Door locks can be very flimsy and it takes little for them to break down. If your door lock is broken or malfunctioning, you should look out for the following signs. This will serve as an alert that your lock needs immediate attention.

Most people don’t realize that their door locks are malfunctioning until it is too late. That’s why it’s crucial to know the signs of a broken lock before finding yourself locked out or trying to enter your home with an unresponsive doorknob.

This article will show you what to look for so you can take action before locking yourself out or finding yourself in a vulnerable situation.

Here are the 10 signs that your door lock is broken or malfunctioning

1) A broken doorknob is very stiff when trying to turn it or can’t be turned at all. Sometimes the lock cylinder inside the knob can become loose which prevents the door from turning.

2) A broken lock cylinder is evident by seeing how far the deadbolt extends into the door hole. If you notice that it does not extend very far, either all of the way or most of the way inside, there is a good chance that your lock cylinder is broken.

3) If you try to turn the doorknob and it makes a high-pitched grinding sound, this is another sign that your lock cylinder may be broken.

4) Another sign of a broken lock cylinder is if you notice that somebody is having trouble opening the door from the outside with their key.

5) When you cannot get your key in the lock at all, even when you put your shoulder into it, this is another sign that your lock cylinder could be broken.

6) If you’re turning the key and nothing happens when trying to unlock or open the door, it’s possible that there are no longer any teeth inside of the spring-loaded mechanism. If they are stuck inside, you will not be able to turn the key.

7) If you’re turning the doorknob or using your key but nothing happens for several minutes, it’s possible that there is debris inside of the lock cylinder preventing it from working properly. If this is happening, try to use some rust removing lubricant on all of the moving parts inside.

8) If you’re able to turn the key and unlock or lock your door, but it takes a really long time and is difficult for you, this may mean that there is rust and debris stuck in the gears of your lock. Use some rust-removing lubricant to fix this issue.

9) When there is no resistance when you try to turn the doorknob, this may mean that your lock’s deadbolt has disengaged. If you notice this, check all of the moving parts inside and lubricate them so they work properly again.

10) When you open your door but it does not stay open on its own or it closes itself, this is called “binding.” This can be caused by a broken lock cylinder. If this is happening, your door may not stay open on its own anymore and you might have to prop it open with a stick or piece of wood.

Broken Or Malfunctioning Door Lock FAQs

What to do if the door lock is broken?

You need the services of a locksmith. Here are some tips for finding one:

  • Ask your neighbors if they can recommend someone. If you find someone, make sure to get quotes from multiple locksmiths before hiring them to avoid any future problems.
  • You can also use the internet to look up someone who specializes in lock work. Look for reviews and be sure to get a quote before hiring them.
  • You can also look up a locksmith on your smartphone, just make sure you have the phone number already stored in it so you can call them immediately if needed. This way, you don’t have to worry about running around looking for a pen and paper as well as looking up the number.
  • If you are in a panic and can’t think straight, call 911 and they will send someone right away. This is only recommended if it’s an emergency though because you’ll have to pay for it.

What causes a door lock to break?

A door lock’s main purpose is to keep the door closed, which is why it becomes damaged after years of use. When the lock malfunctions it will be either very difficult or impossible to turn the knob, making it easier for someone to breakthrough.

Eventually, the lock cylinder itself may become broken which means you won’t be able to open or lock the door. Lubricating the lock regularly will prevent this from happening as well as help if it already has broken.

What are the most common reasons for a malfunctioning door lock?

There are many reasons for a door lock breaking, but most of the time it’s because someone forced their way through the door and broke the hardware. When this happens, it can be very difficult to find someone who specializes in repairing them without completely replacing them.

Most people go with replacing rather than repairing when there is damage. However, you should find someone to repair it if it’s not completely broken.

Tightening up the spring before installing will help keep any debris out of there as well as make sure that locks are working properly.

If you can’t afford to replace or fix your locks, you should place reminders on the doorknobs so you don’t forget about them or remember to fix them.

What does a locksmith do?

A professional locksmith handles all sorts of lock work, from house locks, padlocks, and even vehicle locks. They can also rekey a lock so you don’t have to worry about your old key not working anymore.

Need a new key made? A locksmith can do that too if it is still under warranty.

What are the types of door locks?

There are many different types of door locks, but they can be classified into two general categories: deadbolts and spring latch locks.

Deadbolts keep the door locked until you turn the key which turns the lock cylinder while a spring latch does not need to be turned to stay locked and unfastened by pushing down on it.

There are other types, such as a rim cylinder lock which is found in the deadbolt and has a small knob usually on the side of it. This type can be opened with a key or by turning a small knob to unlock it.


Deadbolts These locks differ from spring latch locks in that they don’t rely on the knob to keep the door locked. They are removed by using a key to unlock it.

Spring latches These locks don’t need to be turned like the deadbolt, but they do depend on the knob or handle to stay in place. A spring latch can be opened with a push of the thumb or finger and does not need a key to unlock it.

Rim cylinder locks These types of locks are found in deadbolts and can be opened by using a key or turning it with your hand, depending on the type of knob you have.

Mortise cylinder This lock is found in places such as door handles and operates like a deadbolt but has a smaller cylinder.

Doorknob locks These types of locks are found in places such as doors and garage doors, but they usually need a key to unlock them from the inside or outside.

How can I fix the door lock mechanism?

If your lock is jammed, you can resolve it by taking out the cylinder first. If this doesn’t work, try spraying some lubricating oil on the moving parts and repeat step one.

This will help free up any stuck levers so you can insert your key again.

Once that’s done, just put everything back where they are supposed to go and you’re all set!

What causes door locks to malfunction?

There are many reasons why your locks may not be working properly. The most common ones are due to corrosion, physical damage, or too much dirt buildup inside the lock mechanism.

Yikes! What else should you look out for? Here are some other things that can cause faulty locks:

Mechanical failure because of age – This is usually caused by excessive use or age.

Jammed locks – This is usually due to dirt, dust, or any other type of debris inside the lock mechanism.

Broken keys – Having these not work properly can cause deadbolts and other types of locks to malfunction as well.

Lost keys – If your keys are missing, you need to have a locksmith come to you as soon as possible so they can create new ones before anyone breaks into your home.

What do you need to have done if your door lock is broken?

If your lock isn’t working, the first thing you should do is call a locksmith. They will usually recommend different types of services based on what you need to be done. This can range from having to hire them for emergency lockout assistance, getting your lock rekeyed or restored if it’s damaged due to vandalism, etc.

If you’re just having a specific part replaced like the deadbolt, knob, or lever handle, then you’ll only have to pay for that service instead of the entire job.

If they do recommend replacing your lock, make sure you get multiple estimates before hiring them to prevent getting overcharged for the same services.

How much does a locksmith cost?

This depends on where you live but most locksmiths charge by the hour. Make sure to ask for a quote so you don’t have any surprises when they bill you for their services.

The better locksmiths usually come with a dispatch service so they can send someone to you right away if needed. This is a great service to have in case of an emergency like getting locked out of your home or vehicle.

Do locksmiths offer other types of services?

Be sure to find out if they offer the service you need before hiring them. If you need more than just a simple lock change, some locksmiths specialize in these other types of work:

What to expect from a locksmith?

Be prepared to have them explain what they are going to do before any work is done. Some may have you sign a waiver so you can’t hold them liable for any damages to your locks.

While most are honest people, there are some unscrupulous ones out there that will overcharge you or even damage your lock during the process.

This is why it’s important to get multiple quotes before hiring anyone to avoid any problems like these in the future.

If ever they do damage your lock while working on it, they should repair or replace it for free. If they refuse, you can choose to hire someone else to fix the problem and only pay them back the original estimate.

What locksmiths are not allowed to do when you hire them for fixing your broken or malfunctioning door lock?

One of the things they are not allowed to do even if you’ve hired them is to change your lock without giving them a new key. This rule applies to deadbolts and spring latches so it’s important for you to understand what type of lock you have before letting them work on it.

Another thing is if they damage your door while working on it, you’re not required to pay for the damages. They should repair or replace your door if they break it while doing the job.

Do you need to replace your locks?

You might be surprised at how many people don’t think about their door locks until they break. But if you notice any of these 10 signs, it’s time to call a professional for help. It could save you money and stress in the long run!

If your key doesn’t work or feels loose when turning the lock, this is a sign that something is wrong with the cylinder. The same goes for if there’s no resistance when turning the key—it means that either the tumbler pins are worn out or too loose, or that some other part inside has broken down.

This can lead to an easy break-in opportunity for thieves who know what they’re doing!

Call 713 Locksmith today at (713) 955-1009 so we can fix your problem before it gets worse!

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