What to do if the key does not turn in the lock | Home Hardware Access (2023)

What to do if the key does not turn in the lock | Home Hardware Access (1)

The locks on your home or business doors should make you feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, people have problems every day when they can't unlock their doors. If your key won't turn in the lock, consider DIY options or contact a locksmith for help.

Considering hardware replacement might not be a bad idea when you get back home. Get in touch with our team atAccess Residential Hardwareto help find the new perfectdoor handle with keyfor your home Now might also be a good time to consider akeyless entryto simplify your life and completely eliminate the hassle of keys.

DIY Troubleshooting Steps to Unlock Your Doors

Having a key that won't turn in your lock can be more than a minor inconvenience. Fortunately, there are several DIY options that help you unlock doors quickly without having to deal with the hassle ofcontact a locksmith🇧🇷 Here are several DIY solutions to your lock problems.

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lock lubricant

One of the main problems with locks and keys occurs when dust and dirt begin to collect inside the lock barrel. When this happens, the pins can become stuck, preventing the plug from rotating correctly. Fortunately, this is usually an easy fix.

Just grab a can of WD-40, silicone based lubricant, graphite spray or a dry lubricant and spray it into the keyway. Once sprayed, insert the key so that the lubricant acts on the locking mechanism.

defrost locks

Frozen locks may not be a problem in the summer months, but in the winter when yourlocks freeze, it may be impossible to unlock the doors. Fortunately, this is also an easy fix.

Simply heat your faucet by placing it in a small container of hot water. When the key is warm and dry, insert a key into the locking mechanism and turn it slowly. Alternatively, you could also try using a door lock defogger if it is the car door that is locked, or a hair dryer that blows hot air directly onto the locking mechanism to de-ice the door locks.

the key is bent

If you use your key to cut things, like a box cutter or a can opener, for example, you could be causing your key to bend. If the key is bent, it could get stuck inside the lock when trying to get into your home or vehicle. If this happens, you should try to straighten your brace as much as possible.

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You can do this by using a hammer and hammering the wrench into a hard, smooth surface. You don't want to flatten the key, so be careful to remove the bend from just the key. If you have a vice bank, this can be significantly easier. You can place a piece of wood between the keys of the hammer to protect the hammer.

The key tip is blunt

The keys are cut in a way that only allows them to fit your specific lock. When you use your key as a stylus or for any other reason than picking a lock, you can damage the tip of the key as well as bend it.

To fix a dull key point, you can use a bastard file to remove excess metal that is preventing the key from turning. Before attempting to turn the key again, be sure to use some lubricant on the key and the locking mechanism.

Consider keyless entry

You can avoid having to deal with key locks that won't open by purchasingkeyless entry systems🇧🇷 These are becoming more and more popular in both modern cars and homes. You no longer need a key to access your vehicle or home. Instead, you can enter a PIN code to unlock the door. You no longer need to carry your key with you and it's one less thing you don't have to worry about losing.

When to Contact a Locksmith

Sometimes do-it-yourself options are not enough. If you are experiencing any of the following lock or key issues that are preventing you from opening your doors, you may need a locksmith. However, you can save some money by purchasing the necessary hardware to make the necessary repairs.

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The keys were cut

One of the most common reasons locks won't open is when keys are freshly cut. If you can insert the key but it won't turn, it's probably because the key was not cut correctly. Unfortunately, in cases like these, you may need to cut a new key to get into your home or car. Make sure you place the key correctly inside the lock before you decide to go ahead and return the key.

The key doesn't go all the way

When the key doesn't go all the way into the lock, it could be because there's an obstruction. The pins may be corroded or the pin chamber may be worn out. Make sure you do your research before trying to fix this lock and key problem yourself, as mistakes could damage the lock or door.

The key turns, but the door lock does not.

If you can turn the key but the lock does not turn, there is likely a problem with the lock mechanism system. In cases like these, the lock may need to be removed or replaced. There could also be a misalignment issue or problems with the lock cylinder.

The key breaks in the lock

When you try to get into your home or vehicle and the key breaks in the lock, it can be difficult to get it back. You can use the tip of a pair of needle nose pliers to pry the broken key out of the keyhole.

However, it is important that you do not use force as this could damage your lock or even your door. One of the worst mistakes you can make is trying to reattach the key with superglue. Glue residues can damage the key and the locking mechanism.

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The lock body is broken

One of the most common types of locking mechanisms is known as a night lock. When you cannot unlock the door and the mechanism is to blame, the key may not be able to turn. If the latch mechanism is unscrewed from the door, it will need to be replaced. New holes will need to be drilled into your current door in order for the new lock to be replaced and installed correctly.

Door position issues

When your drawer can be unlocked or locked while open, but not when the door is closed, this suggests that there is a problem with the alignment of the locking points. Doors are often designed to be adjustable, but when they move out of position or slide, it can affect your ability to unlock the door.

Problems with the lock cylinder

Inside a lock is a set of toothed pins that move up and down as the key is inserted into the locking mechanism. The toothed pins on each key are cut to match the key that comes with the lock. In many cases, the pins simply need extra lubrication so they can move up and down more easily. However, in other cases, the pins can fuse or jam, indicating that the entire lock system needs to be replaced.

You may also encounter problems with the lock cylinder if you have been the victim of a recent break-in or attempted break-in. Here, someone might try to insert a foreign object into the keyhole in hopes of getting in. If the lock mechanism is destroyed and the pins cannot be lifted, the lock will need to be replaced. If you need help choosing a new lock and key, our team at Access Residential Hardware can help you select the right lock system for your home.

Replace your old hardware with Access home hardware

Major issues could be the sign that you need to replace your old or outdated hardware. Access Residential's modern hardware can help you update the look of your home and improve the functionality of your doors. Access Residencial not only sellsdoor handles with keyylevers🇧🇷 We offer a wide range ofexterioryinterior door hardware🇧🇷 we also offerbathroom and closet hardwarealso.

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Please feel free to contact our team if you have any questions. We'll be happy to walk you through your hardware options and help you find hardware that matches your home's style and needs. You can speak with a member of the team by calling 866-752-9002 or filling out anquick contact form.


What do if my key won't fully go in my lock? ›

Simply grab a can of WD-40, silicon-based lubricant, graphite spray, or a dry lubricant and spray it into the keyway. Once it has been sprayed, insert the key so the lubricant will work into the locking mechanism.

Why won't my key turn in my door lock? ›

If the key won't turn in the door lock, the problem could be dirt or dust in the cylinder causing the pins to be stuck in a partially raised position. If that's the case, it may be an easy fix. You can spray dry lubricant into the keyway and then insert the key a few times to get the lubricant working.

What causes a jammed key? ›

Sticky keys can happen because of dirt and debris in the keyboard, but they can also be a result of spilled drinks or other stickiness.

How do you unlock a stiff lock? ›

Put a little amount of graphite powder inside the door lock to ease any friction inside, making sure not to put in too much. You'll also want to put some of the powder onto both sides of the door key. If you don't have any graphite powder you can use a pencil.

Why can't I twist my key? ›

If your car key isn't turning in the ignition, first check to make sure your vehicle is in park. If it is, check the key for damage. If the key is warped, worn, or cracked, it may not work correctly. For a worn key, try pulling the key back slightly as you turn it or gently wiggling it back and forth in the ignition.

Can you fix a stuck lock? ›

Just gently squeeze a very small amount of graphite powder into the keyhole, and then use your key to slowly work the lubricant into the lock. Another way to do it is to coat your key with the graphite powder first, and then simply insert it into the lock.

Why is my lock so stiff? ›

There are three main reasons why a door lock mechanism is stiff or sticking: Debris in the lock. Extremes of temperature. A broken lock mechanism or gearbox.

How do you open a jammed twist lock? ›

If you have a stuck door lock, spray lubricant into the lock's keyhole. Doing so will loosen any debris or deposits sitting inside your stuck lock and prevent your key from turning. Insert the key and rotate it a few times to work in the lubricant, releasing the stuck part.

How do I make a key work again? ›

Use a small, flat-blade screwdriver to pry the key off the keyboard. Insert the blade below the key and gently rotate the screwdriver until the key pops off. Once the key is off, you can clean anything around it. To return the key, put it in place and press down.

How do you rotate a padlock? ›

If you have used a combination lock before you know the drill: "Turn the dial clockwise two full rotations to the first number of the combination. Then turn it counter-clockwise past the first number to the second number.

Can I use WD-40 on a padlock? ›

But this multi-faceted product has limitations – it should never be used to lubricate locks! The main reason for this is that WD40 is not a true lubricant; it is a water and oil displacing solvent. This means that it can actually remove any lube already in the lock, leaving it dry and susceptible to sticking.

How many times do you spin a lock? ›

To begin, spin the dial at least three times to the right. This will clear out all the codes so you can start fresh. (Feel free to do this anytime you make a mistake and need a do-over!) After three spins, stop at the first number (ensure that the indicator arrow is perfectly lined up with the number).

Why is rotation lock stuck? ›

Update Display Driver

If the driver for the monitor is not updated, Windows 10 rotation lock greyed out will appear. Thus, you need to update the display driver.

Which way do you turn a padlock key? ›

Padlocks. Padlocks will open clockwise (right) and some will even open in both directions—such as laminated Master locks like the #3 or #5. So your best bet with padlocks is to always try tensioning clockwise first.

Can you use Vaseline to lubricate a lock? ›

Got an older lock that's not working as well as it used to? Try applying a thin later of Vaseline and inserting it into the lock to lubricate the tumbler. This remedy is similar to the one involving mayonnaise. Just apply a layer of petroleum jelly overnight and wipe off.

What do locksmiths lubricate locks with? ›

Teflon Dry Lubricant

Teflon-based dry lubricant is preferred by some locksmiths over other options, like graphite or WD-40. It's ideal because, besides lubricating your lock, it repels water and dust.

What is the best lubricant to use in a lock? ›

What Lubricants are Best for Locks. The best type of lubrication for a lock is a dry lube—such as Teflon (PTFE) or graphite. These types of lubricants repel dust and dirt and keep your lock from building up a gunky and sticky mess.


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