Lock Filter
December 3, 2010 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me install an entry lock correctly.

Help a person with all rusty thumbs, so to speak.

After I locked myself out of my house, a locksmith drilled out the old lock, ruining it. I bought a new Schlage entry lock (the kind with a keyhole in the middle of the knob on the exterior side) and installed it; it seemed to fit perfectly and worked the first few times.

Then the lock stopped working. I can insert the key but it will not turn. Occasionally it does turn and opens the door.

The people I live with are now irritated and we all are baffled. The door locks properly -- we just can't unlock it from the outside, and luckily have another entry door. I'm humiliated and have decided I could never live in the steampunk era. However, I don't want to give up and pay for a locksmith to install a new lock.

(a) Will taking the knob assembly all apart again and reinstalling it, matching the technical illustrations exactly, help?

(b) Should we install the jamb plate (the brass fitting on the doorframe that holds the bolt) that came with the lock? I didn't think it was necessary since that part was not broken, but maybe it is necessary.

(c) Have we broken something inside the lock? The irritated relatives may have tried to force the key.

(d) Do we have a chance at getting an exchange from the hardware store or manufacturer? It is only $26 and we can't prove that we didn't break it by installing it incorrectly.
posted by bad grammar to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think is anything you've done wrong. Your new key isn't operating your new lock; sounds defective to me. Take it back and get a new one.
posted by Mitheral at 4:26 PM on December 3, 2010

Probably a lack of lubrication. Get some kind of silicon based lubicrant or Mica Based Lubricant and squirt a little in the key hole. This really isn't NSFW but it sure could be. I bet it works great. If you don't want to find special lubricant that won't freeze in the cold just dip the key in some vegetable oil and push the key in and out a few times to spread the lubricant around (geez, this is really bad) then see if the lock gets any better.
posted by bartonlong at 4:33 PM on December 3, 2010

It is probably just misaligned, try loosening the screws a couple turns. Then test the key, it should work fine. Make sure when you tighten them, that the ends stay aligned and tighten it well. I think the screws were a little bit loose when you first installed it and it has wiggled around.
posted by lee at 4:34 PM on December 3, 2010

You should use graphite for locks. Liquid lubricants get sticky and attract dust, as well as gumming up in really cold weather. Learned the hard way.

But that's likely not your problem. My memory of those locks is that the two handles' mechanisms interlock with eachother, so if one is aligned, the other has to be as well. If either handle isn't working, of if you are talking about a deadbolt, lee's advice is excellent. Worth a shot, however.

More likely, the lock cylinder itself just doesn't work. Are you using copied keys, or the ones fresh from the package? Try the originals. If that doesn't work, time to exchange it for a new one. I really doubt they will hassle you about it. Especially if the key still doesn't turn when it is out of the door.

(Hint: there is a number on a sticker on the box it came in. Find another lock with the same number and all the keys you had made for the old one will work in the new one.)
posted by gjc at 4:41 PM on December 3, 2010

I recently had the same problem with a Schlage lock and just returned it. The second lock worked fine. If you got it from a big box store they will take it back no problem.
posted by orme at 4:42 PM on December 3, 2010

This happened last time I installed an exterior door knob. I think it was even a schlage. I don't remember the precise details without having a door knob disassembled in front of me, but there was some kind of sleeve inside that moved as your turned the key in the lock, but because the lock/knob housing was rotated relative to the hole in the door that the latch bolt went though it hit the edge of the hole (or something) and wouldn't unlock.
a) Maybe. It's worth a try, anyway.
b) Not as long as the latch bolt engages with it fine.
c) Probably not. If your irritated relaties are breaking this thing, then what's regular use or a robber gonna do to it?
c) It'd be worth a try if you really think it's defective.
posted by cmoj at 5:54 PM on December 3, 2010

I suggest doing what lee said - loosen the screws on the inside of the door a little. I have a deadbolt lock that refuses to work if the screws are tight, no matter what key we use. Leaving the screws slightly loose is not really a security problem.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:19 PM on December 3, 2010

Contact the company and explain exactly what is happening. I would either e-mail or phone them. I had a problem years ago with a door handle ( not sure the company) and found they were very decent about the problem I had. They just mailed me the part to fix it.
posted by Taurid at 10:52 PM on December 3, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

I did exchange the lock at the hardware store, and I got two extra hands to help me install it so that it didn't shift while I was putting in the screws and bolts. Now it works okay, though it still feels a bit stiff.
posted by bad grammar at 5:59 PM on December 7, 2010

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