Common Lock Problems (And How To Solve Them)

Your locks are probably a bit like your plumbing. You only really think about it when it goes wrong. Using keys and locks is something we do so many times a day it becomes automatic, so when a key won’t go in the lock, or you can’t lock the door properly because the key jams, it can take you by surprise. The good news is, most lock problems are fairly simple, so once you know what’s wrong, they can be easily fixed by a visit from your local friendly locksmith. So if any of these situations seem familiar to you, your locks might need some TLC.

Snapped Keys

It’s something that’s happened to all of us, and it always seems to happen at the worst possible moment. You’re in a rush, trying to get out, or in, the door quickly, and there’s a horrible snapping sound. Half of your key comes away in your hand, and the other stays lodged firmly in the lock. This is something that isn’t easy to fix by yourself, and you could even make it worse if you try to unlock or lock the door further with the key stuck in the lock. But broken keys are a simple job for a professional with the right tools. We have a variety of different methods for removing broken keys from locks depending on the lock and key type, so we can remove it and cut you a new key quickly.

Keys Won’t Turn

At first you might think you’ve used the wrong key in the lock, but after checking again you realise it’s the right key, but it won’t turn in the lock. Firstly, don’t try to force the key to turn, or else you could end up with common problem 1 on your hands as well! Keys not turning can be caused by a few things. First is that the lock has no lubrication, which can cause some moving parts to become stiff or stuck in place. In which case a little silicone-based lubrication can get the job done. It can also be because your door is misaligned (which we’ll go into in a second), or that there is a problem within the lock cylinder itself that’s causing a jam and it needs replacing. Both of these issues will need a locksmith to diagnose and fix, but luckily most repairs won’t take very long once we’re there! And if you need a new lock, we carry a large stock of cylinders with us to make the process quick and painless.


Door misalignment is a very common problem, especially in uPVC doors, but you might not know the symptoms right away. If your door is scuffing or scraping on the floor or door frame when it’s opened or closed, sticks in the frame when you try to close it, or your door latch doesn’t fit into the receiving strike plate, you probably have a misalignment. This is caused by a number of things, from loose screws on the top hinge of the door, a sagging door or even fresh paint pushing the door out of alignment. Most of the time misalignment can be repaired fairly easily (though sometimes we do need to take the door off to do it!) and we can do it in the same initial visit.

You Need A New Lock

The majority of door lock problems are mostly mechanism issues, or wear and tear, which means a new lock may be a cheaper and simpler option for you. Excessive use, or not using it often enough can cause locks to seize and become stuck, repeatedly using the wrong keys, or even using worn keys can all cause issues. Foreign objects getting stuck in the lock can also mean a replacement (gum is a firm favourite), or even just dirt and grime that builds up over years of use. We also recommend having new locks installed whenever you move into a new house, so that you know you’re the only one with a key to get in.

At My Locks, these are issues we come across almost daily. Sometimes they weren’t even the issue we were called for, but if we notice an issue with your lock while we’re there, we will always highlight it and provide you with options to fix it. Many of these problems can be solved during our visit with just a few simple steps, so if you recognise any of these issues, just get in touch so that we can get your locks fully operational again!