4 Tips to Troubleshoot Your File Cabinet Safe

A file cabinet safe can keep your high-value items protected from burglars. But, there are instances that even you will be barred from accessing these files. Yes, it’s possible to get locked out of your file cabinet.

It’s extremely frustrating to get locked out of your safe, especially if you need to access a certain file. You can always hire a professional locksmith to open the safe for you. But, it’s better to troubleshoot the problem and try to solve it on your own.

Here are a few simple tips on how you can properly troubleshoot your file cabinet. Let’s dive in!

Troubleshooting your File Cabinet Safe

  1. Dead Batteries

If your vault won’t open no matter what you do, the batteries are probably dead. Before you slam your safe for not opening, you can check and replace the batteries first. If you are using a vault with an electronic lock, this is one of the most common reasons why it will suddenly stop working. So how can you handle this predicament?

  • If there is an override key included, find the emergency lock. Use the key to open the safe. From there, you can access the battery and replace it.
  • For the safe with an external power supply socket, look for the socket on the safe. Get a backup battery and plug it in. Try opening the safe and replace the battery inside.
  • There are models wherein the batteries are found behind the keypad. Push it gently and rotate it clockwise. You can change the batteries and open the vault normally.
  1. Bolts are Jammed

The bolts on your vault or safe may also be the reason why it’s not opening. The bolts might get jammed for a lot of different reasons. One of these is the dirt or debris that has accumulated on the moving parts of your safe. You don’t need to worry because jammed bolt work happens frequently. Here is a simple guide on how you can open your safe:

  • Put the safe or vault in front of you and kick the door hard. Do it a few times, but make sure that you don’t kick the keypad and handle of the safe. This will be a big help in loosening the bolts.
  • Hold the handle and start pulling it. By doing this, you are releasing the extra pressure on the bolt.
  • Enter the code and wait for the mechanisms to open the vault.
  1. Damaged Wiring

The wiring of your vault or safe may get disconnected or damaged. If you’ve been using the safe for a long time, there is a chance that the wires are already damaged.

First, you should remove the keypad from the safe. Check for any loose or damaged wires on the keypad. If you noticed that the wires are intact, you just need to disconnect the wires from the keypad. After this, remove the batteries and wait for 20 seconds before you reconnect the wiring.

If the wiring is damaged, the best thing to do is to call a technician as soon as possible. If you know how to fix wiring problems, then you can do it yourself.

  1. Time Delay or Lockout Mode

Another possible problem on your vault, if it’s not opening, is the penalty lockout mode. It happens if you input the wrong codes many times. Depending on the type of file cabinet safe that you are using, it will emit a series of beeps. It means that the safe is currently in lockout mode. Instead of forcing the safe to open, waiting for about 10 to 20 minutes is the right way.

The Don’ts of Troubleshooting your Safe

You will surely be frustrated if your safe or vault is not opening. There are even instances where your patience will run out and you’ll just kick and slam the vault. It’s understandable, but it won’t help you open it.

If you don’t want more problems to pop up, here are some of the things that you should never do if your file safe is not opening.

  1. Don’t Throw or Slam the Safe

There are times when slamming the safe will work, particularly if the problem is a jammed bolt. But, this is not a wise approach if you are using an electronic safe.

Slamming the safe too hard might disconnect the wirings inside the vault. It might even damage the keypad. Before you start thrashing the safe, you should calm down and try to figure out the cause of the problem.

  1. Don’t Hit the Keypad

Even if you’re already annoyed, never hit the keypad of your safe. It won’t be a good idea to press on different keys at the same time as well.

The keypad is the part that gets easily damaged in a vault. Once it’s damaged, you’ll have a hard time opening your vault without a technician. If you press random keys on the keypad, it will surely go on lockout mode.  If this happens, it will take a couple of minutes before you can try to open the safe.

  1. Violent Entry

This is the last resort and you should never do it unless you want to completely destroy your file safe. With the use of tools like drills, crowbars, slim jims, and more, you can forcefully open the vault. By doing this, you are completely breaking the bolts and locks. Once the vault is opened, you won’t be able to use it anymore.


Troubleshooting a file cabinet safe is not too complicated. But, the key is to stay calm even if you are already annoyed. More problems will pop up if you let your frustrations take over.

You won’t have to call a technician. If you have a basic understanding of how your safe works, you can do it by yourself. You can just check the vault and troubleshoot the problem on your own.

It’s time to get a top-quality file safe that won’t jam easily is not too hard to find. You can view some of the best vaults and safes to keep your high-value items protected.