Do It Yourself,
Change or Rekey Locks and Save Money!
When consumers call our store with a problem we ask a lot of questions. By finding out the details on the phone, we help some customers do it themselves.
Some of the common problems and the Do It Yourself solution:
- Key will not go into the lock, Lubricate the lock with WD-40 or if frozen use a hair dryer to warm the lock.
- Key suddenly will not turn the lock, Lubricate the lock and pull or push on the door while trying to turn the key to relieve pressure on the latch.
- The whole lock turns when your turn the key, The set screw may be loose. It is usually on the edge of the door in line with the cylinder. A cover plate may need to be removed to see it.
- Someone unfamiliar with the lock (contractor or house sitter) has the key but cannot open the door, Some locks turn one time to pull back the bolt and then a quarter turn to pull back the latch. Turn the key 360 degrees and keep turning.
Some jobs you can do with a little help like:
- Change your locks to use new keys. Most locks are fairly easy to remove and reinstall with only a screwdriver. If you do not see the screws, this might be the time to take a digital picture and make a trip to your local locksmith. Asking before you force the lock cylinder to turn can save you a lot of grief and money. Then bring in the cylinder to be rekeyed. Usually there is a quick turn around time on rekeying at the locksmith store. Ask how soon you can pick them up. Reinstall in reverse order of disassembly.
- Replace a broken lock. Locks use different size holes for installation. To get a lock that will fit in the existing holes, it will be necessary to bring the entire lock, including the bolt to the locksmith store. Knowledgeable staff will be able to provide the correct replacement if it is still available. If it is not they will know what your options are.
- Bolt adjustment. All doors and frames move. If your bolt is rubbing and hard to turn or will not go into the hole, get a metal file and some white grease or even lipstick. With the door open put grease on the bolt. Retract the bolt into the door, close the door firmly and gently turn the inside handle of the bolt, bumping it against the metal plate on the door frame. Open the door and look at the metal plate. You should see an outline of the grease telling you where to file. If it is too much, you might need to move the plate or buy a different one.
- Want one key for all the locks(keyed alike)on your home? If you have locks by the same manufacturer but different keys, bring the locks and the existing keys to the locksmith store to be keyed alike. If your locks are not from the same manufacturer, it may still be possible, but cylinders or locks may need to be replaced.
- Install a new lock in an existing hole. Measure the diameter of the hole in the door. Standard is 2 1/8". Measure the distance from the edge of the door (outside) to the center of the hole. Standard is either 2 3/8" or 2 3/4". Some 5" backsets are still around too.
If you can find a lock that fits your existing holes it is a simple matter to replace the lock. Read the directions and proceed. If the holes you have are different, try a locksmith to see if a replacement is still available. If not the holes must be re-drilled and possibly cover up plates used for a new lock to fit.