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7 Common Problems with Door Locks and How to Fix Them

Door locks are essential components of our homes and offices, providing security and peace of mind. However, like any other frequently-used item, they can develop issues over time. Whether it’s due to wear and tear, misuse, or environmental factors, problems with door locks can compromise safety.

What issues do door locks usually face?

In this article, our locksmith experts in Seattle explore some common issues with door locks and how to address them.

1. Sticky or Stiff Lock

Problem: The key doesn’t turn smoothly, or the lock feels stiff when you try to unlock or lock the door.

Causes: This can result from a buildup of dirt, debris, or a misaligned door latch.


Use a graphite lubricant or silicone-based lubricant. Spray or insert into the keyhole and then work the key in and out to spread the lubricant.

Ensure the door is properly aligned. If misalignment is the issue, you may need to adjust the position of the strike plate.

2. Key Won’t Insert

Problem: You struggle to insert the key into the lock.

Causes: This can be due to a blockage inside the lock or a bent key.


Check the key for bends or damage. If damaged, get a new key cut.

Inspect the lock for obstructions and gently clean it out.

3. Key Turns But Doesn’t Lock or Unlock

Problem: The key rotates, but the lock mechanism doesn’t engage.

Causes: Typically, the tailpiece (or cam) of the lock is broken or misaligned.


Remove the lock from the door and inspect the tailpiece. If it’s broken, replace the lock.

If misaligned, ensure the tailpiece fits correctly into the slot of the latch.

4. Key Stuck in the Lock

Problem: After unlocking or locking, you can’t remove the key.

Causes: It can be due to a jammed lock, a worn-out key, or internal parts of the lock being misaligned.


Gently wiggle the key while trying to pull it out. Avoid using excessive force as it can break the key inside the lock.

Lubricate the lock as described earlier.

If the key is worn or damaged, use a spare key and get the worn key replaced.

5. Lock Doesn’t Latch Properly

Problem: The door doesn’t close or latch securely.

Causes: This often results from a misaligned door latch or strike plate.


Check the alignment of the latch and strike plate. Adjust them if necessary.

Tighten any loose screws or replace them if they’re too short.

6. The Door Lock is Frozen

Problem: Common in colder climates, the lock might freeze, making it difficult to insert or turn the key.

Causes: Moisture inside the lock can freeze in low temperatures.


Warm the key using a lighter or matches and then insert it slowly into the lock.

Alternatively, use a de-icer spray or rubbing alcohol on the key and insert it.

7. Door Lock is Loose or Wobbly

Problem: The doorknob or handle is loose.

Causes: Frequent use can lead to wear and tear, causing screws to loosen.


Tighten all screws and ensure all components of the lock are secure.

If parts are worn out, consider replacing the lockset.

Door Lock Solutions in Seattle

While many door lock problems can be addressed with some basic tools and a bit of patience, it’s essential to recognize when to call in a professional Seattle locksmith like Pi Security Solutions. If you’re unsure about a solution or feel the security of the lock might be compromised, it’s always better to consult with an expert to ensure your home or office remains safe and secure.

About Us

Owner/operator Nim Gil, a product of a rigorous apprenticeship, has over 13 years’ locksmithing experience and has the knowledge and technical expertise to work on difficult, unique, or antique locks as well as all modern safe, vault, and lock technologies. We have worked on numerous entry control projects in the given time frame.

We are fully licensed, bonded, and insured. We are members of the Safe and Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA) and the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). We work by the standards of these two leading organizations and are well-versed in state safety codes and other requirements.

Hours of Operation

Monday to Sunday – 7 AM to 10 PM

Email: locksmith@pisecuritysolutions.com


903 9th Ave #37 Seattle, WA 98104 All rights reserved to PI Security Solutions locksmith, Seattle. We offer leading locksmith services for residential, commercial, and automotive.

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