Doorknob turn but won’t open? how to fix jammed and stuck locks

locksmith technician prepares the door for installation at a condo in Miami FL

Door knob turn but won't open? how to fix jammed and stuck locks

locksmith technician prepares the door for installation at a condo in Miami FL

You can slide the key right in and the lock appears to look fine, but it’s just not working. Before you call a locksmith, have a quick read through the following tips for helping fix a jammed or stuck lock.

What’s inside?

A doorknob lock set on your door consists of several basic components. There’s a knob on each side of the door connected by a spindle between them. This spindle runs through the middle of what is known as a latch bolt (which as it sounds is connected to the latch) which in turn engages with the door frame and stops the door from opening. When either of the two doorknobs is rotated, the spindle turns and pulls the latch back, allowing the door to be opened. On most doors, a spring then forces the spindle back so that the latch falls to its resting position – closed – so the door can close once again.

As you can see, these are not the most technically complicated types of lock by any means, so if they’re not working as expected, a quick fix is definitely possible.

First thing to check:

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the two doorknobs which should simply unscrew. Once removed, take out the spindle so you can see if the latch bolt moves freely as this can often be a problem. Try to clean any rust or mold off with a good quality degreaser/lubricating spray before re-assembling the lock.

Next steps:

If this doesn’t work, it’s possible the problem could lie within the cylinder or with the key. Have a quick check here for obvious signs of rust and try cleaning up as much as possible to see if this rectifies your problem.

As a last consideration, check the door. Paying special attention to the area around the lock, is everything free from obvious damage?

Call the experts:

If you haven’t been able to figure out the problem, a quick google search for ‘locksmiths near me’ will garner a good list of locksmiths. Look for our expert locksmiths at Quickly Locksmith Miami in that list as we’re available 24/7. Give us a call for friendly and reliable service.

David Davidof

David Davidof

David Davidof is the founder & owner of Quickly Locksmith. The business has grown from strength to strength to become Miami’s go-to provider for Locksmith and Security services. Whilst the company has grown, the founding ethos has remained the same - Helping people in emergency situations and giving them the feeling they are safe.

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How to remove a broken padlock

our local locksmith using pic tool to open a locked door in Miami clients house

How to remove a broken padlock

Re keying a door lock of a residential door, and replacing old lock with a new high security lock

In the vast majority of cases, we’d always suggest breaking off and throwing away a malfunctioning padlock. If it’s giving you hassle, it’s lost its efficacy and it’s no longer safe so it shouldn’t be trusted any longer. Often, it’s not the padlock that is your concern though and you need to make sure what’s inside isn’t damaged or you may well want to prevent damaging your door!

Try cleaning it first:

Before you go ahead and break or cut the lock off, make sure it’s not rusted or otherwise dirty inside. A quick squirt of lubricating oil will help to remove any dirt or rust that may have developed and make sure everything is moving as it should. This easy fix could potentially save breaking the padlock or having to call out a locksmith.

Cut, don’t knock!

Obviously, the lock will likely be entirely unusable once it’s been broken off, but If cleaning hasn’t helped, the only thing left to try next is cutting it off. A strong arm and a pair of bolt cutters are usually all you will need for a normal sized padlock, but on more heavy duty or specialized padlocks, heavy duty tools might be needed.

If you don’t have the necessary tools, find a local locksmith to help. Like ourselves at Quickly Locksmith, many locksmith services offer a 24-hour service so you can get free advice over the phone at any time! Even more reason to give us a call – we promise to arrive with 15-minutes to get you working ASAP!

David Davidof

David Davidof

David Davidof is the founder & owner of Quickly Locksmith. The business has grown from strength to strength to become Miami’s go-to provider for Locksmith and Security services. Whilst the company has grown, the founding ethos has remained the same - Helping people in emergency situations and giving them the feeling they are safe.

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Easy ways to unlock a door without a key

screwing and finishing brand new door installation including brand new high security lock

Easy ways to unlock a door without a key

Our locksmith technician installing a brand new door in a residential building in Miami FL

If you’ve lost or misplaced your door key, there are always ways to get back inside. This is a job probably best left for the experts but in case you want to try your hard at ‘breaking in’ to your own home, here are some quick tips.

Bouncing the lock

Hint: before trying this method out, it’s worth having an idea about the internal anatomy of a lock, so check out one of our other blog posts entitled “Easy ways to replace your lock tumblers” for more information about just what’s going on inside your lock!

Bouncing the lock is a tried and tested method used by all locksmiths and while it takes some skill, it’s something you can try yourself. You’ll first need a bump key. If for some strange reason you don’t have one lying around, any locksmith should be able to help you out. Once it is inserted into the lock, use a screwdriver or hammer to gently bump on the back of the key. Start gently and gradually add pressure as you feel the bump key sliding into the lock and aligning the internal pins.

Drilling it out

Obviously, this is more drastic and if you’ve reached this point it really is time to call a professional locksmith. If however you’re reading this because no locksmith is available beware that while it will open the door within minute, it will cause extensive damage to the lock and door. Also remember that Quickly Locksmith offer a 24/7 call out service and can usually arrive within 15-minutes to avoid you having to resort to this drastic measure!

Some locks are easier to drill out than others and some incorporate anti-drill pins that are made of strong metal and that make this method ineffective. In general, what you’ll need is a hole punch (to open up the keyhole large enough for the drill bit to enter), a powered drill and a replacement lock to replace what will be a useless hole when you’re finished.

Use the hole punch to open up a hole towards the top of the keyhole. Once big enough for the drill bit to fit, drill a hole through the lock cylinder. This will destroy the internal pins and allow you to force the lock open. As you pass through the lock, you should feel some resistance as the drill bit meets each of the individual pins (most locks have 5 or 6 pins). If at any point the drill starts to bind or bog down, you’ll need to put the drill into reverse and pull it out slightly.

Other methods

Other ‘tricks’ that you have probably seen in movies such as sliding a credit card along the door jamb or picking it with a paper clip or hair pin and mostly fictional with modern locks. Even basic modern locks are much more resilient and not easily opened, even with experience.

If you’d rather not attempt this yourself and want a professional, Quickly Locksmith in Miami are available 24/7.

David Davidof

David Davidof

David Davidof is the founder & owner of Quickly Locksmith. The business has grown from strength to strength to become Miami’s go-to provider for Locksmith and Security services. Whilst the company has grown, the founding ethos has remained the same - Helping people in emergency situations and giving them the feeling they are safe.

Know anyone that would enjoy this article? share it with them:

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Share on twitter
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Need a high quality, lightning fast locksmith? Select a service:

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