How to open a deadbolt lock with a screwdriver?

  1. Deadlock bolts are popular for homeowners who want to secure their homes and property. If you accidentally lock yourself out of your home without a key, you can use a screwdriver to unlock the deadlock bolt. In this way, you can easily gain access back into your home.
  2. Homeowners are increasingly concerned about the security of their homes, and they spend a lot of time searching for the perfect lock to prevent unwanted guests from entering. However, what happens when you lose or forget your keys and can’t reach a locksmith? In such a situation, you can use a screwdriver to pick up the deadbolt lock and gain entry into your home.
  3. To unlock a deadbolt lock using a screwdriver, insert the rough end of a bobby pin into the keyhole, and place the small, flat-head screwdriver under the pin. Move the bobby pin up and down the keyhole, and glide the screwdriver between the edges of the pin, making sure it keeps the tumblers upwards. Finally, twist the screwdriver to unlock the deadbolt.
  4. Before attempting to pick a lock, it is crucial to understand the basic principles of lock picking. This involves opening a lock by examining its elements and identifying and exploiting any loopholes in the design.
  5. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to open a deadbolt lock if you become locked out of your home. Although lock picking can be challenging for beginners, the tools outlined in this guide can help you get started.
  6. It is important to remember that lock picking should only be used in emergencies, such as when you are locked out of your home. Misusing this skill or attempting to pick locks you do not own is illegal and can result in serious consequences.

Understanding The Deadbolt

The security of your home and loved ones should be a top priority, especially with the increasing burglary and theft rates nationwide. Installing a deadbolt lock is an efficient and cost-effective way to secure your entryways, making it more difficult for criminals to break in.

While different types of deadbolts are available, this guide will focus on opening a simple deadbolt using a screwdriver, a common tool found in most households. The most common type of lock found in a single-cylinder deadbolt is a pin-tumbler lock. This type of lock has pins of different lengths, which only allow a specific key to fit and release the pins to open the lock.

  • Cylinder: The cylinder is the primary component of a single deadbolt lock that houses the pins and keyhole. When a key is inserted into the cylinder, it manipulates the pins to either lock or unlock the deadbolt. As the key is turned, the pins move in a particular direction, and a ‘click’ sound signifies that the deadbolt has been locked. Conversely, rotating the key in the opposite direction unlocks the deadbolt.
  • Bolt: The bolt is a metal bar that is released when the deadbolt is locked. When the deadbolt is locked, the bolt extends through an opening into the door frame, providing additional security to the lock.
  • Deadbolt Plunger: The deadbolt plunger, also known as the deadlocking plunger, is a critical part of the lock mechanism that ensures that the bolt cannot be moved, preventing unauthorized entry. This feature eliminates the possibility of opening the deadbolt with a credit card or similar tool.
  • Box and Strike Plate: The box and strike plate reinforce the strength and solidity of the deadbolt lock. It is essentially a hole in the door frame extending to allow the bolt to adjust when the lock is engaged.

How to Open a Deadbolt Lock With a Screwdriver

After learning about the components and mechanism of a deadbolt lock, you are now ready to proceed with unlocking it. The objective is to use a screwdriver to raise the set of tumbler pins and align them with the pattern on the lock’s inner top. This will enable you to pick the deadbolt lock and gain access to your door.

To successfully unlock a deadbolt lock with a screwdriver, follow these steps:

  • Gather the necessary tools, including a bobby pin and a slim, flathead screwdriver. The recommended type of screwdriver is used for eyeglass repair, as it is less likely to cause damage to the deadbolt.
  • Identify the type of lock you are dealing with, as this will determine the time needed to pick it up. Pin and tumbler locks are the most commonly used in residential and commercial areas. However, the main goal for any lock-picking attempt is to replicate the key’s action.
  • Straighten the bobby pin by bending it until it becomes completely straight. Next, insert the bumpy end of the bobby pin into the keyhole of the deadbolt lock.
  • Insert the flat head of the screwdriver into the keyhole, just below where the bobby pin is placed. It is important not to insert the screwdriver too far as it will obstruct the bobby pin’s movement in and out of the keyhole.
  • Manipulate the tumbler pins inside the lock by moving the bobby pin up, down, in, and out of the deadbolt’s keyhole.
  • While moving the pins, use the screwdriver to slide the edge between them. Ensure the screwdriver tip is long enough to keep all the tumblers up.
  • After getting all the tumblers inside the lock-up, twist the screwdriver to unlock the deadbolt. By following these steps, you will likely succeed in a single attempt.

In case you don’t succeed on your first try, try varying the angles and combinations of moving the bobby pin to influence the pins. Apply more force with the screwdriver than before and exert additional pressure while twisting.

If your initial attempt is not successful, attempt to change the angles and combinations of bobby pin movements to influence the pins. Increase the force with the screwdriver and apply more pressure when twisting.

Other Methods for Unlocking Deadbolt Locks

Although a small screwdriver is a common tool to open a deadbolt lock, there are alternative methods you can try if you find yourself locked out without a key. One option is using two bobby pins instead of just one. Insert the closed end of one bobby pin into the bottom section of the keyhole and break the second bobby pin in half to use in the top portion of the keyhole.

Move the second bobby pin back and forth to set the pins and release the deadbolt. If this method doesn’t work within the first few minutes, remove the first bobby pin and reinsert it before trying again. If you don’t have bobby pins, you can use any small, thin piece of metal, such as a heavy-duty paper clip.

Another method is using a “bump key” to unlock the deadbolt. Lock bumping has been a popular method for opening deadbolts without a key for many years. To use this method, you need to purchase a bump key set, which can be found in hardware stores, Walmart, or online retailers.

Insert the bump key into the deadbolt keyhole and use a sturdy-ended tool, like a hammer or screwdriver, to hit the key towards the door. The force should turn the key and unlock the deadbolt. Note that if you use the bumping method, it’s best to replace the entire lock as it may cause damage to the internal mechanisms and make it harder to unlock the deadbolt with the original key.


Knowing your deadbolt lock type is essential for successful lock picking. The pin tumbler lock is the most commonly used in residential and commercial settings. It comprises key pins, springs, plug, and driver pins that are manipulated by the key to unlock or lock the device.

If you find yourself locked out of your home without a key, you can use improvised lock-picking tools such as paper clips, bobby pins, screwdrivers, and even a bump key. The primary objective is to mimic the original key’s function with your tools to gain access to your home.

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