To insert your key into your front door's lock and turn it is something you probably barely register doing… until the process doesn't work as well as it used to. When a lock becomes stiff and you find yourself almost needing to wrench your key in order to unlock the door, it's a sign that something is amiss. Fixing a stiff lock can be fairly straightforward, although some solutions are easier than others.
Inspect the Door
Inspect your front door (once you've managed to get it open). Has the door become warped? While the lock itself will not necessarily be affected, a misalignment of the door can cause the latch or deadbolt to be unable to smoothly be inserted into their corresponding holes on the strike plate when the key is turned. Such an occurrence will also be noticeable when the door becomes difficult to close properly, regardless of whether it's locked or not. It might become necessary to tighten or even replace the door's hinges to return it to its correct position.
Lubricate the Lock
If the door seems to be in its correct position, the lock is presumably stiff for other reasons. This is likely to be a buildup of tiny pieces of dirt and debris in the key cylinder (the part of the lock into which your key is actually inserted). Some basic lubrication is all that is needed to overcome this. A standard household lubricant acts as an oil and water displacing agent, so the water will help to break up the debris while the oil will assist with lubrication. Spray a tiny amount of lubricant onto the key and then immediately insert it into the lock. Jiggle it slightly to allow the lubricant to disperse into the key cylinder. Wait a few moments and then try the lock again. Powdered graphite can also work in this case, which can be obtained from a standard pencil (ideal if you don't have any actual lubricant handy).
If the door lock still fails to return to good working order after lubrication, it's time to call in a locksmith. It might seem like an unnecessary expense, but imagine being locked out of your home when the lock reaches the point where it simply fails to cooperate. The locksmith will probably just opt to replace the key cylinder, making the lock infinitely more responsive. This is a quick and easy job.
It's important to deal with a stiff lock as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in you being locked out of your home… even if you have the key!Share
1 November 2017
Hi, my name is Max. I have been around the locksmith industry since I was a little kid, and as I got older, I begin investigating crime and hackers. In order to have the safest and most secure locks and safes, you need to know what criminals and hackers are doing. You need to know about the threats so you can identify the best ways to secure your home and office. In this blog, I plan to explore facts, news and cutting edge research about locks, keys and safes. I also plan to look at the dark side of things and discuss how criminals and hackers are currently getting past security. Ultimately, I hope this info helps lead you to the safest locks.