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How to Prevent Door Lock Latches from Breaking

How to Prevent Door Lock Latches from Breaking

Most of the time, a lock breaks situation is the broken latch. And so, understanding why it happens and how to fix it is essential. Now, everything that I'm going to be talking about is going to be true with the tubular style latches and cylindrical style.


If you work with locks and keys, and you go out to someone's home or business to rekey locks, you're going to run into this problem. So, you must learn how to identify it quickly and fix it easily. Because if you don't, you're going to get the phone calls saying, 'Hey, you touched my locks a couple of weeks ago, and now they don't work.' But the truth is, you only touch the outsides, not the latch, and that doesn't matter from the customer's perspective.

If you're going to be going out and doing rekeys, you will be working with existing hardware. You need to figure out how to either calculate it into your rekeying price or explain to the customer, 'Hey, I need to do some work on this door and get it fixed; otherwise, your latch is going to break.' So that's something that you need to have a plan for because it's going to happen.


The straightforward answer is because there is pressure on the latch itself. Latches, whether it's a grade one, two, or three, they're meant to take some abuse. Every time the door gets open and closed, it will get moved; they're built accordingly.

But what they're not built for is having a bunch of side pressure. A bunch of horizontal force is putting pressure on the latch, and with the mechanisms inside of it, it's going to break.


The higher quality latch will last longer. However, it's still going to break. There are two ways to identify it immediately, and you're going to have to do one of two things simultaneously. If you do have to push or close the door and it doesn't close all the way, you're going to have to make it a little further, and you're going to hear it click. That click means you're going to be getting pressure on that latch. Follow it up by an easy way to tell, when you turn the knob or lever, you're going to feel some grinding or click. And that's how you know for sure that there's a problem, and you have to fix it. 

'If it's grinding, you got to take your time and fix it.'


We know why the latches are breaking due to sideways or horizontal pressure on the latch. Why does it happen? What's going on there?

  • It could be that the door and the frame were just not appropriately installed or were installed in a hurry. And so things aren't true. They got it too close, that was good enough, and they moved on, and then, it's going just to become someone else's problem at that point. So that is common.
  • Another common reason is that weatherstripping is added to exterior doors after installing the lock. What happens is everything works perfectly. Weatherstripping comes because the slight breeze is coming through, and now you have to push it in extra hard to get it to close. Now someone's not going to want you to remove that weather stripping, and that's why you're going to have to fix the problem.


I the door is out of whack, and it's not straight, you can tell that by just looking at the gaps around it, you're going to want to have to fix the door alignment. Because if that's messed up, and then you start working with the latch, you're just going to create more problems over time, so the best thing to do is to fix the door. However, often, due to the weather stripping and that sort of thing, the strike plate needs to be adjusted. We're talking like eight or so have an inch. It's not like this massive movement. However, sometimes moving it will expose some wood or some stain that doesn't look great, and sometimes, you can get away with depending on the color of the latch, getting your Dremel tool out slightly, grinding it down a little bit, and getting the job done there. So there's not just like one thing fixes all outside of the strike plate is going to have to be moved a little bit, and of course, you want to make sure on a deadlatch that when the door closes, the little deadlatch piece here actually pushes in so it can't be carded.

I hope that you found this information helpful and valuable. Remember, if it's grinding, you got to take the time and fix it. Thank you, and we'll see you next time.

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