Does Lock-Ease really protect against freezing?

Old 01-26-19, 10:40 AM
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Does Lock-Ease really protect against freezing?

About six weeks ago the lock in a pretty new Pella door began to stick. I had two doors put in at the same time and the locks were keyed to use the same key; I use one door much more than the other and that was the lock that stuck.

The key would go in very easily but it was difficult to turn in either direction; jiggling a little usually helped.

So I bought some graphic lubricant--this stuff. It worked instantly: one good squirt and the lock worked flawlessly.

A few weeks later we had a really cold day, where morning temps dropped to about 7 degrees F. The lock stuck, but instead of the previous problem, this time the key would essentially not go in at all.

I used a heat gun; after 5-10 seconds the key inserted and turned easily. But I had to do this several times--the effect lasted about 30 or so minutes--until outside temperatures went up.

This effected only the lock in which I'd used the LockEase. The product description even says "helps seal out moisture from working parts, providing maximum protection against freezing." So either the stuff itself was effected by low temperatures or it didn't provide any protection at all--we had rain the day before the freeze, so it's possible the wind was from that direction and rain was blown into the lock.

Has anyone had a problem like this with this product? Is there anything I can do to fix the lock?
Old 01-26-19, 11:13 AM
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The on;y thing I can guess is that you (by using the key) introduced moisture into the lock. Or like you said the wind blew some in. You don't have a storm door installed?
Old 01-26-19, 11:37 AM
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Never had a storm door in the front doors (there are two on either side of an enclosed porch that faces the street) and in 40 years the locks have never frozen, and this time only the one. The only difference I can think of now is the Lock-Ease, and that's supposed to PREVENT this.

I happened to go out a week or two after using the stuff and had a couple of spare keys made at an old-time locksmith, who's been in the business for some 30+ years. I'd told him about using graphite (the lock hadn't frozen yet) and he said that the stuff causes problems, though he didn't specifically mention freezing.

I wonder if I should try using the heat gun at a low setting for a longer time to try and dry it out (if it happens again). But that presumes that it's water that's the problem... graphite's already a solid, so I'm supposing that it would only freeze if there was something (water or a carrying agent) that would bind it together.
Old 01-26-19, 01:19 PM
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Your heat gun turned ice to water and the temperature turned it back to ice. Happens all the time. It doesn't take much to thermally freeze a pin stack in a chamber. Locks are still mainly metal (of some form) and metal is a good thermal conductor. Next time it gets bitter code, grab the knob of an interior door then grab the knob of an exterior door and see if you notice a difference.

As for the Lockease, it appears to nothing more than powdered graphite in a petroleum base (IMO a dust magnet). While they mention freezing, they may have tested down to some temperature, but probably not in the single digits.
The best lubricant for most lock cylinders is powdered graphite. WD-40 will displace water but is a horrible lubricant for locks. I tried to always tear the lock down, degrease it, lubricate properly and reassemble. For a spray, I preferred a dry-film lubricant.

There may not be a good answer short of taking the lock to a locksmith and having them clean, degrease and properly lubricate the cylinder, at a minimum.
Old 01-27-19, 08:22 AM
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Not much to add to ThisOldMan's comment about powdered graphite being preferred. Local conditions may be allowing moitsure to collect and condense then freeze. One contributing factor may be that some modern pin-tumbler locks are made with very close tolerance pin chambers but with relatively weak pin springs, resulting in increased likelihood of jams due to dirt, freezing, etc.

If this recurs often you might try sticking a piece of electric tape on the keyhole when you anticipate freezing wet an experiment, if it still freezes, at least it would suggest the moisture is entering from the inside, rather than raindrops etc from outside.

As to the LockEase product, I've never used it but I suspect that, even tho the thin liquid carrier is supposed to evaporate and leave behind the pure graphite, that there still remains some residue that might cause problems.

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