A lot of times, there’s nothing more frustrating than a door lock that won’t turn. This is not only true for doors you regularly use, like your front door and bedroom door, but it can be especially troublesome on your storage container or garage door. A jammed lock can make it impossible to access the contents of these spaces, and there is no reason to put up with this inconvenience any longer than necessary.
Correct diagnostics is the key to fixing a stuck or jammed lock, so you know exactly how to fix a door lock that won’t turn correctly without wasting time trying solutions that would not work.
What Are Some Common Causes of Door Lock Malfunctions?
Many things can go wrong with your locking system to cause it not to work properly. For example, sometimes corrosion builds up in the lock cylinder, which prevents it from turning. It would be best if you began by spraying lubricant into the keyhole and working the key back and forth while continuing to spray oil inside the machine until it starts working again. If this doesn’t resolve your problem, you may need to replace parts of the locking system or entire cylinders if they become excessively eroded over time.
Another potential reason for malfunctioning door locks is debris build-up between the door jamb and the locking mechanism. Dirt, dust, and other particles can cause friction, preventing the lock from opening or closing properly. You can fix this problem by spraying lubricant into the keyhole and working the key back and forth before the spray dries to ensure oil saturates all possible debris inside. If you need to replace parts of your lockset due to excessive corrosion or breakage, it’s recommended that you replace the entire unit instead of just one part at a time.
Keep in mind that if your locking system is not mechanical but electronic, there may be issues with the battery powering it that will prevent it from working even when you insert your correct access code. The safest route for these locks is to call a professional locksmith to replace the battery and restore power.
If you have a mechanical door lock with missing parts, such as the key or handle, it may not be possible to fix it, so you’ll need to replace the entire lockset. Sometimes these parts can get lost when moving things in and out of a storage container or garage. Avoid problems by keeping your keys somewhere safe where they won’t get lost easily or removed by someone else who may be living on-site temporarily.
9 Steps To Fix A Door Lock That Won’t Turn:
Try opening and closing the door several times. This can help align the strike plate with the bolt, making it easier for the lock to engage and disengage as necessary. You may also be able to manually adjust the strike plate by loosening its screws and moving it so that it lines up with the bolt more easily.
Another simple thing you can check for is any dirt or grime that might be blocking the lock from accepting the key. Just take a cotton swab and look inside the lock for anything that looks like it could be blocking your way. Then use the swab to push away any debris that you find. Try turning your key again.
If your door lock still won’t turn after trying these steps…
- Check the knob and key for any signs of damage that might indicate it’s interfering with the locking mechanism.
- Spray lubricant into the locking cylinder to help loosen debris stuck inside.
- Work the key back and forth slowly while spraying oil inside the lock, or you can use a commercial spray like WD-40.
- Ensure you spray oil on the exterior after you have sprayed it into the keyhole to avoid contaminating hinges or other parts that come in contact with the door.
- If there isn’t any debris in the lock cylinder, look for corrosion that could be preventing it from turning or clicking when you turn your key.
- Spray lubricant on corroded parts and clean with a wire brush if needed.
- If cleaning doesn’t help, you may need to replace the entire locking mechanism or call an automotive locksmith for assistance.
- Check the strike plate on your door for any damage that could be preventing it from making proper contact with the locking mechanism.
- Repair or completely replace the strike plate if necessary to resolve the problem.
The Bottom Line:
Fixing door locks yourself can save you valuable time and money. Still, you mustn’t risk injury by taking on a project that you’re not sure how to complete or one that requires advanced knowledge or speciality tools to repair. If you find yourself in an hour of need, calling an automotive locksmith can get you out of trouble quickly and safely.
Don’t forget to keep your key somewhere safe so that you don’t lose it or leave it behind when moving things in and out of a storage container or garage.
Some people will neglect their door locks until they stop working properly, while others will keep them maintained regularly. If you neglect your keys until you need them, however, it’s probably too late to fix anything without replacing the entire unit.