Here Is How To Open a TSA Lock When You Forget The Combination

Locked out of your suitcase because you forgot your TSA combination code or the seller didn’t provide it? 

Don’t worry!!

Forgetting a TSA lock code is a common problem. 

This can occur for several reasons, either by setting a combination that is easy to forget or losing the piece of paper where the combination is written down.

This post will show you how to reset any type of TSA lock the right way, whether it is a built-in TSA lock or a padlock.

It may take some time but with persistence I’m sure you will get things done.

Let’s dive right in.

close up photography of wet padlock
Photo by Nicholas Githiri on

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Reset The TSA When You Don’t Know The Combination

To reset the code for your new lock you will first need to open it, and if you don’t know the manufacturer code try these methods.

  • Using a default combination that is commonly used by the manufacturers

The most common default combination for locks used by manufacturers is “0-0-0” or “0000” for both TSA padlocks or built-in suitcase locks.

It is important to note that the combination may vary by the manufacturer, but if the manufacturer uses a different combination they should inform you rather than placing it inside the bag where you don’t have access to the instructions.

  • Contacting the lock manufacturer for assistance

If the manufacturer uses another combination rather than “0000”, you will need to contact them for help.

The manufacturer will typically have customer support available on their website to assist you and provide the combination.

They may ask for proof of purchase before providing the combination, so ensure that you have the lock and any other information handy before you contact them.

Open The TSA Lock When You Don’t Know The Code

If you changed your TSA lock code and forgot about it then it is a different story, and the “0000” won’t work.

However; you can still solve the problem with the trick in this YouTube video, the method in the video is called dialing and listening.

And it works for both the TSA built-in and padlocks.

  • Apply constant pressure on the shackle or the zippers, and start turning the dials, start with the one that do not turn smoothly
  • Keep turning the dials until you feel that it is less tight then proceed to the next number, find the one that is easy to turn
  • Apply the same for the rest of numbers, while always the pressure on the shackle, when you get the last one right and you are still pushing out the shackle it should open.

There are other ways though if the above video didn’t help.

What is special with the TSA locks is that they can be opened using a master key, and the TSA officers are only the ones that own these keys.

So if you are near an airport or you are already in it you could ask them to unlock the lock for you, even though this will not guarantee that they will help, especially if it is a suitcase that you need to unlock. 

Even though most of the TSA locks are not 100% are but the more resistant a TSA lock is to open the more security will provide.

In 2014 there was a leak of master keys when the Washington post published pictures of master keys and some guy took advantage of the images and printed 3D photos and moulded replicates of the keys, so you could find a copy of any key on eBay or other websites.


Another method is to try all the combinations from 000 to 999, this method may need some hard work and with a pen and a paper you will get it right.

It may take some time but it will guarantee that you open the lock, and if you already know one number you will save yourself plenty of time.

This method will work if you try all the combinations.

Reset The TSA Lock When You Know The Combination

Now as you know the combination.

To locate the reset button on a TSA lock, you should first look for any small buttons or switches on the lock’s body.

These buttons or switches are usually located on the bottom or the side of the lock and are often labeled with words like “reset”, “set” or nothing.

If the lock does not have a visible reset button or switch, you should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or contact the manufacturer for assistance.

Once you have located the reset button or switch on your TSA lock, you can begin the process of setting a new combination.

To do this, you will need to press and hold the reset button or switch while turning the dials to set your new combination.

Release the reset button or switch and test the new combination to ensure it is set correctly.

The exact process for this may vary depending on the specific lock you have, so you should refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for detailed instructions.

Final thoughts

If you just get your new suitcase or TSA lock the “0000” combination will work 95% of time.

If not give a shot to the dial and listen trick mentioned above, if none of the methods work for you it is better to contact the manufacturer to provide assistance.

One thing to remember is that the TSA locks are useful only so the TSA agent won’t break your lock if they want to open and search the suitcase.

They will not guarantee your suitcase to stay safe when you send it in check baggage.

For experienced, any type of lock is easy to open with a paperclip, or they could just rip the zippers to get inside the bag.

Do not place any expensive items inside your check baggage, the only way to guarantee that your items will be safe  is to take them with you all the time.

We hope this helps.

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