Door Lock Issues: Troubleshooting


Door Lock Issues: Troubleshooting

Feb 1, 2019, 11:59:07 AM Life and Styles

A door lock that just doesn’t seem to be working properly can be a real pain. Common lock problems like frozen or stuck door locks, latches that don’t latch and broken keys can really ruin your day. And not to mention that they tend to happen in the most inconvenient of times.

But the silver lining is that the majority of the door knob and lock related problems can easily be solved if you just manage to catch them on time before they grow into more serious hindrances. Here, we’ll explore some of the most common door lock issues and how to take care of them.

Lock won’t latch properly

If you’re trying to lock up your door, but the latch just doesn’t seem to be latching properly, it’s usually because the strike plate and the latch itself are not aligned. To try and fix this problem, you’ll first need to tighten the hinge screws and then adjust the strike plate. The strike plate can be adjusted if you loosen its screws which will allow you to slightly shift it.

However, if it still won’t latch, try closing the doors slowly so that you can see what’s going on with the latch bolt and strike plate. By carefully inspecting it, you should be able to notice what’s causing the problem.

Most common causes

The most common causes a latch won’t latch properly originate from the latch bolt being too high, too low or too off to the side of the strike plate. Usually, you’ll be able to tell which type of misalignment is at fault by inspecting the scars on the strike plate itself. Alternatively, the door itself might have shrunk (if your door is made of wood), which will significantly affect the alignment of these two parts.

Stuck deadbolt

Not only can stuck deadbolts be annoying, but they can potentially cause great inconveniences, especially if you manage to break your key while trying to unjam them. Usually, deadbolts get stuck either because they’re dirty or dry. So, if you notice that your deadbolt needs some extra convincing every time you try to lock/unlock your door, try cleaning it and lubricating it first – use graphite lubricant as oil-based lubricants will gum-up over time, and the residue is quite difficult to clean. If this doesn’t work, see if the deadbolt is properly aligned and realign it if it’s not. That should solve the problem.

What if you manage to break your key?

If you’ve managed to break your key while trying to lock/unlock your doors, don’t despair. Even though it is quite aggravating, retrieving your broken key is not too difficult. Your first course of action should be trying to remove the key part that’s still in the lock with thin, needle-nose pliers. If this doesn’t work, try removing the entire cylinder and pushing the key out. Once you get the key out, you should take it to a key-cutting shop and make an extra copy. For instance, this key cutting service in Sydney offers a fast, high-quality while-you-wait key cutting service that’s perfect for any emergency situation.

Loose door knob

It’s quite common that door knobs get somewhat loose over time. It’s not a big deal – loose door knobs can easily be tightened back up, but the process will vary slightly depending on the type of knob you have. It basically boils down to loosening the screws on the shank of the knob, readjusting the knob and screwing it back in place.

What will you need?

For this project, you will need a paperclip or an awl (sometimes even both), a flat-head screwdriver and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Sometimes, you might even need a special screwdriver for recessed hex-head screws, but those are usually featured on older door knob models.

Frozen door lock

In the winter time, when the weather is particularly cold you might find yourself dealing with a frozen lock. If you try to make it work by applying extra force, do know that you can damage your lock beyond repair. That’s why you should always first try spraying the lock with a lock de-icer and maybe even warming it up with a lighter. Lock de-icers are great because not only do the work very well when defrosting the locks concerned, but they are also alcohol-based so they are excellent at dissolving gummy dirt deposits and any other gunk that might be stuck in your keyhole or lock.

People usually don’t pay much attention to their locks and door handles until something goes wrong. However, with regular maintenance and just some extra care, you can make your door lock last for a very long time. Make sure to inspect and lubricate your lock regularly (twice a year will be enough) and take action as soon as you notice a problem, instead of waiting for it to get out of hand.


Published by Emma Lawson

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