Deadbolts offer great security in comparison to regular door locks. They are sturdy and difficult to jimmy. But, every now and then, they can get stuck.
If that has happened to you, take immediate action because a stuck deadbolt is like having no lock at all. This means no safety or privacy!
To help you get out of this problem, we’ve compiled this ultimate guide to fix a deadbolt stuck in door. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Deadbolt Stuck In Door
What are Deadbolts?
A deadbolt lock has a bolt that is activated by a key or small knob (also called a thumb turn). When you insert the correct key and turn it, the bolt unlocks to open the door.
Without the right key, you can’t unlock the door – even with force. The cylinder collar is also round and tapered. This makes it difficult to grip with a wrench or pliers. So, no one jimmy their way in either.
This rigid locking mechanism makes deadbolts very safe. However, the level of security depends on the type of deadbolt.
- Single Cylinder Deadlock – this has a key on the exterior and a thumbturn on the interior. You don’t need a key to open the lock from the inside.
- Double Cylinder Deadlock – this doesn’t have a thumb turn. Instead, there is a key on both sides.
Although both types may get stuck, a single-cylinder deadbolt or deadlock is used more than a double-cylinder one. It’s because the lock can make it difficult to escape in case there’s a house fire or any other emergency.
Why Does a Deadbolt Get Stuck in the Door?
There are several reasons why a deadbolt gets stuck in the door. So, the first step in resolving the issue is to identify the cause. This will help you choose the best possible solution from the guide below.
1. Dust & Rust
If the deadbolt lock is very old, it’s possible for dirt and grime to accumulate on it. Even if you take good care of your locks, exposure to humidity can cause the metals to rust. Both of these things can cause obstruction in the locking mechanism.
2. Disengaged or Damaged Parts
Sometimes, the components inside the lock disengage and become loose. This prevents the key from turning properly all the way around, or you may feel the key movement is hard.
Alternatively, these parts may get damaged during use. This particular issue should be resolved with a professional inspection of exactly what became damaged.
3. Poor Installation
When the key turns but the deadbolt doesn’t open, it means that the problem is in installation. The deadbolt may not be in alignment with the strike plate, or there might be some other issue.
4. Faulty Strike Plate
A deadbolt that doesn’t turn from the inside is because of the faulty metal strike plate. The metal plate will make the entire locking mechanism useless, and your door might get jammed in an unlocked position.
How to Fix a Deadbolt Stuck in the Door?
Now we know all about deadbolts and what causes them to be stuck. Let’s have a look at how you can solve the problem!
1. Clean & Lubricate
Usually, deadbolt locks are stuck because of rust and dirt buildup. So, the first thing you should do is grab a microfiber cloth and clean the deadbolt. You can also use a small brush to remove dust from corners like those in a strike plate.
Once clean, use a graphite spray to lubricate the key passage. Don’t spray too much, as it can make the lock greasy and slippery. Instead, spray a small amount and then insert the key. Turn it around to spread the spray inside.
2. Use a Hammer
If you suspect that the components have disengaged inside, shake the deadbolt lock a little and hear a rattling sound. This will confirm that things are loose on the inside.
To fix this, get a small hammer and the key. Put the key inside the keyhole and turn it around. While doing so, use the hammer to gently tap the body around the keyhole. This will move the components until they sit back in their right position.
Don’t panic if the key suddenly stops twisting. Pull it out and repeat the process. It will take some time, but the lock will become unstuck soon afterward.
3. Remove the Deadbolt & Reinstall
If your deadbolt lock is poorly installed, the only way to fix it is to remove it. This is a slightly technical process. So, if you don’t have any experience, we recommend asking a professional to do it for you.
First, use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the mounting screws on the front. This will cause the front plate to fall off. But, if it doesn’t, you can stick a flathead screwdriver under its rim and pull away from the door.
Now, you will notice the inner deadbolt rod in the lock mechanism. Check whether it’s correctly aligned with the slot inside the locking mechanism. If not, slide it into the slot and screw the front plate back into place. Try unlocking the door.
If this doesn’t work, remove the entire deadbolt lock and reinstall. Begin by pulling out the front place as discussed above. The backplate will typically fall off with the front plate. You can use the screwdriver to push it off if it doesn’t.
There will be a clip holding the deadbolt in its position. Again, grab hold of the screwdriver and pull it off. The only thing left now will be a topper on the deadbolt. Push it off, and the deadbolt lock will come off completely.
Reinstall the same deadbolt lock properly. Or, you can replace it with a new deadbolt lock.
4. Replace the Metal Strike Plate
A faulty or damaged metal striker plate must be replaced. You can do it yourself as it’s a simple process. Just remove the screws, and the metal plate will come off. Here’s a step-by-step video to help you out!
Some Other Ways to Unstick a Deadbolt Lock
If none of the methods above work, you should inspect the door frame and its alignment. Often, the door gets misaligned because of the physical impact and pressure. Gently tapping the affected areas with a hammer will fix the issue.
Another way is to use a warm key, especially if you live in cold regions. The freezing temperatures can cause the deadbolt to get stuck. Warm the key up using a hair dryer and insert it in the keyhole. Twist to unlock!
All in all, fixing a jammed deadbolt lock is fairly simple. You just need to figure out the right cause, and the solution will surface automatically. But, if you’re still unsure about the lock and fear that it may get stuck again, ask an expert to inspect it thoroughly.
We hope this guide served as a useful resource. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below!