A stuck door latch can be extremely inconvenient, especially if it is your front door lock. Not only does it make it difficult to keep your privacy, but it can also complicate your daily routine. Fortunately, there are things you can do to resolve a stuck door latch and stop it from happening again. In this feature by MacArthur Locks & Doors, we will discuss the most common reasons for stuck door latch and how to fix them.

Causes of a Stuck Door Lock Latch

There are several reasons why a door latch might be stuck. For example, it could be because the door is old and the latch is worn out. Or something could be stopping the latch from opening or closing properly. You must first evaluate the issue to identify the cause before attempting to fix a stuck door latch. Once you determine what is causing the problem, you can then take steps to fix it. Before contacting a locksmith, follow these steps to see whether your door knob needs replacement.

A locksmith fixing a stuck door lock latch

Jiggle the knob

To loosen a stuck door knob, try jiggling it gently. Avoid using too much force, though, as this may break the knob. You can also try moving the handle up and down to see if that helps.

However, it is simply a temporary solution, and the latch may not be retracting or extending into the door frame as it should. The doorknob will need replacement in this case.

Use a lubricant

Inspect the mechanism for any signs of rust. It is typically where the problem lies. When you notice rust on your doorknob, use a wire brush to remove it. Once the rust is gone, lubricate the doorknob to keep it functioning properly.

Over the top, spray it with a dry lubricant, such as WD-40. Then, turn the handle to work the lubricant into the components. However, sometimes the problem lies not with the doorknob itself but with a small component inside.

Examine the latch

The tubular latch may need repair if the above steps do not work. Interior door handles with tubular latches are for doors that do not require locking. You will not be able to lock the door, but the space will stay secure since the latch bolts hold the door closed.

A spindle connects the door handle to the latch. When you turn the handle, it rotates the spindle and pulls the latch back into the door. However, sometimes the latch can get caught on something and will not retract. As a result, it prevents the doorknob from being able to turn.

Applying some lubrication may help. But sometimes, there could be an issue with the strike plate on the door jamb. To fix a sticking door latch, you first must determine whether the issue is with the latch itself or the strike plate. To test your latch, follow these steps:

-Grasp the doorknob and twist it.

-Release it slowly and let go of the knob.

-Use your fingers to hold onto the latch bolt tongue for a moment before letting go completely.

-Gently tug on the latch bolt tongue. 

When the latch bolt fully extends and still does not move, your problem is with the strike plate. However, movement from the latch bolt indicates it is stuck within the door.

The best way to fix a door latch stuck within a door is by using a flathead screwdriver or a Phillips head screwdriver. But first, open the door and wedge it with something like a doorstop.

Next, use a screwdriver to dislodge any obstructions at the top of the latch. Then, use a hammer to tap the latch gently and remove any remaining obstructions. Repeat this process on the underside of the latch.

Check the strike plate

Another possible reason your door is not properly closing is that the strike plate on the door frame is misaligned. First, examine carefully to see if this is the case, then make the necessary adjustments.

To ensure your tubular latch is fully functional, twist the doorknob to begin retracting the latch. You must turn the knob as far as possible for the latch to slide into the doorframe.

A locksmith picking a stuck door lock

Final Thoughts on Stuck Door Lock Latch

Dealing with stuck door locks can be frustrating and cause you to panic. In most cases, the issue is minor and can be easily fixed without having to replace the lock or call a locksmith. However, as you have read above, your lock might need some alignment and lubrication to function properly.

Locksmith Services From MacArthur Locks & Doors

Call MacArthur Locks & Doors if you are experiencing lock issues, and leave the problem in our capable hands. We provide all lock and door services, such as mortice lock installation and front door repair. In addition, we offer residential locksmith, automotive locksmith, emergency locksmith, and any other locksmith services you could need as part of our locksmith DC services. For free estimates, call us today.

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