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Can’t get in? 4 common door lock problems


We’ve all been there: going to lock the front door at night, or opening the garage to get the car out in the morning, your trusty key suddenly doesn’t work and you’re left unable to operate the door as normal.


Even worse, you may come home from a long day at work only to find your door lock isn’t working and you’re stuck outside your house until an emergency locksmith arrives to perform a lock change.


In this blog post, we take a look at four common problems with door locks and how to solve them.


Frozen locks


During the winter months, it’s not unheard of for locks to freeze up due to the cold weather.


If this happens, it may be possible to warm up the lock and solve the problem by inserting a hot key and turning it gently. Find a key that fits the door, then place it in a mug of hot water for a short while until it is warm. Carefully remove it from the water and try it in the lock – take steps not to burn yourself by wearing gloves while you do this.


If that doesn’t work, it’s advisable to call a professional locksmith in order to prevent further damage to the lock.


Seized-up locks


One of the most common door problems all year round is the seizing up of locks. This happens when dirt gets trapped inside the internal mechanism and can be a real pain to sort out.


Fortunately, help is at hand. Firstly, put a small, damp fabric like a wet cotton bud into the keyhole and scrape out the dirt (it’s advisable not to use oil to lubricate). Once clean, spray a purpose-made silicone or graphite liquid into the keyhole, then move the key around inside so that the spray covers the whole mechanism.


After a while, the lock should return to normal functioning.




Sometimes, the latch on your door will simply refuse to catch when the door is slammed shut. This can be caused by a misalignment between different parts of the door and is usually easy to fix.


Try filing down the latch plate using a flat or triangular file. Remember to do this bit-by-bit rather than all at once, otherwise, you risk damaging the door. If that doesn’t work, you may need to remove the strike plate (the metal part of the door with a hole for the bolt) or consult a locksmith who can do this for you.


Aged locks


Sometimes, it can feel like your lock has just given up completely. If the door handle turns or moves up and down without any problems, then it is possible that part of the lock has worn away due to age.


Unfortunately, this most likely means that the whole lock will need to be replaced. You could try this yourself by unscrewing the lock from the door and assessing it to see if there are any clearly broken or aged pieces that you can replace at the local hardware shop.


But, as an amateur, taking a lock to pieces can be fiddly, and you risk losing small parts or causing damage to the door. Instead, it’s advisable to get a locksmith who can complete the job quickly and with much less risk.


JG Locksmiths have been in business in Leicester for over 10 years and work with residential and commercial customers alike at affordable prices. We can respond to calls within the hour and have been recommended several times by Leicestershire police. If you need locksmith services in Leicester, contact us today.


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