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    « | Love Advice | »

    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 | 316 Comments »

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

    Pages: « 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 » Show All

    1. 151
      Bill Says:

      Really enjoyed reading the humorous narrative. However,
      you really saved my life! Your system actually worked.
      We couldn’t get into the safe for days, and I was
      prepared to get a torch to open it. But, the rubber
      mallet did the job. In my case, there were no plastic
      parts inside, they were all metal. The Company is
      sending me a replacement solenoid which is defective.
      Hoping to get many more years out of this safe.

    2. 152
      Al Says:

      I LOVE YOU MAN! got it to open!!!!!

    3. 153
      tyler Says:

      Thank you for this great narrative. I been locked out of our safe for weeks. Called sentry waited five minutes hung up and then googled it. I saw your posting I skipped buying the nine volt thanks for that and went straight to worn truck for rubber mallet. Next thing you know safe is open. I too am also curious what else can I fix with a rubber mallet, screw driver and wd 40!

    4. 154
      shane Says:

      I am so tired of cheap crap what kind of company is this a safe has the name for a reason. I think there should be at least all metal parts in at least the locking mechanisms and that in order to protect the consumer the safe should never have an electronic actuator
      There should be standards of quality especially for safes no exposed hinges no plastic lock mparts and there should be a key and combination I guess for a real safe you need to pay thousands of dollars as for the stupid stock holder instead of defending the insults of a company for maqking the locks out of plastic I think he should demand they make it a bit higher quality

    5. 155
      Kim Says:

      OMG. I can’t believe this story. This thing cost a couple
      hundred dollars, has lasted me 4 years, and this is what
      I get to deal with now that the door is giving me trouble?
      What a joke. At least I know how to get into it when it
      completely fails. What do you do with a safe that’s
      useless? It’s not like you can recycle it. Junk company
      with their junk products. Pffft.
      Thank you for passing the info on…

    6. 156
      David Says:

      Too funny … I also changed the batteries last night, didn’t worked, and then saw your post this morning.

      I don’t have a rubber mallet, but my metal one did just fine !

      When I press the code, there is a click, but not as loud as before. The light says “Proceed”, but the handle failed to turn. As my safe is old (7 years old) and as I now live in Hong-Kong, the humidity got to it and it started to rust. Frustrated, I called a locksmith and started to hit the door with he hammer (right side, opposite as the electronic system) and it finally opened when I entered the code. However, the door doesn’t close anymore when I enter the code (but I have no intention to close it). I saved $200 locksmith, I’ll use it to buy another safe, a safer safe.

    7. 157
      Ward Says:

      Hahahaha… I’m a locksmith and our company sells safes, NOT SENTRY, because of these problems… Buyer beware. If you want to know something about an item before you buy it, call someone who has to deal with them on a regular basis. You think this stuff is flaky? Just wait a year or two and see how many people like the Weiser / Kwikset “Smart Key” syetem. Lose your keys? Buy a new one? Lock your keys inside somehow? Rip it off and buy a new one. Didn’t read the directions before you tried to rekey your locks? Buy a new one. Bought any of this stuff thinking it will work with the Weiser you have had on your doors for the last 50 years? Buy a different brand… Cheap, throw away hardware that requires no skill other than a screwdriver and a replacement lock. It may be cheaper, but so much stuff will find its way to the landfill. It is not worth the pot metal that it is made from…

    8. 158
      Penny Says:

      LOL, you made my day. I will try this method.

    9. 159
      David Stovall Says:

      I just bought a gun safe. I heeded warnings , do not get electronic locks. Get old tome dial combination lock.

    10. 160
      Adam Says:

      I had same problem, but got less help than you did when I called Sentry. I was never told about the rubber mallet trick, or any other way to open it. I was told that I would need to get a locksmith to open the safe for me. I wasn’t going to pay for a locksmith to come out and open a safe I would never be able to use again, so I just cut a hole in the top so I could get to the bolts to unbolt it from my floor (took less than 5 minutes, which makes you wonder how good it is at protecting your valuables if it is that easy to break into.) Then, I took it to the scrap yard and went away with a lesson…never buy a Sentry safe again.

    11. 161
      Sylvain Says:

      Thank god, I had the same problem with my safe. After reading this I decided to give it a try and went to bay a Rubber mallet. I hammered the middle top of the door and them tried my code and surprise, it worked. You just save me lost of trouble. I’m happy again.

    12. 162
      laurie Says:

      Thanks so much… rubber mallet worked like a charm. Loved your story. Thanks also for saving me the time from not having to call customer service myself!

    13. 163
      sad girl Says:

      You made me smile 🙂 Your story made me laugh. I have the same exact problem with the door handle. I did manage to get the safe open a few days ago by turning it upside down. Then the handle decided to engage. What a mess. But I did get out my engagement ring to return to my boyfriend. Kind of wish it had not opened. Now I will try to tend to it with the WD40, but as I have learned, when something does not work right, its probably better to replace it than to keep trying to fix it over and over. The treasures locked inside might never come out.

      RESPONSE: Relationships and Safes are two very different things, though they may both have keys, the key to love begins inside of you.

    14. 164
      BEVERLY Says:

      I’ve owned two bolted to the floor Sentury Safes without problem —
      until this morning when I really needed to get in it. No “click” I knew enough to change the batteries — still wouldn’t “click open.” So, I got on this website, and read about taking a rubber mallot and WD-40 — which I didn’t have. So, I thought about it a moment, and took my sneakered foot and kicked it a few times, tried the combination and, yes! The safe clicked open. Pretty scary. Time to rethink this whole “home protection” thing …

    15. 165
      RJ Says:

      I have the same safe and had the same problem in that it would not open. I could not here what I thought was an electromagnet (solenoid) working. I tried the mallet and it worked but now I will not lock it again (burglars skip this part) for fear it will not open. I will try to contact Sentry on Monday. I gotta say, it’s bad enough that the Chinese are getting all our money and all we have is stuff they made that doesn’t work, but now, that stuff cheap they made is keeping me from some of my money… what a joke. Sentry, I sure hope you make this right…
      talk to ya Monday.

    16. 166
      Eva Sandberg Says:

      I got same sh*t in Norway, trying to open, I was using ordinary hammer…. and it worked. Kicking from the top , pressing down. Thanks for all information. I would never thing that they can produce and sell so bad quality, never buy this product again.

    17. 167
      David Says:

      Hilarious Post by lighthouse, and Right On! I was having trouble opening our Sentry Safe, did the phone call thing, the phone rep was helpful, but nothing worked. I tried the rubber mallet trick, and bang!, the sumbitch opened. I tend to agree with the Locksmith poster: these Sentry safes, at least the under $500 ones, are freakin toys. I’m going to buy a real safe; don’t care what it costs.Glad I found this link and, help. There are pages of Sentry safe problems on the net; buy anohter brand, and buy a
      ‘real’ safe, imo. GL, D

    18. 168
      Mark Says:

      I am also a locksmith. All the above people bought their safes because they were CHEAP! When you buy cheap you get cheap. Everyone who wants the best security products need to go to a qualified security shop, ie. your local locksmith. They should have good quality product on the floor to see. You may pay two, three or even four times the cost of your sentry but the quality both of material and security (resistance to break in) will be there. We stock over 70 safes on the floor and constantly will have to compete with the Sentry, home centers quality safes. Even after seeing and hearing the difference 75% (that’s all of you) will walk out and buy the Sentry!

    19. 169
      Clisby Jarrard Says:

      Dude you,re the bomb. Two wacks with a rubber mallet and the safe opened. Thank you

    20. 170
      Gohar Says:

      Omg. You made our day! After days of trying to open the safe (including changing the batteries) we tried your “hitting method” and it worked! We used a men’s shoe instead cause we didn’t have a mallet Thank you.

    21. 171
      Paul Says:

      Did not have a rubber mallet, but just pounded it with my bare fist… worked great! Saved me a lock smith. Thanks!

    22. 172
      Brennan Says:

      Hilarious, and so true! thanks for the advice!!

    23. 173
      Tina Says:

      Haha, I look forward to trying this tomorrow. I’m thoroughly disgusted with my Sentry Safe. I wish now that I had opted for the other brand and purchased a gun safe. It would’ve served a wider purpose, plus it may have been better quality. I’m just so disappointed that it’s still so new, with a new battery, and teases me with the click that isn’t followed by an opening door

    24. 174
      Gary Says:

      I too was unable to get into my safe. Again! I decided to google for an answer and luckily found you article first. When I finished the article and stopped laughing, I said what the heck. With no rubber mallet, I hit the top left of the safe with my hand. It opened right up! Thanks for the entertainment and good solid information. Time to change safes as you never know when you might need whats inside.

    25. 175
      phil Says:

      my safe is only about 2 years old and already have the same problem. i love the 1-800 number that’s supposed to be open until 8 pm eastern time. it says the mailbox cannot take messages @ 7 pm eastern time. great customer service. thanks for the help. will not be buying sentrysafe ever again.

    26. 176
      todd Says:

      I have a sentry safe with a mechanical combination lock that will not open! I haven’t tried the rubber mallet method,but my frustration has reached the boiling point to try it. Oh, did I mention that my safe is less than 6 months old! It is made in china like everything else on the planet! Thats why there are no jobs in this country! Imagine that.

    27. 177
      doug Says:

      What a hoot. Our safe failed to open and Im sure I talked to the same sincere senty staff as you all did. As I was given this piece of junk they offered to sell me the solenoid $50. The safe isn’t worth 10 cents. Another post suggested removal of most gears and wheels and just use the key lock.

    28. 178
      Heather Says:

      I always wonder if remedies on the internet will work… this worked like a charm!
      Thank you for your post!!

    29. 179
      sherri Says:

      Thank you! I changed the batteries, tried to open my safe a million times, and it would not open. I took a regular hammer to the top left of the front door of it and holy you know what, it opened!!!

    30. 180
      doug Says:

      Dear Mark (locksmith) Your attitude is pathetic. I was given my piece of junk sentry safe. While you might have 7,000,000 different safes for sale where I liv e the only safe you can buy is a sentry. So Marky were not all 75% cheap.

    31. 181
      Doug Says:

      Thanks for the info. We had exactly the same problem.
      Hit the safe, keyed in the code, and it opened right away

    32. 182
      tbone Says:

      I had the same problem, unable to open the safe.

      The mallet trick didn’t work for me. Try flipping the safe

      The biometric never works. When I put the secure code in
      the unlock green light would lit up, but can’t pull the
      lever to open the door. I tried the mallet trick but that
      too didn’t work. I flipped the safe sideway and pushed it
      into my other room to be near the phone to call SentrySafe.
      Called SentrySafe, and the circuit busy message.

      I tried the same combination again, and lo-behold, this
      time it opened like a champ! So, my flipping the safe
      sideway may have dislodged the latches inside, which
      allows me to open the safe. Try flipping the safe side
      way and the put it back upright that may do the trick. It
      did for me! What a POS to put their brand name on!

    33. 183
      Steve Says:

      So yeah I tried a number of things before finding this post and read this article and the first two comments grabbed a hammer typed the code gave a little smack and viola…it’s open!

      Thank you!

    34. 184
      Pete Says:

      Amazing what a rubber mallet can do to one of these safes. I needed to get into mine for the family passports. It wouldn’t open. New batteries – twice, no luck. Started pounding on it and it opened. Now I have to get rid of this junk

    35. 185
      William Says:

      Really enjoyed reading this. Hilarious. Sounds like typical cheap corporate products. I was just looking at purchasing one of these safes. Thanks for saving me some money and aggravation. I will look at others.

    36. 186
      Thomas Says:

      After I got through laughing my ass off, I tried the olde BIG rubber Hammer and after the 2nd attempt…It opened!! You Rule. Happy New Year Dude!! From “Deli Dude” on You Tube!!!

    37. 187
      Kurt Says:

      HAHA…this trick worked like a charm….I’ll be sure to replace this safe soon.

    38. 188
      Ken Says:

      Amazing!!! I’ve had trouble opening the safe for the last several months and
      finally today it wouldn’t open at all. Replaced the batteries and still no luck! Discovered this
      website. Went back to the safe, banged the hell out of the top left front with my fists (feels like
      the front is plastic covered foam, so no need to worry about hurting oneself).
      Safe opened right up. At least ours lasted about 5 years before acting up. Reading all the posts
      made my day.

    39. 189
      mike k Says:

      got it open and now it wont shut WTF?

    40. 190
      Kenny Says:

      You post rocks! I love Google. You saved me big time.

    41. 191
      Joe Says:

      4-5 year old sentry safe, barely used wouldnt open. I tried everything including your mallet method and nada =(. Eventually the handle just spun around 360 degrees so at that point I went a bit crazy with the mallet….and then the crowbar….and 1/2 an hour later that door popped right off (literally)! I have 3 sentry safes and am beyond pissed. It just never occured to me that this company made junk! Buyer beware….

    42. 192
      Thomas Says:

      What ever you do, don’t try the rubber mallet trick on a new safe. I did, now i have a safe with a caved in top that want open. I guess I hit it a little to hard.

      COMMENT: Did you hit it in the upper middle door area of the sentry safe?

    43. 193
      John Says:

      rubber mallet worked…. how about that .. i really don’t want to use this thing anymore what good is a safe you can’t get into …

    44. 194
      ANDREA Says:

      Online Sentry wanted $35.00 for the same advice. THANK YOU

    45. 195
      Ann Says:

      Thanks so much. I needed my passport and the safe would’t open. Customer service couldn’t help me, but thanks to the rubber mallet I was able to open it. 🙂

    46. 196
      Thomas Says:

      Thank you! The rubber mallet worked great. Glad I did not have to waste time with the customer service.

    47. 197
      Angelena Says:

      OMG! Thanks for the laugh! Im gonna go try this on my
      safe right now.

    48. 198
      Bob Says:

      Thank goodness I’m not the only one! I’ve encountered the very same problem that lighthouse has most excellently described in the above post … Sentry Safe really should consider supplying a rubber mallet with every safe! Seriously; I’ve decided that I don’t dare entrust the care and safety of my most important documents, hard-drives etc.
      to my failing three-year-old Sentry Safe which uses many key components that are made from plastic, including the main cog which drives all the locking bolts home (it seems only a matter of time before the teeth become brittle and start breaking off). So I’ve disabled the code-activated locking pin with a suitable nylon cable-tie
      (a reversible solution, for those who are more cautious), which keeps it permanently in the unlocked position…I have no use for security which keeps even myself out! I’ve also eased the plastic holes which the locking bolts move through (using a narrow-bladed scalpel) because there was far too much friction where the bolts touched the plastic housing. This solution will suffice until I’ve saved up enough money to purchase a decent replacement e.g. a traditional fire safe which has a key, no plastic where it matters, which does not depend on electricity, and which has an all-metal mechanism. In my opinion this manufacturer are not only wasting people’s money and time, they are wasting the world’s precious material resources with poor quality, short-lived products which should by all rights last a lifetime. I’ll never buy a product from this company again.

    49. 199
      Cletus Says:

      We need to get a class action lawsuit. The number of people screwed by this is significant.

    50. 200
      Paul Says:

      I just missed my flight because of Sentry safe. Was on hold to customer service for 25 minutes and when someone finally did get on the phone, they were zero help. Same crap, “change batteries….hit it with a hammer…etc.” What a piece of junk! Had to change my flight since the only way in was with a grinder and pry bar. (took only about 5 minutes)

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