Having difficulty in opening a lock, closing and locking a door, turning a knob, or using a key on a door lock is extremely annoying, and can compromise your safety. Many of us experience these kinds of issues throughout our life. Naturally, we tend to believe they are problems with the lock itself.
However, in around 80% of cases, the problems don’t have anything to do with the lock or locking mechanism. Most often, a “lock problem” is really caused by some other element of the door, key, or a combination of factors. Below, we highlight some of the most common causes of “lock problems” that can generally be fixed without having to do a lock replacement or changing your locks.
The way most key-based locks work is that the key raises pins inside the lock cylinder. When they are all in the right position, it frees the cylinder to turn, unlocking the lock. The key is obviously, well, key to everything working correctly. If you are using a duplicate key, or the original is worn, bent, or damaged from years of use, the key can become the real lock problem. Teeth can wear away or become damaged, meaning the pins won’t properly be engaged when you insert the key in your door.
While getting an additional duplicate can help for awhile, the problem tends to become worse the longer you wait. Most experts advice in this kind of situation you get your lock rekeyed. Locksmiths can swap out the cylinder with a new one, and produce brand new keys from the lock. Having keys made by a professional locksmith services company, as part of a rekeying, results in much higher quality, identical keys than the kind you get at a self-service home improvement store kiosk. A rekey helps avoid any kind of construction or disruption, since the locking mechanism in the door doesn’t need to be changed out. It’s faster and much more affordable than a full-fledged lock replacement.
The strikes are part of a door and lock setup. There are several kinds of strikes, with most traditional doors using a strike plate screwed into the door frame. The strike is the plate that the door latch sits in when it is closed. Proper installation and alignment of the strike plate is essential to smooth operation of the door. Otherwise, you can have several lock problems arise. The door may fail to latch in place, and be impossible to lock.
It may become jammed or prevent opening of the door easily. An improperly aligned or installed strike can also come loose or move a bit within the door frame over time, causing misalignment and impacting the use of the door and lock. Replacing a strike, or having a locksmith services company do it for you, is often times the easiest and cheapest solution to many door lock problems. It takes almost no time at all, and doesn’t cost as much as a rekey, door lock replacement, or other options.
Door hinges definitely aren’t part of the locking mechanism, so they’ve often overlooked when experiencing a lock problem. However, poorly mounted and aligned hinges can, in fact, cause a lot of problems with the operation of a door. The hinges attach the door to the frame or door jamb. Screws that are too short to firmly secure the door can often be a culprit, as they allow the door’s alignment and orientation to move slightly over time. The net result is misalignment of the lock and strikes, and diminished or blocked function of the lock.
If you believe a door hinge issue is the source of your lock problems, it’s best to call a professional locksmith services company. Residential locksmiths or Commercial locksmiths, whichever is suitable for your building, can check the gaps between the door and jamb and quickly identify if the hinges are the issue. Then, it’s a simple matter of making some minor repairs and adjustments to the hinges and frame, and the door should be back in good working order. And all without changing your locks, too!
In doors with more mechanical or electronic parts, such as keypads, electric motors to drive a deadbolt, and so on, there are naturally more parts that can break down and cause lock problems. In almost all cases, these are best handled by a qualified professional locksmith company.
Motors break down, wiring can come loose, and a lot of the work is extremely delicate. Expert locksmith services have the tools and expertise to fix these kinds of lock problems.
The door itself can sometimes be the cause of a lock problem. Too much paint on the sides of a door can cause the door to stick to the jamb, making it hard to open or latch closed to lock. Poor quality doors can warp from moisture, heating, and cooling over time. This can affect the alignment of the latch with the strike plate.
These are just some of the ways in which doors can also be the culprit. Unfortunately, replacing a door and associated lock replacement and hardware is one of the more expensive ways of solving a lock problem. On the plus side, though, this kind of problem is often one of the least common reasons for a lock problem.
How to Resolve Your Lock Problem
If you have a lock problem, and can’t seem to figure out what is wrong, the best course of action is to contact a locksmith service. Carmeli Locksmiths services the Silver Spring area, and offers exceptional skill, service, and value. They can figure out what is really causing your lock problem, and offer you several cost-effective solutions to fix it ASAP.
Whether you need a rekey, lock replacement, lock change, door hinge fix-up, strike plate adjustment or alignment, or anything else to do with door locks, Carmeli Locksmiths should be your first call.