How to Fix a Stuck Door Latch

how to fix a stuck door latch

A stuck door latch can be infuriating. But it doesn’t always need a locksmith call out. Here’s how to fix a door latches’ most common issues. 

What Could Cause a Door Latch to Stick?

Before you fix something, you need to know what is wrong with it. Failing to diagnose the door latch correctly could lead to you doing more damage to the latch in your attempts to fix it. 

Here’s what you want to do. 

Attempt to open the door while it is shut and note the problem.

  • Is the latch retracting when you turn the knob or handle?
  • Is the knob or handle refusing to turn?
  • Do you need to use more force than normal to get the knob to turn and the latch to retract?
  • Is the door latch refusing to extend (is it stuck inside the door)?

You may want to run through these notes with the door open as well. If the lock is stuck, you can attempt to slide something between the door frame and the latch to help the door open. 

However, if the mechanisms are unmovable you may want to consider the assistance of a locksmith at this point. Forcing it will only do more damage and lead to the lock or doorframe needing to be replaced. 

Stuck Door Latch Fixes

Once you have diagnosed the issues with your door latch, you can move on to fixing it. 

The first bullet point is the door latch refusing to extend? If this was a yes for when the door was closed but a no for when the door was opened, your strike plate is probably misaligned. 

There are two things you can do to fix this. 1. Make the latch hole bigger. 2 Unscrew the strike plate and reset it with the right alignment. 

With the second bullet point, the knob or handle refusing to turn and is the latch retracting when you turn the knob or handle keep your eyes open for the following issue; The latch will allow itself to be pushed in but the handle won’t move it. 

This is most likely a broken mechanism inside the handle. It may be a simple issue of losing its connection to the latch, or it could be a broken spindle, or a build up of rust has compromised the lock. Whichever it is, the easiest and simplest solution is to replace the lock. But if you are determined to fix it, you can open it up and attempt to replace whichever part has caused the malfunction. 

If you need to use more force than normal to the knob to turn and the latch to retract when the door is open and closed, the likely cause for your issues is a build up of rust, grime, dust, or general dirt. By taking apart your lock, cleaning it, and piecing it back together again, it should be able to continue working as normal without the issues. 

When You Need Help

Locks have many little components and there’s quite a lot that can go wrong. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little extra help to figure something out. 

At South Beach Locksmiths your safety is our primary concern. So, if you are in Miami and having trouble with any of your locks or latches contact South Beach Locksmiths on 305-692-0234 or through our contact page.

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