How to Be Smart About Smart Locks

How to Be Smart About Smart Locks

5 Lock Troubleshooting Tips

by Lily Dixon

When your key sticks in the lock, calling a residential locksmith might be your first reaction. However, it is often possible to resolve the issue with household tools, saving yourself the call-out fee. Follow this troubleshooting guide before you call a locksmith.

1. Check You Have the Right Key 

Before diving into technical solutions, it is always best to check for obvious mistakes such as trying to open the lock with a wrong key. Modern door keys have a standard shape, so it is easy to mistake one for another. Even if you are sure you are using the correct key, look carefully to check it is right before you move onto the next step.

2. Try Lubrication

Lubricating the lock can help to persuade the mechanism to turn when you insert the key. The easiest way is to remove the key from the lock, squirt lubricant onto the keyhole and then slide the key into the lock and out again a few times to push lubricant deep inside.

3. Try a New Key

If your key is very old, its teeth might be too worn to properly engage with the locking mechanism. You could try using a freshly cut key to see whether that helps.

4. File Down Your New Key

Although old keys are responsible for many cases of sticky locks, new keys sometimes also cause problems. Sometimes a new key has tiny metal burrs on the teeth, which prevent it from fitting correctly into the lock. When you get a new key, carefully examine it. If you spot any metal burrs, ask the key cutter to file them down. You can also file the key yourself using a metal file, but be sure to test the key every time you remove a tiny sliver of material to be sure you do not remove too much.

5. Realign the Lock

Sometimes, the problem with a residential lock does not lie with either the lock or the key, but rather with the door. Wooden doors warp in response to changes in weather, which means the bolt of the lock can end up out of alignment with the plate attached to the door jamb. If misalignment is the source of your sticky lock problems, you will probably notice dents in the strike plate where the bolt has failed to slot correctly into the hole. The easiest way to resolve this problem is to remove the strike plate, drill a new hole in the correct place and then reaffix the strike plate to the door jamb.


About Me

How to Be Smart About Smart Locks

I just thought my front door lock had to be strong. I didn’t know it could be smart. My old lock became so secure that it just plain fused into the locked position. Secure, but not convenient. When I knew I had to upgrade (unless I permanently wanted to use the back door), I was surprised to learn just how many different kinds of smart locks are on the market, and how they’re not as expensive as I thought. The locksmith quickly installed a new lock, one that allowed me to open it with my smartphone and even had a video intercom (fantastic for when I want to pretend I’m not at home). But there are so many different types of smart locks, with many different capabilities, so it was great to find all the information compiled on a single website so I could make an informed decision.