Every household faces different lock and key related problems that can be solved completely if attended before your lockset becomes completely non-functional. These problems may take place due to the malfunctioning of the locking mechanism or the latch assembly. Improper fitting of the door may also be the reason behind such problem. The lock mechanism may not work if your lock is dry or dirty. In such cases, the lock needs proper lubrication using graphite. Use of oils should be avoided because that will only worsen the condition. However, for more complicated lock and key related issues, it is always better to call an experienced locksmith.
A misaligned door latch is often the cause of lock malfunction. In such cases, the door’s latch bolt fails to line up perfectly with the strike plate. The repairing for misaligned doors may vary between making minor adjustments to the latch to complete repositioning of your door. The causes for misalignment are door shrinkage, and faulty positioning of the bolt or strike plate. Enlargement of the opening by filing the plate’s inside edges is the best remedy if the misalignment is less than 1/8 inch. In case of misalignment measuring higher than 1/8 inch, the first step is the removal of the strike plate. As per necessity, make sure the mortise is extended lower or higher. Finally, refinish the bottom and top with wood putty after replacing the plate.
Loose doorknob is another common reason for lock malfunction. To tighten the knob, hold it on the door’s other side and turn it clockwise until it is snugly fit. If this step fails, there may be a problem with the spindle. Replace the spindle if it is worn.
If your key is not working properly, try out the key when the door is open. If the problem still persists, lubrication and cleaning of the lock is sufficient. Otherwise, the problem could be with the deadbolt. Sometimes the key may turn, but fail to unlock the lock. This problem could be because the cam or tang is not engaged correctly with the bolt. During cold weather, you may have difficulty getting your key inside the frozen lock. Heat the key sufficiently before inserting it into the keyway and repeat this process until the ice melts away completely.
In addition to these, several serious problems may arise such as stuck deadbolt, key breakage inside the lock, turning of the entire cylinder, improper door latching, and much more. These situations are always better handled by professionals. The best approach could be to have all your lock and keys checked periodically by an experienced plumber.
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