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    Sentry Fire Safe Won’t Open, It’s Broken! Can’t Unlock Fire Safe

    By Lighthouse

    Pictured above, a sentry safe that failed to open after the combination numbers were pushed and the little plastic piece that disabled it.
    So I called the sentry safe company, (800-828-1438), and waited for about 10 minutes to speak to a representative, (that was alright since I have a speaker phone). The first thing they asked me was about the condition of the batteries. I told them that they were brand new. The person then asked about the brand name and expiration date of the batteries. They were generic batteries, but the expiration date was fine. They suggested a new set of batteries, and mentioned that I could bypass the battery pack, (which sometimes fails), by unplugging the pack and using a regular 9 volt battery.. So just to cover the base, I went down to the store and obtained a brand new 9 volt duracell battery. I unplugged the battery pack and plugged in my new battery. I then pushed the combination numbers and my safe again failed to open.

    I called the sentry company back using my speakerphone feature again while waiting to speak with a technician. The tech asked me about the batteries and I told him it had a new 9 volt at the last technician's recommendation. The person began to talk about the actuator cylinder inside the safe, stating that it did not sound like it was actuating. Then they told me something that really made me wonder about the quality of this safe. They told me I would need to hit the safe with a rubber mallet in an attempt to get the actuator to engage so I could open the sentry safe. OK, so the safe is supposively built to keep my belongings safe from thieves and fire, but now I am going to fix it with a rubber mallet? Good thing my sentry safe was inside, somebody might have wondered about my mental state if they had seen me beating this fireproof safe with a rubber mallet! (PS: If you use the rubber mallet option or any other suggestions that sentry's customer assistance supplied, and have firearms or dynamite in your safe, you do so at your own risk, use wise judgement for your own safety)

    Well it just so happens that I had a rubber mallet and did not need to once again go to the store to get something to personally fix my great sentry fireproof safe. So I begin beating the upper middle door area of the sentry safe with this mallet and then tried the combination again. Woolah, It opened! I stopped for a moment and began to ponder how many other things I could fix with this magical rubber mallet. I mean, what about the TV, the computer, my fridgerator and that cell phone that always drops calls? Could it be that I have discovered the fix all to all mechanical issues? As I began to look at my belongings in my fireproof safe that I have just opened with a rubber mallet, I thought  "so if I close the safes door will I need a sledge hammer next time"?

    Time for another phone call, back to the speakerphone. The technician this time listened to my issue and asked me if I had some lubricant like WD-40 with a small tube that attaches to nozzle. I thought,  "well of course I do, I was just using that to fix the broken water pipe in the garage." The phone tech tells me where to spray the lubricant on the inside of the sentry safe door. He has me do this in the open and closed combination positions, and it's now opening when I press the combination numbers with the door open, hurray! The only problem is that after working in the lubricant a few times the handle on the door does not lock into the locked position. I no longer need the combination to unlock my safe, I only need a can of lubricant! OK, this is one really tough safe, what thief would ever think that they would need a rubber mallet and a can of silicon lubricant to open up a safe?

    Back to the speakerphone, this time a lady technician. She wants me to get a screwdriver and pry off the plastic piece on the back side of the door. At this point I said to her, you have built a product that I need to have a rubber mallet, a can of 3 in 1 spray lubricant, and a screwdriver to open? She stated that she was doing all she could to help me fix my safe and asked me how long I had owned the safe. I told her about 2 years and she stated that it was out of warranty. I thought, well who needs a warranty when they have a magical mallet, a can of black led, and a screwdriver? Anyway she directs me to pry the plastic backing off of the door and when I do this little piece of plastic falls out onto the floor. I look at this little plastic piece pondering in my mind, what's it's part in all of this. Well the technician is directing me to look at the arms and gears and some arrows that line up between the metal arms and plastic gears. What's wrong with that picture? Metal and plastic don't really work together long before the plastic breaks. I had to wonder for a moment, is this some really expensive fireproof plastic? The arrows line up and with that information she directs me to the area of the actuator again, she says "you see the circuit board" and a little white button that sticks out from it?" I said well yes, I see the circuit board and the little white button you are talking about seems to be laying on the floor broken off. So I picked it up and said, "this little broken piece of plastic that connects to the metal arm on the safe is why the safe does not work right?" She tells me yes that's the problem, that i have broken it and since it's out of warranty that there is nothing she can do to help me. But she then asks me to hold on for a moment…..

    She comes back to the phone sounding sincere, like she has just solved all my problems, and tells me that she has spoke to her supervisor and that they can offer me 10% off on any safe that I would like to purchase. I thought what great customer service, now they want to sell me another safe with metal and plastic pieces that break and give me a huge discount of 10%, and I bet it comes with a free maintenance kit which includes a polo stick, some lard oil, and a screwdriver on the rocks! Needless to say I declined their gracious offer.

    I will say that all the organizations personnel, (that I spoke with), were courteous and trying to be helpful, (that was within the realm of authority they were given). With a product such as this, and the great customer service I experienced, I thought it was probably best to find a safe that was free of little plastic pieces that break off, cause those plastic pieces won't save you 10% !

    A side note, recently I have received a couple of comments from someone who apparently holds stock in this company. He is trying to say that it's a fire safe and it's only supposed to protect your goods from fire. My first thought about that was; HELLO? Why would they put a key lock and combination lock on it then? I mean, are the locking mechanisms solely for the purpose of keeping the fire out of the safe? Then I thought some more, if this safe was in a fire, it would get hot, because it's not like a freezer inside, well except for those plastic parts and the plastic liner around the inside and around the door. What do you suppose might happen to those in a fire? I seen a stove recently that had some plastic on the door of the oven, high temperature resistant or not, it was melted.

    Topics: Kick It To The Curb | 271 Comments »

    271 Responses to “Sentry Fire Safe Won’t Open, It’s Broken! Can’t Unlock Fire Safe”

    Pages: [21] 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 111 »

    1. 271
      johnny Says:

      same here. mine wouldn’t open and i got the low battery sign to boot. so it was either i was going to open it or the battery would die before i could after entering in the code multiple times.

      took a rubber mallet to it. softly at first and then harder and harder. wd40 the handle. wacked it a few more times. and finally after a bunch of jiggling the handle, it finally popped open.

      i locked it again w/o closing it and tried to open it again and yup…it’s stuck again. pos. class action lawsuit..please include me in it. wtf.

    2. 270
      Laura Says:

      I’ve been repeatedly hitting this darn thing with a rubber mallet for the last hour…nothing. We are leaving on vacation soon and need our passports. I am now starting to panic! What a piece of crap! How can they continue to sell something that has so many complains. I see some people on here used cut part of the safe to gain entry. Can anyone tell me what part of the safe to take the saw to? I’m thinking that may be my only option to get in here!

    3. 269
      keydiver Says:

      Worked for me! Every time we entered the code, the display would show the “unlocked” icon, but there was no telltale CLICK. I tried dragging the safe out of the closet, and flipping it on its back, thinking that perhaps something inside was putting too much pressure on the door or jamming it, but to no avail. Thanks to this website, a couple whacks of the rubber mallet on the upper middle of the door (then resetting the batteries in their holder which became dislodged from the whacking), I re-entered the code and heard the familiar “CLICK”!
      I pulled off the plastic rear panel and lubed the solenoid, so we’ll see how long that lasts. I also noticed that its rather important that the handle be in the full UP position, so the mechanism doesn’t rest upon the solenoid while attempting to enter the code. I can’t imagine how many hundreds of people your website has helped in the past 5 years.

    4. 268
      betty Says:


      I am so happy I found this! I had put all my narcotics in my safe because workmen were coming over. Imagine how distraut I was to find I could not open it to get my pain meds out! I so appreciate your humorous posting that helped me get my meds out!


    5. 267
      Gina Says:

      I just tried the rubber mallet. It worked for me also! That is crazy but I am glad it worked.

      Thanks for posting this.

    6. 266
      Chris Says:

      This must be affecting 10′s of thousands of owners, and as such there should be legal action taken
      against Sentry Safe. If this was a vehicle the Feds. would be prosecuting. What is someone is raped or maimed or killed because they could not gain access to their weapon secured in this piece. If there is an attorney out there I hope someone will make Sentry address this.

    7. 265
      Todd Murray Says:

      Lol hitting it worked like a charm. Off to get a new, different brand, safe.

    8. 264
      George bahr Says:

      Sentry safe e .waiting to make police report.door fell off while opening.lots of valuable gone now what

    9. 263
      Richard Says:

      Thank you so much!!!! I purchased this safe at Costco several years ago and have not been able to get into it for years!

      After many hours over the years on support calls with the manufacturer, like most people, I was not able to open the safe. They were of no help.

      I stumbled across your blog and the whack with the mallet worked.

      Since Costco still deals with Sentry, I’m trying to get them to take the safe back, it’s useless to me now and has been since it failed about 2 years after I purchased it.

    10. 262
      Vernon Melton Says:

      I had to use a 9-volt battery and it didn’t open. Then I used a hammer and it still didn’t open. Then I had to use a hammer and a chisel to cut a hole in the front to open it. Do Not Buy a Sentry Safe! Buy a combination safe if you can find it.

    11. 261
      Diane Says:

      Thanks so much…..I woke up to my husband trying to open the Century safe. Same thing…code didn’t work/key didn’t work and my husband definitely doesn’t have the patience part to call and wait for someone to tell him something he already knows of course so we put in new batteries….and waited 1 min…then read your article and banged it on the front to wake it up and VOILA the code finally worked…..A pretty safe safe especially when YOU can’t even get into it!

    Pages: [21] 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 111 »

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