The lock of my suitcase works by having a bar through the holes of two zipper sliders, and having a lock controlling if the bar can be moved away from the sliders.

When I unlock the lock, I first rotate the lock to give it the pin number so that the bar becomes movable, and then pull the the handle on one side of the bar so as to pull the bar away from the zipper sliders. (In the following picture, the bar is hidden and the handle is the silver one on the left of the sliders, and I pull it to the left to move the bar away from the holes of the sliders.)

But today, after I gave the lock the pin number and when I pull the handle of the bar, I heard some clicking sound, and can't move the bar by pulling the handle.. I guess the clicking sound meant something went wrong.

  1. Is it possible to unlock the suitcase, so that I can retrieve the items inside?

  2. I would like to keep the zippers undamaged. Is there some way to pull the hidden handle away from the zipper sliders, so that the sliders can be released?

  3. Is the lock repairable?

    If not, can the suitcase be secured in some way after unlocking? (I think I will buy a lock to lock the two zipper sliders together)


enter image description here


3 Answers 3


First of all: To open it you can jam a pen in through the zipper, and get the suitcase open. It is possible to close up again, but be gentle when finishing it off. And of course it is better to actually get the lock opened instead of this hack.

To unlock it, if the code has changed, you either need to try all the different combinations. Or if you are lucky, you have a reset switch/button on the inside of the suitcase. Look for a small button or tiny hole of some sort.

If the lock is jammed or broken, you might have a bigger problem as you most likely need to apply enough force to unjam, but not so much force that it breaks...

  • If following your way to unlock my suitcase, can it be secured in some way in the future
    – Tim
    Sep 5, 2015 at 13:24
  • If you do it gently you can rezip it, but you need to take care and it could be a little loose. And you do need to get it unlocked. But thus approach is used by the customs to investigate suspicious luggage from time to time.
    – holroy
    Sep 5, 2015 at 17:27
  • How can I release the sliders from the hidden bar? (In the picture, there is a tiny slot right to the silver handle. It is revealed when I pull the handle to the outside. can it be useful in salvaging the handle and lock?)
    – Tim
    Sep 5, 2015 at 18:09

Perhaps a bit risky for the lock, but you could use a thin bit with a dremel tool and cut the bolt/pin hold the zippers together.
enter image description here

As you've stated, a small padlock between the zipper pull tabs would help secure it after the fact.

Holroy's suggestion of trying all the combos may also work if the lock isn't broken and you're patient/persistent; I estimate that there would be 1000 possibilities (10^3) for a 3 digit lock with 0-9 for each tumbler.


Why mess with the lock? I think, assuming that your suitcase has a regular zipper, that you could bend the crown out so that the pull tab would be locked, and it would be difficult to undo the zipper, but not impossible... Anatomy of a zipper
(source: seattlefabrics.com)

This has the benefit of not destroying anything (provided you don't bend the crown too much!) And allowing you to possibly have it repaired.

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