How To Fix A Stuck Deadbolt

Posted on: 13 October 2016

A jammed deadbolt can pose a major security issues, since you won't be able to properly lock up your home anymore. Instead of struggling with the lock as you try to force it, which may only make the problem worse, learn how to fix it. Then you will never be stuck again when your lock jams.

Step #1: Clean out the lock cylinder

Debris enters the deadbolt each time you put a key inside, since keys are rarely cleaned. This dirt can eventually gum up the works, which is often the cause of a jammed lock. Canned air, such as that used to clean keyboards and electronics, works well in locks. Simply insert the nozzle into the key hole and blow it out. If your deadbolt has key holes on both sides of the door, you need to repeat the cleaning for each side.

Step #2: Lube it up

Lubrication is the second part of the process. Teflon lubricating spray works well because it can penetrate every part of the locking mechanism, but it doesn't leave behind a gummy residue that attracts dirt. The process for lubricating is just the same as for cleaning – insert the nozzle into the keyhole and spray it in. Hold a towel under the lock as you do this, because some of the lubricant may leak out. You don't want it to stain your floor.

Step #3: Test and lubricate bolt

With the door open, test the bolt to see if you can now lock the deadbolt. Don't try to force the key, since this can lead to a broken key. If the bolt still won't move, remove the two screws that hold the face of the deadbolt in place on the inside of the door. This should allow you to see the deadbolt inside of the door. Spray a small amount of lube in the slit in the center of the deadbolt. Then, insert a flathead screwdriver into the slit in the center of the deadbolt and twist it back and forth to force the bolt.

Step #4: Test the strike plate

A final test will make sure your lock continues to operate smoothly without sticking. Smear a small amount of graphite over the end of the bolt, which is the part that enters the door jamb. Then, adjust the door and lock the deadbolt. If the deadbolt still sticks when the door is closed, open the door and examine the strike plate. If you see graphite on the plate, it isn't adjusted appropriately. You can loosen the screws and move it into a better position so the lock can slip in easily.

For more help fixing a stuck deadbolt, contact a professional locksmith in your area or try clicking here.