Having a properly working door lock is important for your security, but over time the door knob and the lock itself can become worn out. Before you replace the entire thing, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and easily fix a lock that is operating less than smoothly. Here are a few common issues people might face and what you can do to repair them on your own.

The Latch is Uneven

Sometimes, the door latch can become misaligned, and this is a simple fix. Over time, the door latch can stop reaching the strike plate, causing it to feel loose and making it feel as if the door is not shut and locked tightly. You can add a thin wooden shim underneath the strike plate or even add one more plate on top of the existing one to give it a tighter fit. Another option is to take the strike plate off, fill in any gaps with wood putty, and then reattach it. This should help to fill in any gaps that have occurred as a result of wear and tear and make the door close more securely.

Loose Knobs

As you enter and exit your house, the door knob will eventually get loose due to frequent use. By tightening the interior mortise in the lockset, you should be able to correct the problem. Loosen the screws on the shank of the knob, then turn the door knob gently until you feel it fit snugly into the door. Re-tighten the screws and test the knob out. This should help alleviate the problem. If it's still loose, take the knob off and get a look at the spindle inside. If this is worn out, you will most likely need to replace it. However, if your entire lockset looks worn out, you're better off just replacing the whole thing.

The Key Isn't Working

Sometimes you may find that your key is not working when you try to unlock the door. This can be caused by a number of different issues:

  • The key is turning but the door is not unlocking: This is typically because of a problem with the small parts inside of your door's lockset. You will need to disassemble the lock and look for any broken parts. Typically when an interior part of the locket breaks, the lock will no longer work at all.
  • Cold weather issues: In places where it can be extremely cold, your lock may actually be frozen. Heat the key up using a lighter and then slowly insert it into the lock. This should help to melt any frozen water that has gotten inside of the lock. You can also use a spray de-icer meant to dissolve ice that is used for door locks that freeze, and spray it directly into the key hole.
  • New keys don't work: If you've gotten a new set of keys and they are not unlocking the door, there could be some spots that need to be filed down. An easy way to determine this is to hold your key over a candle and let the soot turn it black. Then, insert the key into the door slowly and try to unlock it. When you're done, there should be some areas on the key that are shiny where the soot has come off. Those spots can be filed down, and your key should now work correctly.

If you are still having problems or cannot determine what the issue is, contact professional locksmiths, such as those at Agape 24 Hour Locksmith Columbia.