Fully functioning locks are essential for protecting our homes and businesses. When there is a problem with a lock, it usually needs dealt with straight away. Some lock problems are serious and require the skills of a fully trained locksmith but others can be solved by following the simple guidance below. Here are 5 common lock problems and what you should do if they occur.
1. Key breaks in the lock
This is one of the most frustrating lock problems and usually occurs out of the blue without warning. There are some dos and don’ts if this happens to you. Don’t try to lock or unlock the door further with the broken piece of key. By doing this, there is a good chance you will insert the broken key further into the locking mechanism making it more difficult to retrieve. If there is enough of the broken key visible, you can try inserting the tip of needle nosed pliers into the keyhole to grab the broken key and pull it straight out. If the key doesn’t come out easily, don’t force it or you could make things much worse. At this stage you should call for the help of a trained locksmith. They will have the tools and skills to remove the key without causing further damage to the lock.
2. Lock is stiff and difficult to open
Dirt and dust can sometimes find its way into a lock and build up over time. This can clog up the locking mechanism making it difficult to turn. You can apply some graphite spay or silicone based lubricant in the lock, put the key back in and turn it a few times. Never use oil based products such as WD-40 to lubricate locks because although they may help initially, they tend to cause problems with clogging later on.
3. UPVC door is difficult to lock or open
If the door can be locked /unlocked easily while in the open position, but not when the door is closed, this usually indicates a problem with the alignment of the locking points. UPVC doors are designed to be adjustable but can sometimes slip or drop out of position. This is something that most people will find tricky to correct but is usually a quick fix by a trained locksmith. Unfortunately, if you discover that the locking mechanism has problems when the door is open this may indicate that the lock is faulty in which case new parts might be required. Again a quick call to a locksmith will have this sorted in no time.
4. Key is difficult to insert
First of all confirm that the right key is being used in the lock! The next thing to rule out is that the problem is not caused by a poorly cut key. Poorly cut keys will always be a problem in locks, which is why it is important to use a reputable locksmith when you get new keys cut. If you have another key for the lock, use it to work out if the problem lies with the key or with the lock. If the lock is at fault this will need investigated by a locksmith and may require a new one to be fitted.
5. Key won’t turn in lock
This problem can be caused by a few things. First of all it is important that you never try and force the key to turn in the lock as this could cause the key to break. You can try lubricating the lock with graphite spray or silicone based lubricant as mentioned above. If this doesn’t help it could be that there is a misalignment of the lock and door (similar to UPVC problem above) or there could be a problem with the lock cylinder. Unfortunately, both of these problems will usually require the skills and expertise of a locksmith to diagnose and correct.
Most of us don’t give a moment’s thought to our locks when they are working correctly, however as soon as we discover a problem we usually need to act quickly. If you find yourself in this position and require a fully trained Edinburgh locksmith to help, get in touch or give Richard a call on 0131 353 0040