A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals
Electronic locks are great at sealing your doors shut and stopping anyone from getting in. But you have to hope they never turn on you and accidentally lock you out.
Electronic locks are complicated, and sometimes, you find yourself stuck outside of your home or business without any way to get back in. Many things can be wrong when your electronic door lock is not working. So what do you do?
There are ways to troubleshoot your home’s electronic lock to unlock it and get back inside. Here are the best things to do when your electronic door lock is not working:
If your electronic door lock is not working, you need to diagnose the exact issue. There could be something physically wrong with it, like loose gears. The lock might also not align with your door or strike plate properly.
It could also be a digital problem. Maybe your phone isn’t pairing with the lock, or your Bluetooth or location services are off. Your WiFi might also be down. Try turning everything off and on again and uninstalling and reinstalling your app.
If you have a door lock with a code, make sure you’re entering the code right. If you’re sure you are, call a locksmith to determine the issue. You may need to have the lock dismantled before the problem gets fixed.
A locksmith can help you when your electronic door lock is not working. In the meantime, try to find an alternate way inside. You might also have an override key somewhere that you can use to unlock the door.
Determine the point of the problem. Is the lock making weird noises or not operating smoothly? Then it’s probably a physical problem. Does it look misaligned with the door? Then it’s a door problem. Is the lock not working altogether? It could be an electrical problem. If it’s a smart lock, check each feature to figure out if one of those is causing the issue.
The first thing you should try is changing the batteries on your lock. Locks often give “low battery” alerts when your battery’s about to run out, but sometimes it happens without warning, and that’s why your electronic door lock is not working.
Batteries usually last around 6 to 9 months, but they can run out fast under the right circumstances. If you’re sure you’re not out of battery, you might benefit from taking them out and putting them back in. You may also find debris on the batteries that you need to clean.
Make sure you use the correct batteries. Generally, most types of electronic locks need lithium batteries. If you didn’t use those initially, that could be why they stopped working so fast.
You might have a backup key somewhere. Some electronic locks come with keyholes and override keys in case this exact scenario happens. That way, you can get out of a jam when your electronic door lock is not working.
If you don’t know where your key is, you can employ lock-picking techniques to get through your electronic lock. A skilled locksmith can also help pick open your lock and even provide you with a new key.
You may be typing in the wrong code, and it only seems like your electronic door lock is not working. Even if you’re sure you aren’t, the code to your broken keypad lock could have been reset accidentally or without your knowledge.
Keypad locks like the August smart lock give off a single buzz to indicate the code is wrong. Is something like that happening? Either way, you might want to attempt a code reset. The exact methodology you need to employ to reset your lock code depends on the lock.
A description of your reset protocol will be in the lock manual. But if you don’t have that, you can probably find it on the internet. Google your specific lock’s deal and figure out what you need to do. You may not be able to reset the code without the original, so call a locksmith if this is an issue.
If you’ve ever called IT, the first thing you probably heard was, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” The problem is that there can be several things to try turning off and on again when your electronic door lock is not working.
A non-smart electronic lock should be a little easier – just shut it off and turn it back on if you can. You may need to consider other factors, though. For example, if it was on a timer and there was a power outage, the time was probably reset, and the internal clock is now off.
A smart lock has a few more components that could not be working. Reboot the lock. If that doesn’t work, you still have a few options. The location services may be faulty, or your phone might not be paired right. You should also check if it’s in “vacation mode” or another smart home security mode, and that’s why it’s locking you out.
Try turning your smartphone off and on again. If it’s still not working, you may need to update the app. You might even need to delete and then reinstall it. Next, check if the lock’s WiFi signal is working. You may need to turn your WiFi router off and on again. If WiFi is working, then your Bluetooth may be turned off.
You might even need to “reset” your lock. Resetting will delete all the old data and set a new password. Only do this if you’re sure you’re out of options and haven’t found other reasons your electronic door lock is not working.
Your lock possibly won’t open because something in it has gotten jammed. If you hear a lot of clicking or grinding as it tries to open or the door handle is stuck, this is likely what’s happening. The jam could come from many places, so it’ll be hard to determine what will unjam the lock. There could be a loose mechanism or something sticky in the door.
Try applying light pressure to the lock while it tries to open. Introducing kinetic energy by hitting it could work, although it could also worsen things. You may need to dismantle the lock altogether to determine why your electronic door lock is not working.
If your door is fail-secure, it could be that your electronic door lock is not working because there’s something wrong with the electrical current. Be careful checking because this can potentially be dangerous. Never touch a live wire. You can use a voltmeter to check electrical currents safely.
If your lock plugs into the wall, it might have just gotten unplugged.
The lock may have become stuck due to a broken door or misaligned strike plate, and that’s why your electronic door lock is not working. Sometimes you installed your electronic lock incorrectly, or it becomes off due to damage or wear.
Double-check that it is aligned with the door. Is the door fully closed, or does it seem slightly open? You may need to have your strike plate adjusted to fit the door. You can try to do this yourself with a screwdriver and drills, or you can call a locksmith to do it for you.
If you only just installed the lock, you may not have set up door handling detection or set it up improperly. You’ll need to set it to line up with the door.
If all else fails, you need to dismantle the lock to determine the real reason why your electronic door lock’s not working. The process for lock dismantling varies from lock to lock, and you might want to research your specific type or call a locksmith to do it for you.
After taking the lock apart, you may notice that the gears or other mechanisms are out of place and need resetting.
Or, if the deadbolt doesn’t disengage after the correct code gets entered, the problem lies somewhere in there. You might even need a deadbolt replacement.
If you’ve had a bad cold snap lately, it may have messed up the actuator, and that’s why your electronic door lock is not working. This means the spring is loose, and you need to either tighten it or replace it.
You may find your screws were over-tightened during installation and need to be loosened.
Figuring out why your electronic door lock’s not working can be difficult. But it is possible.
Maybe you needed something as simple as a battery change. Or perhaps you just needed to whip out your override key and get back in there. The code may have been wrong, or something digital had to re-calibrate. Or maybe there was a physical problem – a jammed latch, a frayed wire, or a misaligned door.
Whatever the problem with your electronic lock is, it’s completely solvable. You may need to bring in an expert to figure it out, but there’s some way to fix whatever has gone wrong.