Your locks keep your home secure, and when they’re not working properly they can pose a security risk. While some issues can be fixed by a homeowner, others require professional Lock Repair services.
If a lock is stiff you can try lubricating it with graphite spray or silicone-based lubricant by applying the product and turning the key.
Dirt and Dust
When your business doors are opened and closed regularly, dirt and grime from outside can gather in the tiny lock chamber and cause the key to stick. Cleaning the chamber with a can of pressurized air can help remove loose dirt and dust. Using a dry lubricant, like graphite powder or crushed lead from the end of a pencil can also help the lock turn smoothly again.
It’s best to lubricate locks after cleaning them, but not with oily spray lubricants because they can attract more dirt and grime and clog the lock mechanism. Graphite powder or pencil lubricant can be purchased at hardware stores and is easy to apply by wiggling the key in and out of the lock several times to spread the lubricant throughout the chamber.
Door locks and handles can become loose over time, especially if the door is used frequently. While a loose handle or lock may seem like an inconvenience, it poses a security risk as intruders can easily open the door and get inside.
To tighten a loose door handle or lock, you can usually use powdered graphite or a silicone-based lubricant to fix it. However, if the lock is misaligned, you will have to disassemble the lock and manually reposition the strike plate or bolt pocket.
Over time, a door’s hinges can sag, leading to misalignment of the latch or lock bolt with the strike plate on the frame. Luckily, this is usually an easy fix by tightening the hinge screws. You will also need to reposition the strike plate to ensure that it rests flush against the latch and lock bolt.
Misalignment of the deadbolt with the strike plate can be caused by a number of things. The most common is a shift in climate conditions that cause doors and door jambs to adjust. Another is the natural aging of your door and its components, especially the hinges.
One quick and easy solution to this problem is a trick we call the lipstick test. Rub a bit of lipstick on the latch edge. Then, retract the latch and close the door. If the lipstick mark comes in contact with the strike plate, then this is an indicator of a misalignment.
You can lubricate the lock by spraying a dry lubricant like graphite spray or powdered graphite. Alternatively, you can also try tapping the lock with a bump hammer.
Key Stuck in Lock
Sometimes the key you use to open your home’s lock will simply get stuck inside. This is usually a sign that the plug part of your lock is not properly aligned with the shell’s chambers that hold the pins.
To remedy this, push the key into the lock and rotate it until you feel the shoulders of the plug start to move back to their normal position. This will allow the bottom pins to lift and loosen the key so you can remove it.
You can also try spraying WD-40 or another type of lubricant around the keyhole plug and the cylinder slot. A quick squirt of this substance should loosen any dirt and grime that has become abrasive to the pins, and should also clear up obstructions so they can be moved aside when you insert your key.
If a key breaks inside your lock, you can usually remove it with a few DIY methods. First, squirt the lock with a dry lubricant (such as WD-40) and try to grab any bits of metal that are still sticking out of the lock.
Another handy method is using superglue. Apply a small amount of glue to the end of a thin piece of metal wire or a toothpick and place it on the broken section of your key. Be sure to wipe away any excess globs of glue so that they don’t smush in the lock tumbler and damage it further.
Lastly, needle nose pliers can be used to grip the broken section of the key and pull it out. However, this method will only work if the broken bit of key isn’t too deep within the lock.