Most of the time, our locks work so smoothly that we hardly even think about them. Just insert key, turn, remove, and head out, secure in the trust that your house will be locked all day. It’s easy to go months or years without thinking about those house and car locks we use every day. But, after months or years of regular use, even the most sturdy and well-installed locks can start to struggle.
Common Lock Issues
When your locks start to wear down, a few different things can go wrong, but all of them will be pretty apparent. You’re pretty much guaranteed to notice something is up with your lock when your key gets stuck and you can no longer turn the lock and secure the door. The inverse is also pretty common. When a lock starts wearing down, you may experience a key that turns and turns but never actually affects the lock. Fortunately, both of these issues can be easily fixed. There are tutorials to learn how to repair a standard 4-pin tumbler lock online, and if you’re handy, you can try to do so yourself. However, a word of caution: if you don’t know what you’re doing, you may damage your lock to the point that it needs to be replaced. It’s generally better to leave lock repair to a local locksmith.
What many people don’t realize is that a bit of routine maintenance every so often can help prevent your locks from failing. More often than not, homeowners don’t even know that they should perform basic lock maintenance, let alone how to do so. So, in order to help prolong the life of your locks—especially those heavily used ones—start with these easy lock maintenance steps:
- Keep them lubricated – inside the tumbler, there are four small metal pins that move up and down; they control whether your lock unlocks or not. If your lock doesn’t want to turn, it could be because the pins are stuck, and lubrication could help ease things back to functioning properly.
- Check the hinges – another big reason your lock may be sticking is because the door itself is no longer hanging right. The hinges bear a lot of weight and see a ton of use, so it’s only natural that they can eventually become a bit crooked. Check and potentially tighten the screws for each plate on both the door and jamb to help ensure the latch centers in the strike plate (and won’t stick).
- Check your keys – another reason your keys may not turn, or keep turning indefinitely, is the keys themselves rather than the lock. Check to see if the hills and valleys of your key have been dented or worn down, and always make key copies from an original, not a duplicate, for better precision.
If your locks are struggling, and a bit of lock lubricant hasn’t helped ease the problem, there may be other issues within the lock tumbler. Your local locksmith can re-key the lock or perform more extensive lock repair to get everything back to working smoothly. For locksmith services you can trust in Philadelphia, contact Top Notch Locksmith today!