5 Common Door Lock Problems You Must Fix

Whether you own or rent, home maintenance is a responsibility that you can't ignore. Even if it's just reporting problems to your landlord, it all starts with you. And if you're a homeowner then it ends with you as well. Most maintenance issues are obvious: faulty heating, leaks, broken lights. But it's easy to overlook the things which are among the most essential features for your safety and security: door locks and handles.

These get heavy use and because they have several moving parts, they're inevitably prone to wear and tear. We're going to look at 5 issues that crop up frequently in our work on the door locks and handles of our many satisfied customers.


Locks and latches will only work if there is perfect alignment between the fittings on the door and the frame. If they are out of line, then the door latch won't catch the strike plate and can't hold the door securely closed. This is often caused by poor installation or by warping over time as a result of heat, moisture or structural movement. In the simplest cases, the fittings can be moved into a better position or filed into shape, but sometimes it's necessary to rehang the door.

Loose Door Locks and Handles

Check the fittings regularly because the component parts can loosen over time. This may not sound like a problem until you're unable to get into your home because the lock or handle is too loose. But while your problem is how to get in, loose locks are a gift to burglars whose chances of breaking in are made much easier by loose locks. It's a problem that really needs a professional locksmith who can either repair or replace the lock.


If it's increasingly hard to turn the key in a lock, the likelihood is that it is starting to jam. Jams can be caused by a build-up of dust, dirt and debris that prevents the smooth turning of the mechanism or because one of its internal parts has broken. Instead of persevering and spending ages wiggling the key into the one position in which you can still gain traction you should get this seen to as soon as possible. Jams tend not to rectify themselves. At some point, your lock may not turn at all, and you could end up with your key breaking off inside.

Faulty Cylinder

Your key should turn smoothly within the lock cylinder but if you notice that the entire cylinder is turning with it then you might have a loose or damaged screw. Eventually, this will have the same result as most of the other problems and you'll find yourself unable either to lock or unlock the door. Calling a locksmith is the best solution.

Loose Handle

While many exterior doors only need a key to open them, plenty rely on turning a handle. If yours is loose, there may come a point when, even after unlocking the door, you can't use the handle to open it. Tightening it up could be a DIY job, but for peace of mind, it's always best to call on a professional for help.


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