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Door Knob Turns But Won’t Open? How To Fix Jammed and Stuck Locks

Push Button Door Knob Lock

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There are a lot small specific problems that you can encounter with your lock. You almost always know what is wrong, though you may need proper diagnoses to know how to go about fixing the issue. Look for your issue below, and see if you can’t find your solution.

My Door Knob Turns But Won’t Open

A door knob, or door handle, uses a spring-loaded latch. The turning of the handle retracts the latch by pulling on the spring and compressing it. In the resting state of the lock, the spring is extended. When the door knob is locked, the handle will not turn, which keeps the latch from retracting.

This is all to say that, when your door knob turns but won’t open, the issue is with you handle not properly interacting with the spring in the latch. How to fix a stuck door latch will vary, because the issues can vary, but you first need to get the door open.

As these locks are the kind that would be used on an interior door, you may find it helpful to read about how to get back into a locked bedroom. If this lock is on an exterior door, just be sure that any other of your locks are open before addressing the door knob that turns but won’t open.

To fix the door knob figure out where the connections have gone awry:

  1. Take the handles/knobs off of the door.
  2. Remove the handles, including the thru spindle.
  3. Use a tool (a flathead screwdriver will work) to twist within the gap the thru spindle inserts into.
  4. See if this retracts the handle.

If the latch retracts, then the handles are not secured to the thru spindle properly. You will need to address that connection. The problem might be with the spindle, the handles themselves, or the pressure that keeps them in solid contact with one another. Check for wear on all of these parts and replace what is damaged. If there is no damage, make sure that the handles are secured to the door with enough pressure so that their turning manipulates the spindle.

If the latch does not retract, there is something wrong with the latch housing. Chances are there is something wrong with the spring or some other small component. It is unlikely that such fine-tuned part replacement and diagnosis will be feasible for most people. You can simply replace the whole latch housing and keep your handles/door knobs.

When a door knob turns but won’t open, there is a good chance you will be doing some replacing. Just be sure to isolate the issue before committing to a solution.

Door Lock Stuck in Open Position

With your door lock stuck in unlocked the position, your home can be made vulnerable. The solutions and severity of this issue will differ depending on what type of lock it is. The most pressing will be when your deadbolt door lock is stuck in the open position because your deadbolt provides the real security for a building.

When it comes to discovering exactly what is going wrong you can look at a couple different factors and how they might be influencing your situation.

  • If you have an older lock, you might find that the bolt or internals have rusted into position or otherwise been gummed up.
  • The key may be worn or damaged so it will not work in the cylinder. Just check to see if a different key will work, or if the thumbturn (if one exists) actuates the bolt.
  • The lock cylinder may be broken so that you cannot use your key or anything else to move your door lock into the locked position.
  • The door could be misaligned so that, although the door can be “locked” while the door is ajar when closed the door cannot lock.

There are some solutions for a broken lock that work in many different instances. Between those fixes, the four main issues that are outlined above can be pretty well sorted. This is an extremely dangerous situation, as your security will be limited until the issue is resolved.

Deadbolt Lock Stuck in Locked Position

When a deadbolt lock is stuck in the locked position, this is very similar to when you have a door lock stuck in the open position. It will have the same basic diagnosis methods as what is listed above. I will list them again just in case you jumped to this section.

  • If you have an older lock, you might find that the bolt or internals have rusted into position or otherwise been gummed up.
  • The key may be worn or damaged so it will not work in the cylinder. Just check to see if a different key will work, or if the thumbturn (if one exists) actuates the bolt.
  • The lock cylinder may be broken so that you cannot use your key or anything else to move your door lock into the unlocked position.
  • The door could be misaligned so that, although the door can be “unlocked” while the door is ajar when closed the door cannot unlock.

The same solutions apply to when you are solving the issue with most broken locks. But where you may have broken your own lock with too much force, when a lock is jammed in the locked position, it often has to do with wear. Items are getting hung up on one another so they cannot retract properly.

This is also quite an issue because you cannot get your door open as easily as you could with a door knob that has broken. A deadbolt is not spring loaded, so you need the lock to actuate in order for it to open. You might need to really finagle the lock after taking it apart in order to get the lock out of the door to even get it open.

I Got My Door Knob Lock Button Stuck

The lock button is something relatively specific to interior door handles. Very often this is a very simple problem to solve. A door knob lock button stuck has a few quick fixes that you can try out.

  1. Start by trying to push the lock button.
  2. Push and hold the button in.
  3. Release the button quickly (try sliding your finger off the button so the pressure is maintained up until the precise moment of release with no backing off).
  4. If that does not solve the issue, depress the lock button rapidly (do this like an arcade video game button).
  5. If the door knob lock button is still stuck, try turning the handle while experimenting with the ways you are pressing the button.
  6. Jiggle the handle more vigorously (fast, though not with too much force) if you are not getting results.

This is for when the door lock button is stuck in, as this is often the most common type of door button sticking. If the door lock button is stuck out, keeping you from pressing it in, jiggling the handle and moving the door is likely to shake the jammed parts together.

If you cannot get the lock button unstuck with simple jiggling and the door is locked, have no fear, you should still be able to get the door open. Sometimes the lock button being stuck is endemic of the latch bolt freezing, so you might not be able to take advantage of spring loaded latch through the gap between the door and the frame.

Taking the lock of the door is often simpler than it would be to take a deadbolt or exterior door knob lock of the door. First off, if you can see and interact with the stuck lock button, you will be able to address the set screws or twist-off rose. Take the latch and knob off of the door and clean them.

More likely than not, this lock has just been gummed up or rusted. Chances are, it does not need to be fully replaced. If you cannot clean the lock properly, or to the extent you feel comfortable with, replace it entirely.

Final Thoughts

If you cannot solve your issue do not hesitate to call a locksmith. Fixing your problem yourself is not always the best possible avenue for addressing your door lock. How much a locksmith costs will vary depending on the work you need, but prices should be competitive, so just be sure to look for the right locksmith for you.

Category: How To's, Residential, Safety & Security


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