10 Common Lock Problems and How to Fix Them

10 Common Lock Problems and How to Fix Them

As a locksmith, we get calls all the time from customers experiencing issues with their locks. Locks can malfunction for a variety of reasons, from general wear and tear to more complex mechanical problems. Here are 10 of the most common lock problems we encounter, along with tips on how to fix them.

Lock is Stiff or Sticking
Over time, lock mechanisms can accumulate dirt and grime, causing the lock to feel stiff and hard to operate. Try spraying a dry lubricant like WD-40 into the lock cylinder and working the key in and out. This will help loosen up the mechanism. Avoid using wet lubricants which can attract dirt.

Lock Won’t Turn
If your key won’t turn at all in the lock, something may be obstructing the lock cylinder from rotating freely. Check for any objects stuck in the keyway, or try jiggling the key gently. You can also try tapping the lock cylinder housing lightly with a hammer.

Key Won’t Go In
If your key starts going in but then gets stuck and won’t fully insert, the alignment of the lock cylinders may be off. Call a locksmith to reinstall and re-pin the lock. Forcing your key in could break it or damage the lock.

Lock Turns But Won’t Open
This usually indicates a problem with the latch mechanism inside the door. You may need to realign the lockset components. Call a pro for repair.

Lock Turns Partially But Gets Stuck
Grit or rust inside the mechanism can cause the lock to turn halfway but then jam. Try a dry lubricant first. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need a locksmith to take apart the lock and fix it.

Loose or Wobbly Lock
The mortise lock box inside your door may be loose due to wood swelling or shrinkage. Tighten the screws to refasten the mortise box firmly in place.

Scratched Key Won’t Turn
If your key is damaged, with visible scratches or dents, it likely won’t turn smoothly in the lock. You’ll need to replace the key. A locksmith can create a new working key.

Key Snaps Off in Lock
Don’t try to dig it out yourself. Call a pro who has special tools to extract the broken key piece without damaging the lock.

Lock Makes Clicking Sound When Turning Key
This usually means there is a loose tumbler inside the lock causing the clicking noise. A locksmith can quickly replace the faulty tumbler.

Deadbolt Won’t Extend or Retract
Something is likely jammed inside the deadbolt mechanism, keeping it from engaging fully. Seek professional help to safely clear the obstruction.

Don’t force a stuck lock – it will just make matters worse. Our expert locksmiths have the skills and tools to diagnose and fix any lock issue. Contact us today if you’re having problems with your locks.