3 Common Door Lock Questions and Their Solutions
One of the most underappreciated pieces of hardware in our homes is the door lock. From the front door of our homes to individual bedrooms, this little piece of security helps to keep us safe or ensures that the room’s contents can be secured inside.
There are many different types of door locks, including the newest hot seller, smart locks. These tech-driven devices offer unprecedented levels of control through wifi and smartphone apps while still performing as a door lock should.
But no matter if a lock is smart or “dumb,” each one is prone to issues at some point or another, no matter the cost. Most of these issues can be resolved without calling a locksmith. However, in the case of a seized lock or a busted tumbler, the lock will likely need servicing or replacement.
After all of our years of experience in the locksmith business, we’ve decided to list out the top three most common door lock issues and the most common solutions for a quick and easy fix.
How Do I Fix A Door Lock That Doesn’t Latch?
A door lock that doesn’t latch properly is usually caused by a misaligned strike plate. The strike plate is the small metal cover that is affixed to the door frame and has a precut hole in the shape of the door latch. As most residential door frames are made of wood, a naturally occurring shrinkage can happen that causes the strike plate to become misaligned from its original install position.
To diagnose this problem, look at the strike plate and see if there are any scarring marks where the latch is hitting. Next, use a screwdriver to loosen the screws in the strike plate and make small adjustments to the strike plate’s positioning. Once this has been adjusted, try to close the door and make note of where the latch lands. If the alignment adjustment fixes the issue, great! If not, the strike plate may need to be replaced. It’s possible to replace the standard strike plate with an adjustable version that slides on a small track.
How Do I Remove A Key That’s Broken Off In A Lock?
This one is an unfortunate but quick repair in most cases — in some cases, however, you may need to refer to a locksmith. If your key has broken off in your door’s lock and part of it is still visible, take a pair of needle-nose pliers and try to grab the end of the broken key. If you’re able to make a secure connection with the broken key, keep a tight grip on the pliers and slowly pull outward. Hopefully, this is the only thing you need to do to remove the key.
If the key is still stuck after using pliers or if there’s not enough key to grab, you can try to remove the cylinder. Once the cylinder is removed, a thin but stiff wire can sometimes be inserted into the cam slot to force the key out. If this fails, it’s usually best to take it to a locksmith.
How Do I Fix A Spinning Lock Cylinder?
When a lock cylinder is spinning, it usually means that the setscrews that maintain their position are loose or broken. In the case of a mortise lock, start by removing the faceplate if applicable at the edge of the door and locate the setscrews. In order to work properly, they need to be positioned in line with the cylinder’s center point. Begin tightening the setscrews by turning them clockwise. Once the correct vertical position had been achieved, replace the faceplate.
For a surface-mount rim lock, remove the cover’s screws. You should then see the setscrews which simply need a bit of tightening.
Need more advanced help? Our expert locksmiths can help with any of your lock troubles. Give us a call and schedule a lock repair today!