Despite the invention of modern ‘smart’ locks and PIN-pad entry systems, the humble lock remains the most dependable method to secure your door. When correctly fitted, a good quality lock should provide many trouble-free years of service. But what happens if the key just goes round and round in the lock?
Obviously, the lock isn’t behaving as it should be, but tracking down the cause can be difficult for a layperson.
Signs of a Broken Lock
If your key goes round in the lock, it’s a good idea to check you have the right key before troubleshooting further.
Assuming you have, a key that keeps turning is a sign that the internal components have broken or become misaligned. It could be that the key is engaging with part of the lock, but not the other, because the internal components are not touching as they should.
Depending on the type of lock, it could be an issue with the cylinder, but it could also happen because the door handle has come loose. That’s a fairly easy thing to check. But even if the handle appears solid, don’t rule it out. There may be a loose part behind the plate that you can’t see.
Finally, if it’s a new lock, it may simply be a case of a botched job where the lock isn’t correctly positioned.
The bad news is that you’re probably going to be locked out at some point if you don’t deal with the problem straight away.
How to Deal With a Broken Lock
The first time you notice your key turning round inside your lock, call a locksmith and explain the problem.
It will help immensely if you can describe the type of lock and handle you have. If you aren’t sure, snap a few photos of the front (and the side, if you can get the door open).
Dealing with the issue straight away has two benefits:
You can get the lock fixed, or have a new lock fitted, before you get locked out -- saving you the inconvenience of having to wait around outside for a locksmith.
You’ll probably save money; emergency locksmith appointments are almost always more expensive than appointments that are booked with a little time to spare.
Old, worn locks are a burglar’s best friend. They allow easy forced entry into a property day or night. And unless you deal with a lock problem quickly, you might find yourself trapped outside on a cold night. So it’s worth calling someone out straight away once you notice a fault.
If you rent the property, be prepared to notify your landlord or letting agency that you’ve had to change the lock. There’s probably a term in your tenancy agreement stipulating that you have to provide a key to them. But it’s fine to change the lock in the meantime if you can demonstrate that the property would not be secure otherwise. You should keep the old lock and keys to give back to your landlord, as they are technically his or her property -- even if they are broken.
*The information in this blog is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Please seek a professional for expert advice as we can not be held responsible for any damages or negative consequences upon following this information.