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How To Repair Sticking Deadbolt Locks

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A poorly functioning deadbolt lock can be a security risk to your home for several reasons. First, it can gum up so that it no longer operates properly, leaving your home unlocked and open to others. Second, it could stop working when you are outside of the the home, leaving you with no way to get in. In many cases a deadbolt can be fixed. Try the following procedure as soon as a lock begins to feel sticky or difficult to engage.



Carburetor cleaner

Old toothbrush


Graphite lubricant

Cleaning and repair method:

Step one: Any repair begins with the disassembly of the deadbolt. Begin by opening the door and removing the two screws that hold the striker plate in place. This is the plate on the edge of the door that has the hole in the center, which the deadbolt moves through.

Next, remove the covers on the deadbolt on the inside of the door. There is usually one or two screws holding this in place. Simply remove them to loosen the cover so you can see inside the lock.

Step two: Take the carburetor cleaner and spray the inside of the lock. Carburetor cleaner comes in an aerosol can and it is available from auto parts stores. Spray thoroughly so it begins to drip from the lock. Hold a rag beneath the lock to catch the run-off, which will likely be very dirty.

Step three: If the lock is very dirty on the inside, the cleaner may not be sufficient for removing the gunk on its own. In this case, use the old toothbrush to lightly brush away the remaining dirt. Be gentle so you don't damage anything inside the lock.

Step four: Wipe out the remaining cleaner and gunk from the interior of the lock with a rag. Then, open the deadbolt so it is revealed fully and wipe it down with a rag dampened in the carburetor cleaner.

Step five: Rub powdered graphite over the internal workings of the lock. Graphite helps the lock move smoothly but it doesn't cause it to gum up like other lubricants.

Step six: Reassemble the lock and replace the screws. Insert the nozzle of the graphite tube into the keyhole and apply a small puff of graphite powder. Insert the key and turn the lock open and closed several times to ensure the graphite has worked through and that the lock is now operating smoothly.

Sometimes you may notice a more severe problem when you open up the lock, such as rust, corrosion, or broken or bent parts. In this case, or if the lock still refuses to work well after cleaning, it's time to call a local locksmith for a professional repair or replacement. Contact a business, such as Fradon Lock Co Inc, for more information.