Top 5 Common Lock Problems and How to Fix Them


Ah, locks and keys – they’re our trusty friends when it comes to home security. But let’s face it, they can also be a bit of a pain in the neck when things go awry. From jammed keys to stubborn bolts, the “Top 5 Common Lock Problems and How to Fix Them” is your go-to guide for troubleshooting and solving those pesky lock issues. We’ll also provide some insight on when it’s best to call in the cavalry, aka a professional locksmith. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!

Top 5 Common Lock Problems and DIY Fixes

Jammed or Stuck Key

You’re trying to open your door, and the key just won’t budge. Fear not, here’s what you can do:

  • Apply a bit of graphite or silicone-based lubricant to the key and lock.
  • Gently wiggle the key back and forth without applying too much pressure.
  • If the key is still stuck, consider using pliers to get a better grip and carefully pull it out.

Slow or Sticky Lock

If your lock feels like it’s moving at a snail’s pace, it’s time to bring in the big guns:

  • Apply a graphite or silicone-based lubricant to the lock’s inner workings.
  • Insert the key and work it in and out of the lock several times to help distribute the lubricant.
  • If the problem persists, the lock may need a more thorough cleaning or even replacement.

Misaligned Door Latch

A misaligned door latch can be a real headache. Before you lose your cool, try these simple fixes:

  • Check the strike plate and latch for wear and tear. Adjust or replace them as needed.
  • Tighten any loose screws or hinges on the door and frame.
  • If necessary, reposition the strike plate to ensure proper alignment with the latch.

Key Won't Turn

When your key refuses to turn, it’s time to put on your detective hat and investigate:

  • Check if the key is the correct one for the lock (you’d be surprised how often this happens).
  • Inspect the key for any visible damage or wear.
  • Apply a graphite or silicone-based lubricant to the lock and key.

Broken Key in Lock

Oh, snap! You’ve got a broken key in the lock. Here’s how to get out of this pickle:

  • Use needle-nose pliers or a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the broken key.
  • Avoid using super glue or other adhesives to extract the key, as it can cause more damage.
  • If you’re unable to remove the broken key, it’s time to call a professional locksmith.

When to Call a Professional Locksmith

While DIY fixes can help with minor lock problems, there are times when it’s best to call in a professional locksmith. Here are a few instances where expert assistance is needed:

  • When you’re locked out of your home or car.
  • If the lock is damaged beyond repair or requires a more complex fix.
  • When you need a new lock or security system installation.
  • If you’re experiencing repeated lock issues or have concerns about your overall security.


While WD-40 may provide a temporary solution, it’s not recommended for long-term use as it can attract dirt and grime, leading to more issues down the road. Instead, use a graphite or silicone-based lubricant designed specifically for locks.

To keep your locks in tip-top shape, it’s a good idea to perform regular maintenance, such as lubricating the lock mechanisms and checking for wear and tear, every 6 to 12 months.

While it’s possible to rekey some locks yourself with a rekeying kit, it can be a complex process, and there’s a risk of damaging the lock if you’re not experienced. It’s usually best to call a professional locksmith to ensure the job is done correctly and securely.

To prevent key breakage, avoid using the key as a tool (like a screwdriver or a pry bar), and don’t force a key into a lock. If you notice your key is becoming worn or bent, consider getting a replacement before it breaks.

And there you have it – the “Top 5 Common Lock Problems and How to Fix Them,” along with a better understanding of when to call a professional locksmith. With these tips and tricks in your back pocket, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle minor lock issues and know when it’s time to seek expert help. So, the next time you find yourself in a lock and key conundrum, don’t fret! Simply refer back to this guide and get yourself out of a jam in no time. Happy unlocking!

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