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How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside (7 Easy Steps)

How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside

How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside, Simply push down on the push bar and push open the door. Welcome!

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to unlock a push bar door from the outside, worry not! This guide will provide you with a quick and easy solution. Push bar doors, commonly found in commercial establishments, are designed for swift exit in case of emergencies.

However, unlocking them from the outside may puzzle some individuals. In this article, we will share a simple technique that will allow you to unlock the push bar door effortlessly. Whether you are locked outside a building or assisting someone in need, these instructions will help you retrieve access without any hassle. So, let’s dive straight into it!

How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside

When you’re faced with a push bar door from the outside, getting in can be a challenge if you’re not armed with the right information. Unlocking these types of doors may seem tricky, but with a bit of knowledge, it’s entirely doable. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps and tools needed to unlock a push bar door from the outside, ensuring you can access any area without hassle.

  1. Flathead screwdriver
  2. Hex wrench set
  3. Needle-nose pliers
  4. Slim jim or a wire coat hanger
  5. Rubber mallet
  6. Lubricating spray (e.g., WD-40)

In-depth SEO Article: How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside

When faced with a locked push bar door from the outside, gaining access can seem daunting. Often found in commercial buildings and emergency exits, these doors are designed for safety and quick egress. Still, there might be instances when you need to open one from the outside. Whether you’ve been locked out or need access for maintenance, this guide will provide step-by-step instructions to tackle the challenge.

How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside

Step 1: Assess the Situation

Before proceeding with any unlocking techniques, take a moment to understand the type of push bar door you’re dealing with. Examine the door for any visible screws, bolts, or brand names. This can provide clues about the internal mechanism and the approach you need to take.

Step 2: Safety First

Make sure the door is not connected to any alarms that may trigger when tampered with. Disabling emergency exit alarms temporarily is crucial to prevent unnecessary commotions or potential legal implications.

Step 3: Use the Screwdriver

Some push bar doors may have an external access point or a small cap that can be pried open with a flathead screwdriver. If this is the case:

a. Locate the cap or access point.

b. Carefully insert the flathead screwdriver and turn it. This might allow you to push the internal mechanism and release the door.

Step 4: Hex Wrench to the Rescue

If the push bar door is fitted with an Allen bolt or hex screw:

a. Select the correct size hex wrench.

b. Insert it into the bolt and turn counterclockwise.

c. This action might disengage the lock, allowing you to push the bar and open the door.

Step 5: Try the Slim Jim

Much like unlocking cars, a slim jim or a straightened wire coat hanger can be slid down between the door and the frame. Gently feel around for the internal latch mechanism.

a. Once you’ve located the latch, hook onto it and pull it up. b. Push the door open simultaneously.

Step 6: Lubricate if Needed

If the door seems jammed or the mechanisms are too tight, use a lubricating spray like WD-40. This can help ease any friction, making the unlocking process smoother.

Step 7: Seek Professional Help

If all methods fail, it’s best to consult with a professional locksmith. They possess the required tools and expertise to unlock push bar doors without causing damage.


Unlocking a push bar door from the outside requires patience, the right tools, and a systematic approach. While this guide offers comprehensive methods, always remember safety comes first. Ensure you’re authorized to tamper with the door and be aware of any connected alarms. If in doubt, seeking professional assistance is always the best route.

Assessing The Locking Mechanism

When faced with a push bar door from the outside, it’s important to understand the locking mechanism in order to unlock it effectively. By identifying the type of push bar mechanism and inspecting the door for any additional locking systems, you can navigate the situation with ease.

Here are some key points to remember:

Identifying The Type Of Push Bar Mechanism

  • Look for a horizontal push bar: Some push bar doors are equipped with a horizontal bar that spans the width of the door. This type of mechanism typically requires downward pressure in order to unlock the door.
  • Check for a vertical push bar: In other cases, the push bar may be vertical, running from top to bottom. This type often requires pushing against the bar in a forward motion to disengage the lock.
  • Take note of any other unique push bar configurations: Some push bar doors may have a combination of horizontal and vertical bars or include additional buttons or levers. Familiarize yourself with the specific layout of the push bar mechanism.

Inspecting The Door For Additional Locking Systems

  • Look for keyholes or locks: In some instances, push bar doors may feature key-operated locks in addition to the push bar mechanism. Check for any visible keyholes on the door surface or nearby.
  • Examine the surrounding area: Take a closer look at the door frame and surrounding area to see if there are any additional locking mechanisms. This might include deadbolts, padlocks, or electronic keycard systems.
  • Consider consulting the building owner or manager: If you’re unsure about the presence of any hidden or unconventional locking systems, it’s best to reach out to the building owner or manager for further guidance.

Remember, successfully unlocking a push bar door from the outside requires a clear understanding of its locking mechanism. By identifying the type of push bar mechanism and inspecting the door for any additional locking systems, you can navigate the situation with confidence and ease.

Utilizing Common Tools To Unlock A Push Bar Door

When you find yourself locked out and need to access a push bar door from the outside, there are a few simple methods you can try before calling for professional help. With just a credit card or plastic shim, or by employing a tension wrench and pick set, you may be able to unlock the door and regain entry.

Let’s explore these techniques further:

Using A Credit Card Or Plastic Shim

  • Slide the card or shim into the gap between the doorframe and the push bar.
  • Apply slight pressure towards the latch to bend it inward.
  • While maintaining pressure, move the card or shim upwards to simulate the motion of unlocking the door.
  • Repeat the process, adjusting the positioning and pressure as needed.

Employing A Tension Wrench And Pick Set

  • Insert the tension wrench into the lower part of the keyhole, applying slight pressure in the direction the key would turn.
  • Insert the pick into the upper part of the keyhole.
  • Gently rake the pick in and out while simultaneously applying rotational pressure with the tension wrench.
  • Move the pick from front to back, feeling for the pins and manipulating them into the unlocked position.
  • Once all the pins are set, turn the tension wrench to unlock the door.

By following these methods, you can attempt to unlock a push bar door from the outside without the need for professional assistance. Remember to exercise caution and always have proper authorization when attempting to unlock any door.

Additional Tips And Precautions For Push Bar Door Unlocking

Unlocking a push bar door from the outside can be a crucial skill to have in emergency situations. In my previous sections, I have already covered the main techniques and steps involved in unlocking a push bar door. However, there are some additional tips and precautions that you should keep in mind to ensure a safe and successful unlocking process.

Let’s delve into these important points:

The Importance Of Contacting Professionals When Necessary

  • When faced with a difficult or complex push bar door unlocking situation, it is essential to contact professionals. They have the expertise and tools to handle such scenarios with utmost care and precision.
  • Professionals can assess the situation thoroughly and determine the most appropriate method for unlocking the push bar door without causing any damage to the door or compromising safety.
  • Attempting to unlock the door yourself may lead to further complications or even endanger those inside the building. So, always consider seeking professional help when needed.

Proper Maintenance To Prevent Emergency Situations

  • Regular maintenance of push bar doors is crucial to prevent emergency situations. Make sure to inspect the doors periodically for any signs of damage, wear, or malfunction.
  • Lubricate all moving parts, such as hinges and latches, to ensure smooth operation and ease of unlocking.
  • Check the batteries in any electronic components, such as exit devices or alarms, to ensure they are functioning properly. Replace batteries when necessary to avoid any potential issues during emergencies.

Effective Communication During Emergencies

  • In emergency situations, clear communication is of utmost importance. Establishing an emergency response plan and educating everyone in the building about the steps to follow during such events is essential.
  • Ensure that clear signage indicating the location of emergency exits and push bar doors are placed throughout the building. This will help individuals navigate to safety quickly.
  • Regularly conduct drills and practice evacuations to familiarize occupants with the process of unlocking and using push bar doors, ensuring a smooth and efficient evacuation during emergencies.

Ultimately, by following these additional tips and precautions, you can enhance your understanding of push bar doors and maintain a safer environment within your building. While being prepared and knowledgeable is important, always remember to contact professionals when faced with challenging situations or if you are unsure about the proper techniques for unlocking a push bar door.

Stay safe!

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside

Can you install a gooseneck hitch yourself?

you can install a gooseneck hitch yourself, but it requires some mechanical skill and the right tools. Before starting, always read the manufacturer’s instructions specific to your vehicle model. It’s essential to ensure proper placement and safety. If you’re not comfortable with the process, consider seeking help from a professional or someone with experience.

How do you lock a push lock door from the outside?

Push-lock doors typically have a small button or knob on the interior side. To lock the door from the inside, you simply push this button. When trying to lock from the outside, it might require a key or another specific tool to turn a corresponding lock mechanism. Always ensure you have the necessary key or tool with you before leaving.

How do you unlock a locked door from the outside?

Unlocking a locked door from the outside usually involves using a key for standard doors. However, for specific types of locks or doors without a traditional key mechanism, you might use tools like a slim jim, wire coat hanger, or even specialized picks. If you’re not confident in your skills or the door appears complex, it’s always best to contact a professional locksmith.

How do push bar doors work?

Push bar doors, often found in commercial buildings and emergency exits, are designed for quick and easy egress. They feature a horizontal bar (the push bar) that runs across the door. When someone pushes against this bar, it activates a mechanism that releases the lock, allowing the door to open. This design ensures that in emergencies, many people can exit rapidly without fumbling with knobs or handles.

How do you lock a push bar door with an Allen wrench?

Some push bar doors have a hex screw or Allen bolt that can be used for locking or adjusting the mechanism.
To lock such a door:
a. Locate the Allen bolt on the door mechanism.
b. Insert an Allen wrench of the appropriate size.
c. Turn it as per the manufacturer’s instructions (usually clockwise) to engage the lock.
Ensure you’re familiar with the door’s operation to avoid accidentally locking or preventing access when it’s not intended.

How Can I Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside?

To unlock a push bar door from the outside, you can either use a credit card or a thin, flat object to slide between the door and the frame. Gently wiggle the card downwards in the gap between the latch and the frame.

This should unlock the door.

Can I Use A Coat Hanger To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside?

Yes, you can use a coat hanger to unlock a push bar door from the outside. Straighten the hanger and create a small hook at the end. Insert the hook into the gap between the door and frame, then maneuver it to pull the latch towards you.

This should release the door and allow you to open it.

Is It Possible To Unlock A Push Bar Door From The Outside Without Any Tools?

If you don’t have any tools, you can still try using your hands to unlock a push bar door from the outside. Grab the push bar firmly and pull it towards you. Apply pressure while shaking the door slightly to disengage the latch and unlock the door.


To sum it up, unlocking a push bar door from the outside may seem intimidating at first, but with the right knowledge and technique, it can be done easily and efficiently. Remember to approach the task calmly and cautiously, assessing the situation and determining the best method for your specific door type.

From using a coat hanger or credit card to employing specialized tools like a push bar door opener, there are various options available to you. Practice these methods in non-emergency situations, and you’ll be prepared to tackle any lock-out situation that may arise.

Taking the time to understand the mechanism of push bar doors and familiarizing yourself with the different methods of unlocking them will not only save you time and frustration, but also ensure the safety and security of yourself and others.

So, next time you find yourself locked out, worry no more – you’ve got the knowledge to unlock that push bar door like a pro.