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How To Fix A Door Lock Cylinder?

Door locks play a crucial role in keeping our belongings and homes safe. Any issue with it can be inconvenient or even a security risk. So, how do you fix a door lock cylinder? This issue also concerns us, so we've researched the answer for you.

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

To restore a door lock cylinder, you must first identify the problem. If the lock cylinder is loose and turning, do the following to fix it:

  1. Remove the lock cover.
  2. Identify the screw's location by disassembling the lock.
  3. Fasten the screws.

If the door lock is seriously damaged, it may be time to replace it with a new one or look for alternative entrance-blocking methods. Keep reading as we go over some door lock issues and solutions.

Key cylinder on the wooden table, close up photo, How To Fix A Door Lock Cylinder?

How To Fix A Door Lock Cylinder

Our homes need locks for security and to make us feel safe. However, they are most of the time taken for granted unless they stop working correctly.

Security Measure

Here's a short guide on how to fix them.

1. Remove The Lock Cover

Before you fix a door lock, you'll need to access the screws holding the lock's cylinder. In some cases, you must remove the faceplate and other portions of the lock from the door.

Use a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver to find the screws on the cover plate on the interior of the door. You need to loosen the screws to remove the plates that cover the lock mechanism.

2. Identify The Screw's Location By Disassembling The Lock

You need to dismantle the lock to check the location and position of the screws. Their position depends on the type of lock.

For instance, rim locks place the set screws such that you can readily access them once you remove the outer case. On the other hand, the set screws in a mortise lockset are only accessible after the faceplate is removed.

3. Fasten The Screws

After locating the set screws, you need to use the appropriate screwdriver, fasten them, and put the faceplate back in its original position. Replace any broken or rusted screws that you notice. Close the faceplate and test the lock. However,  you must replace it if your door lock cylinder is seriously damaged.

Replacing A Door Lock Cylinder

When left with no choice but to replace your damaged door lock cylinder, you may opt to do it yourself. So, bring out those tool skills!

Prepare the new cylinder and ensure the proper measurements that perfectly match the one you will replace. Then, remove the cylinder by unscrewing the main locks above and below the latch. Make sure to place the screws securely because you need to screw them back.

Turn the key in any direction while pushing the cylinder to remove it. Insert the key and turn it left and right. It ensures that the carrier is aligned with the cylinder. Then, place the new cylinder inside and put the flat screw back in.

Check out this door lock cylinder on Amazon.

How Do You Fix A Spinning Key On A Lock?

It is inconvenient to experience a key that keeps turning without locking or unlocking the door, especially when you come home from shopping or vacation. Spinning keys are a widespread problem with door locks.

Knowing how a cylinder works can provide an understanding of why it occurs. The cylinder consists of a plug, which is pretty much the keyhole. These are the parts that connect the cylinder with the central lock.

If the cylinder and the lock are not correctly connected, the key will turn on the lock without locking or unlocking the door.

Moreover, if you're stuck on a tight budget and attempting to handle the situation yourself, you risk further damaging the lock and key. There is nothing you can do but call a locksmith. Remember, calling a locksmith on time can save you more money.

Locksmith Installation Changing Door Locks

Here are some early signs you may experience before having a spinning key on the lock:

Loose Door Handle

What do you observe when you push and pull your door? If the door handle shakes, there is a possibility of having a loose screw either on your door handle or your doorknob.

This scenario is prevalent, but we always ignore it and believe that it's just normal. However, this signal that your key might turn without locking or unlocking your door.

Lock Jamming

Another sign of having a potential door lock failure is when you're struggling to open your lock. It happens when you try to pull your door knob without the key turning fully.

It also occurs when you have a dirty keyhole, a misalignment of the bolt and strike, and a broken mechanism. You need to be aware of this to avoid having a stuck door in the future. 

Your Lock Is Misaligned

You have to look closely to see if your lock is misaligned. A misaligned lock throws the hinges out of alignment, causing the door to sag. Some doors, however, are not proportional from the start.

Incorrect door lock installation can lead to a more problematic situation where the key keeps turning around. Humidity in some places affects the door size and shape, leading to the misalignment of its parts.

Pushing, pulling, and lifting to open or close the door can lead to broken keys. Remember that a non-functional key can be dangerous and may cause security concerns.

What Causes A Door Lock To Stick?

Rear view of a good looking man working as handyman and fixing a door lock in a house entrance

A dry environment and a dirt buildup can cause a key to be stuck. When a dirty key enters the lock frequently, the lock pins also get covered in dirt. It causes problems with the locking mechanism.

As for dryness, the use of door lubricants is the best option. Door lock lubricants are used when dirt accumulates, which causes the lock to malfunction or, worse, stop working. It will not harm your doors, so give it a try.

Graphite lubricant is the best for door locks because it does not collect dirt or dust, which can harm the door's locking mechanism. Lubrication can also be done with rusted locks. This process is the cheapest way to fix a sticking door lock.

Check out this door lock lubricant on Amazon.

How Do You Fix A Door Latch That Won't Retract?

Installation locked interior door knobs, close-up woodworker hands install lock.

The door latch is among the most vital parts of any door. It would be an inconvenience if your door latch stopped functioning correctly. A door latch's primary function is to ensure the door closes properly and stays closed.

In cases where the door latch won't retract, try to identify the issue before proceeding with the repair process. A broken lock mechanism, jammed door latch, and misaligned strike plate are some of the reasons why a door latch won't retract.

Rusting of the latch is also one of the reasons. Here's what you can do.

Check out this door latch on Amazon.

Short Term Fix

  • Temporarily, you can move the strike plate with the jammed door latch to a better line.
  • Close the door to see where the latch makes contact with the door frame.
  • Using a hammer, you can either widen the hole in the wood or metal or remove the strike plate and reinstall it in its proper spot.

Long Term Fix

  • If the problem is wood expansion, often known as a seasonal affective disorder, you need to repaint the coating of your door. It will prevent moisture from changing the shape of your door.
  • In most cases, replacing the lock is a good option. Sometimes, fixing a faulty mechanism can cause you more than buying or replacing it with a new one. 

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Final Thoughts

Safety and privacy are critical to people and families. That is why keeping functioning door locks are a necessity. Knowing how to fix your door lock cylinder is essential if you have a non-functional lock.

Also, remember to have frequent maintenance on your locks. Knowing the early signs of faulty locks and preventing them from happening can save you money. However, if the problem is tough, call an expert to do it for you.

Before you go, be sure to check out these good reads:

Should Bedroom Doors Have Locks?

9 Types Of Sliding Door Locks