What does troubleshooting door lock problems involve? Before you decide that a door lock is not working, you need to make sure that the door is adjusted properly. If the dood is adjusted, then you can troubleshoot the locks and deadbolts.
Not sure if this is your problem? See the article, 'Troubleshooting Door Problems' for a full listing of door problems.
Adjusting the Door
Many times the complaint is about the door hardware. It always seems to be the thing that is not working. Like a medical problem, this is what we call a symtom.
Door hardware only works properly on a door that is aligned the way it should be. The tolerances on doors and hardware is fairly narrow. If a door is sagging, the lock will not latch correctly. Not really the fault of the lock.
Before you consider replacing door hardware, you want to make sure the door is adjusted to allow the hardware to work. See the articles 'Adjusting Exterior Doors' and 'Interior Door Adjustment' for instructions on getting the door in proper alignment.
Troubleshooting Door Lock Issues
Is the key is broken off in the lock?
The Deadbolt is stuck!
Is it difficult to get the latch to engage?
Does the door not stay closed?
This usually indicates that the strike plate needs to be adjusted or the door strike is sticking and needs to be lubricated. The door strike is spring loaded and flat on one side. It needs to spring into the recess in the door strike to keep the door closed.
See the article 'Adjusting Door Strike Plates' for directions on how to fix a poorly aligned strike plate.
The Lock Won't Latch At All
A door that is sagging may cause the door strike to hit the strike plate to low, not allowing it to spring into place. Check the margins on the door. Is the top of the door closer to the jamb on the strike side of the door? If so the door is sagging.
A sagging door needs to be adjusted. See the articles 'Adjusting Exterior Doors' and 'Interior Door Adjustment' for information on how to adjust a door.
The Door Latch is Sticking
When the strike is lined up correctly and still won't keep the door closed you want to make sure it is working. Use your finger to check it. Depress the door strike and let go. It should pop back out freely. If it sticks you need to lubricate it. See the article 'Lubricating Door Locks' for more information.
Does the Door Latch When You Push On It?
If it pops back out freely try putting extra pressure on the door when you close it. Does the strike pop into place when extra pressure is applied to the door? An adjustment to the strike plate will solve the problem. See the article 'Adjusting Door Strike Plates' for directions on how to adjust a strike plate.
The door Knob is Hard to Turn
Is the door knob hard to turn, sticking or hanging up. If the lock has a key, the key may be sticking or not working. Lubricating the lock set will probably take care of it, see Step Four. On rare occasions the lock may be hanging up in the mortises. You can take the knob off and check to see if things are moving freely. By checking the various steps you can make your own door lock repair.
See the article 'Lubricating Door Locks' for more information.