2 Common Lock Problems And Fixes

A typical door latch is a thin, spring-triggered metal rod that extends into the strike plate to fasten the door into the frame/jamb when the door knob is turned. A deadlatch that can only be opened with a key may be added for extra protection against intruders.

Deadbolt locks are usually thicker and stronger than latches and can extend further into the door frame. The deadbolt mechanism can also not be turned without a key, making it impossible to pry open using a knife, ice pick or similar tool.

With both a latch and a deadbolt lock, you can successfully deter intruders and keep your family and belongings safe. However, there may be several problems that you could experience with such locks that could inconvenience you or compromise your security. Here is a look at 2 such problems and their fixes.

Deadlatch not working

A deadlatch remains depressed when the door is locked, thus preventing entry from the exterior via manipulation of the door latch. Unfortunately, the deadlatch may fail to function properly if the gap between the door and the frame is excessive, usually caused by shrinking weather-stripping on the door.

This would result in the deadlatch failing to get depressed, allowing it to be easily bypassed with a credit card or ice pick. Another possible issue would be the deadlatch falling into the strike plate opening due to misalignment, allowing for any binding pressure from the outside to break the latch.

Both these problems can easily be fixed by having a professional locksmith place a shim behind the strike or adjust the strike position to ensure the deadlatch properly clicks into place.

Deadbolt not fully extended

Deadbolts are usually longer than latches and are designed to extend to about an inch or so into the door frame so as to hold it firmly in place during a forceful break-in. However, if the deadbolt fails to extend properly when the thumbturn turns, it will not properly lock, and can thus be pried open with ease.

This problem is usually caused by a misaligned bolt that binds against the strike plate instead of extending into the strike. Alternatively, the issue could be a door frame that has not been bored out enough to allow the bolt to extend fully.

By checking how far the thumbturn rotates to fully extend the bolt with the door open, and then repeating this with the door closed, you can determine whether the deadbolt fully extends into the door frame, and have a professional like Advance Lock & Key come in if there is any problem.