Like everything else, door locks don’t last forever. You may find one day that your door isn’t closing properly or that the lock isn’t working correctly. You may need to repair the lock or get it replaced. If your outer door lock is broken, it’s not something you want to wait on. Get on the problem right away, as broken locks can jeopardize your safety.
Sometimes the problem is an easy one to fix, and homeowners with a few DIY skills and the proper tools can fix it themselves. In that case, do a little research and a trip to the hardware store for the right tools may be necessary. Some lock problems are not that complicated and a savvy homeowner can fix it easily.
If you find that the problem is out of your range of expertise, however, or you’re just not up to the task, call on a local locksmith for help. Locksmiths have been around since locks were invented – a good hundred years or more – and they know a thing or two about locks.
Calling a local locksmith will ensure a speedy response, and will probably be cheaper for you in the long run. A locksmith has the skills and tools to quickly and accurately fix the problem and make your home secure again. When in doubt, call on your local locksmith for emergency door repair.
If you’re into DIY, here are three of the most common lock problems and how to fix them yourself.
1. The Door Lock Isn’t Latching Properly
If your door lock isn’t clicking into position, it’s probably because the latch is out of alignment with the strike plate. The first thing to look at is if there are any loose screws in the strike plate or the door’s hinges. Use a screwdriver to adjust and tighten the screws.
2. The Key isn’t Turning in the Lock
You’ve probably already tried this, but check to make sure you’re using the right key. We’ve all been there – no shame. If you are indeed using the right key, wiggle it around a bit.
Once you’re able to get the door open try locking and unlocking the door with it open to see if it’s running smoothly. If it’s catching you may need to clean and lubricate the lock. Use pressurized air to blow out any debris or dust, then spray in a little WD-40 to loosen it up.
To clean the key, rub the tip of a graphite pencil along the teeth of your key to help it move in the lock. You can also buy graphite spray from a hardware store or a locksmith.
3. The Key Breaks off in the Lock
Whenever you are attempting to fix a broken door lock, it’s very important to be gentle. While locks take a lot of daily wear and tear, if you’re not gentle with your tools or your keys you can damage the mechanism. If your key breaks off in the lock, it’s best to call a locksmith to remove the broken piece.
If your key isn’t turning or is stuck in the lock, turn it slowly and carefully. If it’s very cold outside your key may be frozen. Warm it up in your hands before attempting to put it in the lock.
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