Before you call up a local locksmith or handyman when an issue arises with your lock, see if it’s an easy fix with some simple troubleshooting below. In this article, I’m only going to address keyed entries and deadbolts.
Keyed Entries – Come with a deadlocking latch bolt. It’s a latchbolt with a deadlocking plunger.
The deadlocking plunger should not go in the strikeplate. Rather it sits outside the hole and is kept pushed in by the strikeplate.
This prevents anyone from opening your door using a credit card or screwdriver as it locks the latchbolt. Many customers come in with a broken latchbolt, and it’s because the deadlocking plunger is going in to the strikeplate hole causing the latchbolt to bind and will not retract and allow you to open the door.
Should this happen you need to remove the lock to release the latchbolt, and then purchase the latchbolt only. This way it is less expensive. You do need to know the lock manufacturer, as latchbolts are not interchangeable between manufacturers.
Deadbolts – If your key spins in the cylinder 360 degrees, it is because there is a broken tailpiece. You will need to know the manufacturer of the lock, then you can purchase a tailpiece, which is a really simple part to replace. There’s several excellent videos on YouTube demonstrating how to do this. Double cylinder deadbolts and single cylinder deadbolts have different tailpieces, so relay that information when purchasing a tailpiece.
These are the two most common issues I have seen throughout my 20+ years in the industry. I hope these simple troubleshooting tips helps.