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Addressing 4 Common Deadbolt Lock Trouble

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Deadbolt locks are a great security option for your home. The solid bar in the lock cylinder produces a stable, secure barrier to protect your door from a security breach. The same features that make these locks so durable also make them more prone to some certain problems. Here are several of the most common issues that you may experience with your deadbolts and some tips to fix them.

Worn Lock Mechanisms

With frequent use, the mechanism that shifts the lock can wear out. You might be able to help it move more easily if you pull the cover off the deadbolt and use a penetrating oil to get things moving again. If a treatment or two with penetrating oil doesn't get things moving freely again, that means you're going to want to think about installing a new lock assembly.

Strike Plate Obstruction

If turning the lock mechanism doesn't engage the lock bar all the way or you have a hard time getting the lock to fully unlatch, it may be sticking on the strike plate. The strike plate is the piece of metal that fits on the door jamb around the hole created for the bar.

If the hole for the lock or the position of the strike plate cause a problem for the bar to pass through, you can remove the strike plate by taking the screws out of the plate and removing it. Then, measure where the bar hits on the door and open the space on the door jab as needed to allow the bar to move. If you need to move the strike plate slightly to open the space up, you can drill new screw holes if necessary.

If the strike plate is only slightly in the way, you may be able to clear the whole thing up by just filing it a bit with a heavy metal file.

Unstable Door Frame

Having a deadbolt lock on your door does little when the door frame isn't strong and stable enough to withstand it. If your door frame is damaged or weak, the deadbolt won't offer the same degree of protection. Instead, the door will be more vulnerable to damage, putting the lock at risk of failure. If you're looking to ensure that the door frame can stand up to stress, you'll want to reinforce it. You can do that with the addition of solid metal plates. Drill the plates onto the door frame to provide a barrier for support.

Stuck Key

If your key gets stuck in the deadbolt lock, there's a reason. It's important that you not only safely remove the key, but also address whatever has caused it to stick. Start by removing the cover from the lock. You may need a screwdriver to do this or you may just have to pry it off. Once the cover is removed, use a screwdriver to remove the retaining screws from the back side of the lock cylinder. You'll be able to see them in the tumbler when you remove the cover.

Once you remove those retention screws, you can pull the tailpiece to remove the cylinder from the door. Then, use a pin or other small piece of metal to push the key back out of the lock. Scrub the lock assembly with jewelry cleaner and then treat the whole lock assembly with a lubricating oil to get things moving. This should free the lock cylinder enough that your key won't stick again.

If you're having a problem like one of these with your deadbolt locks, you can use these tips to take care of it. In a situation where these tips don't resolve it, you'll have to reach out to a local locksmith who can evaluate the lock condition and fix the problem for you.