Essential maintenance tips for your traditional locks

Posted on: 26 March 2018

Even with the many different modern locking systems available, most homes still use traditional locks with the characteristic lock and key framework. Traditional locks can last for many years, but only when properly maintained.

Most homeowners are guilty of neglecting their locks until they find themselves locked outside on a cold, rainy night. To prevent this catastrophe from happening, you can take several steps to ensure that your door locks are in good condition at all times.

Regularly check the screws and plates

Traditional locks typically rest on a plate that is tightly screwed into the doorframe. The screws and the plate should always remain properly aligned with the rest of the door. Over time, the screws tend to become loose and cause the plate to fall out of position. This is often bad news for the locking mechanism.

A good strategy is to install longer screws that drive deeper into the doorframe and are less likely to fall out. If you live in an older home, you may need multiple locks tightened or replaced. A residential locksmith can come in handy to ensure that all your doors are properly secured.

Ensure the dead latch falls in place

The dead latch is the movable part of the lock that slides into the frame to keep the door closed. A common issue with traditional locks is the dead latch remaining stuck inside the lock when the door is closed. This is an important security concern, because the door can easily swing open if the latch doesn't snap in place.

Check the housing where the dead latch rests for any blockages. You may simply need to remove any blocking materials from the housing to allow free movement of the latch. In addition, the dead bolt should easily open or close when the key is turned in the hole.

If the key occasionally jams or you need to fiddle with it to get it open, it is time to call a locksmith as soon as possible.  

Regular lubrication is important  

Most locksmiths recommend lubricating your locks at least once a year. Lubrication prevents rust from accumulating and allows the locking mechanism to remain effective. You can lubricate your locks using small amounts of grease or even a damp rag. Avoid overusing chemical products in the locks.

Fix loose hanging doors

In some cases, it is the door rather than the lock itself that requires adjustment. A door that is loose on its hinges can exert undue pressure on the lock and cause it to fit loosely against the doorframe. This is a leading cause for people getting locked out of their homes. Make sure all door hinges are tightly bound to the frame and that the door fits uniformly into the frame.