Every day, we use door locks, but frequently they go neglected. The most common reasons for lock failure are lack of maintenance and installation mistakes. It’s often assumed that a door lock will work for a long time. Depending on how much use it receives, even hardware store-quality locks can last for years. The average lock’s lifespan is believed to be around seven years, according to most residential locksmiths. Preventive door lock maintenance isn’t usually on the “things to do” list for the family, but it should be. Maintaining your locks can help your locks function more effectively and may save you money on future lock repairs.
The locking mechanism on your garage door is likely to get dirty and grimy over time, much like any other mechanical device. Dirt and grime will find their way into the lock, much as it would with any other mechanical equipment. Without regular maintenance, the lock may become almost impossible to use or even shatter.
Use these six key steps to keep your locks in tip-top condition:
1. Make Sure Your Door Is Hung Properly
A deadbolt requires a door that is installed and prepared for the lock in order to operate correctly. A sagging or sinking door might put a lot of strain on the lock’s latch or bolt, potentially causing it to break and leaving you trapped inside or outside your home.
The top and sides of the door should be smooth and equal in thickness. Our advice is to leave 1/8 of an inch or less between the door and the frame.
2. Check the screws and strike plates on your door.
At least one long enough screw should be used to connect the door to the wall framing surrounding the door. A longer, three-inch screw should be added to each hinge to prevent door sagging and improve break-in resistance. The hinge screws are offset, but the longer screws should be placed in the center of the wall.
Note also the strike plates. The plate for the deadbolt should have long screws that attach it to the wall, just as with the hinges.
3. Test Your Deadlatch And Deadbolt to Make Sure They're Working Properly
When your door is closed, the deadlatch should not fall into the strike plate. The deadlatch is a key security element built into modern access locks, but it won’t function if it isn’t correctly positioned with the strike plate.
The door should close without resistance. You shouldn’t have to pull, push, or lift the door to operate the lock. Then double-check that the deadbolt’s hole in the jamb is deep enough for the bolt to fully extend. Yourdeadbolt isn’t locked and protecting your home unless it’s fully extended.
Deadbolts are one of the most important elements of home security, but not all locks are created equally. Find out how deadlocks can boost your protection by clicking here.
4. Clean or Replace Your Door Locks
Door lock maintenance is quite straightforward. Some manufacturers suggest using only a damp cloth to maintain your door locks. Clean your door locks with a mild soap or detergent at the most.
By using an abrasive or chemical cleaner on your lock, you’ll do more harm than good. The protective coatings on most door locks can endure years of regular use, but not severe usage or cleaning chemicals.
5. Maintain the interior of your locks with annual lubrication.
Do your locks have a clean exterior but are they being properly oiled on the inside? Lubricating your door locks is one of the most essential yet most frequently neglected maintenance processes.
We don’t advocate the use of petroleum-based products at Matrix Locksmith. Graphite lubricants can be effective, but we prefer Teflon and other dry lubricants because they are the best and most simple to apply.
Spray some lubricant into the keyway with a small amount of spray. Move your key in and out of the lock after spraying the lubricant inside. After removing the key, remove any debris from it before replacing it in the lock. Lubricate your locks at least once a year using this method.
6. Remove an original from a set of duplicates
The third element in maintaining a lock is keeping the key, which will lose its effectiveness before the lock does.
Replace a key if it begins to wear. Duplicates, on the other hand, are never precisely identical, and differences increase as a result of copying from one copy to another.
Even a few thousandths of an inch may cause a malfunctioning key, one that must be jiggled or one that doesn’t work at all. As a result, it’s essential to keep one of the original keys aside specifically for making copies when replacing a door lock.
It’s also a good idea to keep a spare copy of the original, which you should store in a secure location. This measure will guarantee that you have another key when the first one becomes useless.