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5 Common Issues with Door Locks and How to Fix Them

Door Lock Repair Services

Door locks are essential for maintaining security and privacy on both residential and commercial properties. However, like any mechanical device, they can develop problems over time. Understanding these issues and knowing how to fix them can save you time and money, as well as ensuring that your home or business remains secure. In this article, we’ll discuss five common door lock problems and provide detailed solutions. If you ever need professional assistance, keep in mind that you can easily locate door lock repair services by searching for door lock repairs near you.

1. Key Won’t Turn in the Lock

Problem: One of the most common issues is when the key won’t turn in the lock. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as debris inside the lock, a misaligned door or latch, or a worn-out key.


  1. Check for Debris:

    First, ensure that there is no debris or dirt inside the lock. Use a can of compressed air to blow out any dust or particles that might be obstructing the key’s movement.
  2. Lubricate the Lock:

    Apply a graphite-based lubricant to the keyhole. Avoid using oil-based lubricants, as they can attract more dirt over time.
  3. Examine the Key:

    Inspect the key for any signs of wear and tear. If you find the key worn out, consider cutting a new one from an original spare, if possible.
  4. Realign the Door:

    Check if the door and latch are properly aligned. If the door has sagged, tighten the hinges or adjust the strike plate to ensure proper alignment.

2. Lock is Stiff or Hard to Turn

Problem: Over time, locks can become stiff and hard to turn. The accumulation of dirt, grime, or rust within the lock mechanism is a common cause.


  1. Clean the Lock:

    Remove the lock from the door and clean all the components thoroughly. Use a mild cleaner to remove any built-up grime.
  2. Lubricate Moving Parts:

    After cleaning, lubricate all moving parts with a graphite-based lubricant.
  3. Replace Worn Parts:

    If any parts are severely worn out, consider replacing them. Sometimes, replacing the cylinder or internal components can restore the lock’s functionality.

3. The key breaks off in the lock.

Problem: It’s not uncommon for a key to break off inside the lock, especially if it’s an old or weak key. This can be a frustrating experience, as it renders the lock unusable.


  1. Remove the Broken Key:

    Use needle-nose pliers or a key extraction tool to gently pull out the broken key fragment. Be careful not to push it further into the lock.
  2. Use a Broken Key Extractor:

    If pliers don’t work, you can fish out the broken piece with a broken key extractor tool, which is available at most hardware stores.
  3. Avoid Future Breakages:

    To prevent this issue in the future, replace old and worn keys regularly. Always use smooth, steady pressure when turning the key to avoid breaking it.

4. Lock Cylinder Turns but Doesn’t Lock

Problem: When the lock cylinder turns but doesn’t engage the lock mechanism, it can be due to a loose set screw, damaged cam, or broken tailpiece.


  1. Tighten the Set Screw:

    Remove the lock and check if the set screws are loose. Tighten them to secure the cylinder.
  2. Inspect and Replace Damaged Parts:

    Check the cam and tailpiece for any signs of damage. Replace these parts if necessary to ensure they properly engage the lock mechanism.
  3. Reinstall the Lock:

    After addressing the issues, reinstall the lock and test it to ensure it operates correctly.
Garage Door Operators

5. The lock is jammed or frozen.

Problem: A lock can become jammed or frozen, particularly in cold weather. This can be due to internal components seizing up or ice forming inside the lock.


  1. Thaw the Lock:

    If the lock is frozen due to cold weather, use a hairdryer to gently warm it up. Do not use open flames, as they can damage the lock.
  2. Lubricate the Lock:

    Apply a graphite-based lubricant to the lock mechanism to prevent it from freezing again.
  3. Disassemble and Clean:

    If the lock is jammed due to internal seizing, disassemble it, clean all the parts, and reassemble. Ensure all moving parts are properly lubricated.

Professional door lock repair services

While DIY methods can fix some lock issues, there are times when professional assistance is necessary. If you find yourself unable to resolve a lock problem, consider reaching out to a professional for door lock repair services. Searching for “door lock repair near me” or “door lock repairs near me” will help you find local experts who can address your needs promptly and efficiently.

Why choose professional services?

  • Expertise and Experience:

    Professionals have the skills and knowledge to handle a wide range of lock issues.
  • Quality Workmanship:

    Professional repair ensures the job is done correctly, reducing the likelihood of recurring problems.
  • Convenience:

    Save time and effort by letting experts handle complex repairs.
  • Emergency Services:

    Many professional services offer 24/7 emergency assistance, so you’re never left stranded.

About Action Lock & Door Co.

If you’re located in Westchester, NY, and surrounding areas, Action Lock & Door Co. is a reliable choice for all your door and lock needs. With over 29 years of experience, they offer a wide range of services, including:

  • Residential and Commercial Door and Lock Repair:

    From entry doors to safes, their skilled technicians can handle it all.
  • Garage Door Services:

    Installation, repair, and maintenance of various types of garage doors.
  • Emergency Services:

    Available 24/7 for urgent lock and door issues.

Contact Action Lock & Door Co. for prompt and professional service. Call 914-237-5824. Their team is committed to delivering top-notch work at competitive rates, guaranteeing your safety and contentment.


Door lock problems are common but can often be resolved with a bit of troubleshooting and maintenance. Understanding these issues and knowing how to fix them can keep your locks functioning smoothly and enhance your security. For more complex problems or professional assistance, don’t hesitate to seek out door lock repair services near you. With the right care and attention, your locks can provide reliable security for years to come.


To fix a stiff or hard-to-turn lock, remove the lock from the door and clean all components thoroughly. Apply a graphite-based lubricant to all moving parts. If the internal components are worn out, you may need to replace them. Regular maintenance and lubrication can prevent stiffness in the future.

If your key breaks off in the lock, try to remove the broken piece using needle-nose pliers or a key extraction tool. If these methods don’t work, a broken key extractor tool can be used to retrieve the fragment. To prevent future breakages, replace old and worn keys regularly, and use steady pressure when turning the key.

If the lock cylinder turns but doesn’t engage the lock mechanism, it might be due to a loose set screw, a damaged cam, or a broken tailpiece. Tighten any loose set screws and inspect the cam and tailpiece for damage. Replace any faulty components and reassemble the lock.

To find a reliable door lock repair service near you, search online for "door lock repair near me" or "door lock repairs near me." Look for companies with positive reviews, experienced technicians, and comprehensive services. Action Lock & Door Co. in Westchester, NY, is an example of a trusted provider with over 29 years of experience.

Yes, many professional lock repair services offer 24/7 emergency assistance. If you’re in Westchester, NY, you can call Action Lock & Door Co. at 914-237-5824 for prompt emergency service.

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