The Lockpicker’s Lament: How to Deal With a Broken Door Lock

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Have you recently had some issues with your door lock? Maybe someone has tried to break in and has damaged your mechanism. Also, over time, locks can slowly wear down and not function as they should. These things can contribute to a lack of security and impact your future safety at home or at your business premises. 

We can replace the lock if all else fails, but we must analyse all options before getting to that stage. You would be surprised at some things you can do to extend the life of your current locks, so don’t jump the gun with replacement too early. 

So if you’ve broken the door handle lock or a deadbolt, there are multiple ways we can solve these issues. Let’s learn about the solutions in this article.

Check the Bolt

The more common issues with door locks usually boil down to the bolt. These components of the lock can take a fair amount of stress; over time, bolts are common to wear down or get damaged. It can either be broken latch bolts or deadbolts that can also fail; these issues can result in broken locks. Solid metal parts in the mechanism are subject to bends after a kicking attack, or overuse can dislodge pieces. 

So the latch bolts don’t contribute to the door’s security, but the damage caused may affect the opening or closing of the door, so it’s essential to consider your next steps. Since deadbolts play a significant role in your door security, you must take steps to fix the broken lock in this case. To solve this issue, check that the bolts are functioning as intended and clear out any debris inside. If components are broken/beyond repair, you should look into replacing these parts. 

If you encounter bent parts, we strongly advise against bending them back as this will affect the integrity of the parts. You should look into a replacement immediately if this is the case. Keep in mind that broken bolts can be devastating to your security. You should look into repair or replacement if this has happened to you as soon as possible. 

Check Alignment

So you may be trying to open and close the door, and the mechanisms are not working as they should. There may be some difficulty in adequately shutting the door or doors, even opening by themselves. If you have these issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have worn or broken parts; you may just need an alignment. It is usual for properties and buildings to move over time, which can cause some movement in alignment and cause issues with your door locks. 

The solutions for this issue are relatively inexpensive and only require labour and the proper tools for the job. However, you should contact professionals such as a local locksmith to take care of your problem if you encounter issues. To diagnose your alignment, all you need to do is open the door, unlock and relock. Then, if no issue is apparent, try the same steps, starting with closing the door and examining. If usability is hampered when the door is shut, then likely, the door is misaligned. 

To solve this, you will have to change the placement of your strike plate or widen the strike gap so that the bolt fits inside the housing. Be careful with this step and only make minor adjustments till you’re happy. It is possible to overcompensate and create more significant gaps than intended. 

Check Connections

As mentioned, door locks are subject to overuse, wear, and tear over time. In some cases, you might be using the door and noticing things are not working as they should. So, rather than something being broken, it’s likely that the connections have loosened over time. You should take everything apart; from here, it will be apparent what issue you’re having. It is unlikely that any screws and components are severely damaged, and more than likely, they’ve just loosened over time. 

The looseness of door locks is usually due to the torque of daily use that happens over time. In most cases, we can fix this by removing all components and reinstalling them. Make sure you tighten everything sufficiently and refer to the instruction manual, so you don’t miss any steps. The tools required for this task should be simple and available around the house. 


The locks in your properties are the first line of defence against intruders, so ensure that you act with haste if any components are broken or show signs of age. If you’re unlucky enough to be targeted by criminals, then an old lock is a surefire way for them to enter quickly. Keep your locks maintained for the security of your family and belongings. Don’t hesitate to call your local locksmith if you need professional opinions. 

Photo by Patrick Loonstra on Unsplash

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