Open Up: The Fascinating World Of Locks, Keys And Safes

Open Up: The Fascinating World Of Locks, Keys And Safes

Jammed Lock? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Lumi Perala

The last thing you want when you arrive home after a busy day is to find that your door lock has jammed and you're locked out of your own house!  Before you call out a mobile locksmith, there are a few things that you can do to try to solve the problem.  Read on to find out more.

Are you using the right key?

Many people struggle to open their front door, only to realise that they've been trying to open it with the wrong key.  The first thing to do therefore is to check that the key you're using is actually the right one.

If the key is new, it may have a burr on it that's preventing it from turning in the lock.  An easy way to check for this is to dip the key in talcum powder, and then reinsert it into the lock.  Try to turn the key in the lock, and then carefully remove it.  Look to see if there are any areas that are now free-from powder.  These clean parts on the key are the burrs.  If you remove them with a file, the key should work.

Is there a problem with the lock itself?

If the key is not to blame, the lock could be causing the problem.  Open the door from inside the house, place the key in the lock, and then try to turn it.  If the lock sticks, try spraying a lubricant, such as 3 in 1 oil, into the lock's workings.  Slide the key in and out a few times to remove any bits of dust and metal filings that might be causing the lock to stick.

Are the door and the frame out of alignment?

If the door has dropped on its hinges, it will be out of alignment with the door frame, thus preventing the lock from working properly.  Rub a small amount of talcum powder onto the outer edge of the lock's bolt and close the door.  Now attempt to lock the door, and then look to see where the talcum powder appears on the strike plate.  If the powder appears right on the edge of the strike plate, there's a good chance that the door is not aligned correctly in the frame. 

Check to see if there is a gap between the top of the door and the frame, which could indicate that the door has dropped.  Alternatively, a timber door may have swollen if the weather has been wet, meaning that the strike plate is now out of line with the lock.

To correct this you might have to remove the door from its hinges and rehang it to bring the lock back into alignment, or call out a mobile locksmith to refit the lock for you.

In conclusion

If you have problems opening your door, and the solutions suggested above don't do the trick, call out a mobile locksmith to investigate further; there may be a problem with the locking mechanism that you can't repair yourself.


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About Me
Open Up: The Fascinating World Of Locks, Keys And Safes

Hello. My dad is a locksmith. When I was growing up, we lived in a house behind the shop. I spent my childhood watching Dad cut keys, open car doors and demonstrate safes. Whether customers came early in the morning or at midnight, I always wanted to see what was going on! I'm a teacher now, but I help Dad when things become hectic. Holiday times are the worst. People lose their keys while they are away or misplace car keys in their hurry to reach the airport! I love being in the shop with all the keys, locks and safes. Dad always has some new product on display. Right now, it's an unbreakable bicycle lock. I started this blog to share my interest in locks, keys and safes with other like-minded souls. I hope you find it fascinating and inspiring. Please turn the key and step inside.