It can happen to anyone. You’re fumbling for your keys only to realize they’re not where you thought they were. Having a lost mailbox key is similar to misplacing car keys in that both are equally annoying. It can delay you from having access to important documents until you can replace them.
If this happens to you, the important thing is not to panic. Provided a little bit of patience, there are methods that you can try that might open it up. Read further for some useful tips.
Don’t Break Your Mailbox!
To preface, avoid intentionally damaging your mailbox. Before you try out any of the suggestions, consult with your renter before altering the mailbox in a way that could lead to damages of any kind. They might have a spare that’s used for people in the event of a lost mailbox key.
This is of particular importance for people in apartment complexes that contain multiple rows of mailboxes. Many of them are attached to a master key that simultaneously opens all of the doors at once with hinges. If you mistakenly break it, you could inadvertently be violating the terms of a lease or end up with bigger issues than a lost key. With this in mind, here’s what you can try:
1. Use a Screwdriver
Depending on the lock, all that it might take for you to open up your mailbox is a bit of tinkering the keyhole with a screwdriver. Flathead screwdrivers work best for this. Gently but firmly push the screwdriver left to right, seeing if you can hit the correct chamber that completely turns the lock.
Don’t pry too hard on the locks if you don’t want to break anything. Neither should you force the screwdriver deep into the keyhole, which may break the entire locking mechanism. Go on to the next step if you don’t get any favorable results.
2. Use a Hairpin and/or Hex Screwdriver
The advantage of a hairpin lies in its frame. It’s thin enough to in some instances hit the correct locking mechanisms to trigger the rotor inside to turn. It might take a bit of effort, so don’t get frustrated. Slowly move the hairpin up/down and left/right.
If the lock begins to turn after positioning it at a particular angle, there might be enough pressure to move it until the entire door opens. If you have a millimeter-sized hex screwdriver with a handle, it might be sufficient to use it in conjunction with the hairpin.
3. Pry the Door Open at the Frame
For this, you will need both a flathead screwdriver and a hammer with a peak/claw (that’s the curved tip to the rear of the hammer’s face). Carefully push the screwdriver into the door, making sure to leave no scratches if you can.
Once there’s enough leverage for the flathead’s tip to get inside, the door should move just enough for you to get the hammer’s peak in. When that’s done, slowly push forward to the door by turning the hammer. If you’re lucky, the mailbox door will open up and you can retrieve your correspondence.
4. Try a Nail Filer
A screwdriver might be a bit too thick to turn the locking mechanism of your mailbox. In this case, a piece of metal that’s hard and thin may work. Use a nail filer by pushing it into the lock, then turning. Don’t aggressively turn the filer when it’s inside the keyhole or you may end up breaking it, jamming the other metal piece within the hole.
Don’t Get Too Creative! – The tips shown above are suggested for the likelihood of producing little to no damage to a mailbox. There are other ways to open a lock (such as using a drill and drill bit) but unless you can experiment from your ownership or at the permission of the renter, creativity is discouraged. Plus, a lost mailbox key doesn’t take long to replace.
5. Contact a Locksmith
If all the options stipulated above fail, this is your last resort. A professional locksmith can provide access to your mailbox, give you the personal belongings inside, and even fix damages incurred from attempting to enter the mailbox beforehand. For anyone that doesn’t trust their handiwork, it might be viable to skip the previous options for this step.
Mike Locksmiths – How We Can Help You
Don’t let a lost mailbox key frustrate you into causing damages to access your mail. Mike Locksmiths are available to you at any time, day or night, seven days a week. You’ll quickly gain back access to car locks, residential locks, and mailbox locks.