How to Deal with Jammed Locks07/31/2015 Back To Blog
When the key does not turn properly and the door lockset is completely stuck or barely moving, you need to take action straight away. The problem can be effectively eliminated as long as its cause is identified. Learn how to overcome the jamming issue effectively.
Inspection and Testing
Look closely at the keyhole and all other visible components - Focus on the cylinder to identify any damage. If there has been a picking attempt, you can notice scratches and sometimes black residue. In such cases, you might be in need of lock repair or rekey services.
Check the handle or knob - Jiggle the handle a bit. If it works normally, it should move up and down slightly. Similarly, when you attempt to turn the knob, it should respond with slight motion. If it is completely stuck, it must be fixed.
Insert the key into the keyhole and watch out for obstructions - If the key gets stuck at a certain point, you must not push it further down. Otherwise, it will get broken. You would not want to make the solution even more complex by adding broken key extraction.
Clean the keyhole with compressed air - This is an effective method for removing dust and dirt that are stuck inside and pose a barrier for the key. Apply the compressed air directly into the keyhole. Clean the slots around the cylinder in the same fashion as well.
Rub the lockset and key with alcohol if it is cold outside - This is important since the lock may be frozen in case of low temperature and high humidity. In fact, this is often the only thing necessary for car door opening. Dip soft cloth into the alcohol and then rub the visible section of the cylinder and the key vigorously. You can add a drop or two of alcohol into the keyhole as well, but not more.
Lubricate the lock - Since most locking devices get stuck due to friction between the cylinder components, this is one of the most effective solutions for dealing with jamming. Get graphite powder lubricant for the purpose. Insert the nozzle into the keyway and apply the compound inside until it starts coming out. Spread a little bit of it on the face of the door lock cylinder and wipe the rest.
Apply lubricant on the key - Cover both sides of the blade with thin coat of the compound and add a tiny amount on the blade. Then insert it the item into the lubricated keyway and turn it gently. Attempt to open the door.
If none of these troubleshooting techniques works, you should opt for lock fix service right away to resolve the problem completely and avoid even greater trouble.