY three problems for a safe lock NOT opening, in order they are:

1.  Incorrect dialing sequence, operator errors,
2.  Incorrect combination, wrong numbers or out of sequence numbers,
3.  mechanical problems.

"IF" you have the correct combination, and "IF" you are dialing it correctly, then the conclusion would be that you may have a mechanical problem.

"IF" the safe has been opening fine until recently, then again it would point to a mechanical problem.

While you can keep dialing to see if it will open, chances are you have only two solutions:
1.  Have a safe technician from a local safe company come to you, to check the safe out, and open or repair it.
2.  Take the safe to a local safe company to have their safe technician check the safe out, and open or repair it.

Obviously field service is more expensive than your taking the safe to the safe company, but if it is a big safe, or you can not move it, then your options would be limited.

For home use, the safe should be serviced EVERY 3 to 5 years, OR at a minimum, when YOU start to notice a problem.   waiting until the safe won't open, usually isn't a solution.

Again, if you can't get it to open by dialing the correct combination correctly, then you will need a safe technician.

If you don't have a local safe company, then let me know where you are located (zipcode) and I'll see who I know or might recommend.

Sorry I can't be of more help, but this needs some "hands on work"!

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Terry V. Andreasen (Andy)

Expertise

Safe and Vault related Questions; Antique Safe Repair and Restoration; With over 42 years in the Safe & Vault industry, if I can't answer your question I know where to get the answer. Current Project: Restoration of an Ely Norris Cannonball Safe from the early 1900's. Will answer Safe & Vault related questions concerning age, value, restoration, moving, opening & repairing, parts, operation and history. Note: It is not my intention to teach you to open safes or to provide information which may aid in the unlawful opening of a safe. I will not give out drill points or information which I deem inappropriate.

Experience

44 years in the Safe & Vault Industry. Owner and Service Manager for one of the largest Safe & Vault companies on the West Coast. Graduate of Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing, Safe lock Manipulation and Safe Deposit Lock Courses. Graduate of Locksmith Institute. Certified Instructor for the California Locksmith Association teaching Basic and Advanced Lock Servicing, Basic Safe opening and Repairing. Factory Trained by AMSEC, LORD Safes, LeFebure, Mosler, KabaMas, LaGard and Sargent & Greenleaf Author of "The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes".

Organizations
SafeCrackers International and the National Antique Safe Association Safe & Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA)

Publications
The Coffee Table Guide to Antique Safes AllExperts.com

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Locksmith Institute 1972 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Servicing 1974 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Lock Manipulation 1975 Graduate Lockmasters Safe Deposit Lock Servicing 1985 Instructor Certified - California Locksmith Association - 1985 Factory trained by AMSEC, MAJOR, STAR, Johnson-Pacific, Kaba-MAS, Allied-Gary, ISM, Lord, Brown Safe, EXL, Mosler, Diebold.

Awards and Honors
2009 - 2015 - Listed in AllExperts Top 50 Experts. All Expert Categories - Safes & Security Containers, Locksmithing, Antique Safes. Retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer (CW4), with 39 years of total service. With numerous awards from Vietnam, Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. US Navy - 1971-1981 US Army Reserve 1984-2013 US Army Retired

Past/Present Clients
US Secret Service, FBI, BATF, Local Law enforcment agencies, Diebold, Hamilton Pacific, Red Hawk Int., Chubb International, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Mechanics Bank, El Dorado Savings Bank, many Credit unions and smaller banks. McDonalds, Togos, BurgerKing, TacoBell, Carls Jr. FoodMaxx, SaveMart, Lucky's, Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, NobHill, Bell Markets, PW Markets. Great America, Century Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, UA Cinemas, and many homeowners and small businesses. Provide warranty service for lock and safe manufactures. Service Area is Northern California (Fresno to Oregon and Western Nevada)

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