Your door lock is essentially tasked with keeping your family and property safe. A high-quality lock often costs a pretty penny, but it also offers you ample protection from intruders. To ensure your locks remain functional, you need to maintain them periodically. Jammed locks, stuck keys and sagging doors can all compromise your safety or prevent you from accessing your home. Here is a look at several tips for proper door lock maintenance so as to avoid premature wear and tear or other complications.
Lock cleaning and lubrication
First and foremost, you need to remove accumulating gunk in the keyhole and on the latch and strike plate. Too much gunk can cause the key to get stuck in the keyhole or block the door from properly latching in the frame. While cleaning, use a mild detergent and wet rag to remove all the dirt you can. Using abrasive cleaners can often do more harm than good, as it can corrode the lock's finish.
Next, you need to lubricate the lock so it operates smoothly. The lock cylinder typically contains small pins and springs that can run dry over time, making the key very difficult to turn. To fix this, apply a bit of graphite lubricant into the keyhole and then turn the key in and out a few times to help spread the lubricant, wiping any dirt on the key each time. Finally, remove a screw or two from the lock so you get enough room to spray some lubricant inside the lock to ensure the latch and bolt work smoothly.
Another major cause of door lock failure is loose hinges that cause the door to sag. The pressure on the latch can often cause lock failure or make it hard for the door to open and close. To ascertain you have a problem, check the floor for rub marks and observe if the gap between the frame and door is uneven. Any of these signs would point to a sagging door that needs adjustment.
To do this, you need a head screw to tighten all loose hinges. You should also tighten the screws on the strike plate to ensure the latch or bolt falls into the right place. After adjusting the hinges, the lock should operate well without you having to lift or push/pull the door.
If the gap between the door and frame is too wide, the latch will be exposed and could easily be pried open. To fix this issue, consider installing a latch guard on the door.
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