A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
If you are looking to fix sliding door locks, there are a few things you can try. One of these methods will solve your problem, whether a sliding door latch is stuck in the locked position or the device will not lock.
In some cases, the underlying issue with your sliding door locks cannot be addressed fully using these methods. However, you can treat the symptoms of more severe issues with the processes outlined below, even if it will not solve foundational problems or door warping.
The most common ways to fix sliding door locks are:
Locksmiths can fix sliding door locks in a variety of situations with repair or replacement. Even if they cannot solve an underlying issue such as foundational shifting, lifting root systems, seasonal wood expansion, they can remedy the most troubling symptoms.
The price to replace or fix a sliding door lock includes the cost of parts and labor. The standard starting cost of a lock change service is $35 plus the service fee ($15). The price of replacement parts is unknown until the damage is assessed by a trained technician.
Common reasons a sliding door won’t lock include misalignment, gumming, or lock damage. Misalignment comes from the door bending or expanding. Gumming is the result of rust or other debris clogging the lock internals. And damage includes hardware breakage and wear.
If the key and thumbturn will not open a sliding door lock, you can try to manipulate the locking mechanism directly. Look into how to unlock a door without a keyhole because you will not be able to use the keyway to get the door open. And if you need further assistance, call a locksmith.
All locks wear down over time. Metal grinds against metal to the point where it thins or distorts. A lock may stop working at this point or fully break later. It is important to fix sliding door locks early as malfunctioning locks require more attempts to open, are placed under more stress, and have a higher chance of breaking.
In many cases, all it takes to fix a sliding door lock is a little lubricant. This fix is not always permanent, but it can get your sliding door open for further repairs or replacement. Before we get to the application of the lubricant, you need to make sure you have the right substance.
The best door lock lubricants will not use an oil base. If you use standard WD-40 or other oily lubricants, the liquid residue attracts dust and other debris. So even if the lock opens at the moment, it is likely to gum up and stop working. This can happen as quickly as a few days.
If the lock is open and the door will not move, you can lubricate the track. But if you are trying to fix a sliding door lock, apply the lubricant inside any keyways. With no keyway on your sliding door lock, lock maintenance requires the application of lube to the bolt, latch, or internal mechanisms.
Lubrication can fix a sliding door latch stuck in the locked position or even get a latch that is not extending to move again. If the issue is that something is not moving as it should, the non-moving piece is what you need to lubricate.
Sometimes you cannot fix sliding door locks because the issue lies with the door itself. This is exceedingly common for sliding door locks. Because the track is so long and the tolerances are so tight, any disruption to that surface is going to affect the door’s ability to open.
A recommendation for sliding glass door security is to block the tracks so the door cannot open. This can also happen unintentionally and imperceptibly with the same type of debris accumulation that happens inside locks. You can lubricate and clean the tracks to fix this.
Other more substantial door problems stem from the shifting of the home or the deformation of the door. Your main options here are to raise or lower the lock so the latch can catch, or if the door isn’t sliding, you can trim the door to fit the sloping of the track.
Sliding doors are not ideal for physical security, mainly because they cannot withstand much force without the risk of glass or screen breaking. This is also an issue if you are working on fixing the door. Be gentle, and do not over-stress the door as you work on it.
Lock repair is what most people think of when they picture how to fix a sliding door lock. This is the process of mending or replacing parts of the lock without changing the lock entirely. Doing this work yourself is not always possible and often requires a locksmith.
Many cheap sliding door locks break permanently if they are ever taken apart. However, something like a mortise lock is built to be serviceable. To fix sliding door locks with repair, the lock must be designed to disassemble and reassemble.
If your sliding door uses a mortise lock, the lock body will slide out from a pocket carved into the door. The lock body can then be opened for more extensive cleaning or to assess if any springs or actuators have broken. With an inside view of the lock, you can better see what needs repairing.
Fixing jams can mirror the process of getting a broken key out of a lock. You may need to tweeze and pry at debris or jammed lock components to remove blockages. If any parts have become disconnected, they can be reattached to their proper position.
Replacing any small parts may be an issue for antique locks, as not all parts are likely to still be available. And in the case of many modern sliding door locks, manufacturers do not make parts widely available. Locksmiths that have cannibalized partially broken locks may be the only resource for parts.
Sometimes the best way to fix a sliding door lock is to replace the lock. This is done in instances where the existing lock cannot be disassembled without breaking, when replacement parts are no longer available, or when the cost of a new lock is cheaper than new parts.
The only issue you are likely to encounter with this sliding door lock fix is buying a lock that fits your door. Whether it is patio door lock replacement or screen door lock replacement, different doors are built to accommodate different styles and sizes of lock.
Most sliding doors cannot be adjusted to fit a new style of lock. Material on sliding doors is often limited by a screen or glass. So if your sliding door uses a mortise lock, you need to replace it with a mortise lock of a similar size.
Sliding door lock replacement is rarely done to achieve better home security, as these entryways have certain inherent security flaws that undermine whatever lock is used. If you have any questions about buying or installing new sliding door lock hardware, contact a locksmith.
It is important to fix sliding door locks so there is no glaring weakness in your home security. Though sliding doors do not provide much protection, all effective crime prevention strategies require all locks to be in working order, especially if they are on exterior doors.
If you do not fix a sliding door lock, you open yourself up to issues beyond burglary. A door not working can endanger pets and create additional stress that damages the door or tracks. Address these issues before they escalate.
If you have any further questions about how to fix sliding door locks in general, let us know in the comments below. Specific problems will need to be addressed by a locksmith who can look at the issue you are describing. Be sure to check if there is a United Locksmith in your area.