How to Remove a Jammed Deadbolt Lock

Three locks isolated on white.

When a deadbolt lock jams, it's a tough problem to solve. The main cause of jammed deadbolt locks is someone trying to force them to work. When you remain calm, a lock does not take long to fix. Follow these steps and you will unjam the lock in no time.

Step 1 - Get in the House

You need access to the inside of the house to remove the jammed deadbolt lock. If you have to, climb in through the window to gain access to your house or enter through another door if possible. Either way, you need to be inside to access the screws holding the lock in place.

Step 2 - Remove Screws

The faceplate is held on with screws. These need to be removed in order to gain access to the deadbolt lock. If it was easy to do, burglars would have no trouble entering locked homes. The little manual handle that turns the lock from the inside is what you use to access the interior workings of the deadbolt lock.

The manual turning of the lock is situated in the position where you find the screws. Store the screws in the order that you removed them so they can be screwed back in later. These screws are long and take a fair amount of time to unscrew, but take your time and make sure you don’t bend them.

Step 3 - Remove the Faceplate

The faceplate needs to be removed next. This is how you will gain access to the inner workings of the deadbolt lock. The insides of these locks have a fair number of parts and they need to be kept in order if you intend to continue using the lock once the jam is repaired. First, remove the inside plate. Once that is removed go to the outside of the door and remove that. This one can be slightly different to make sure people can’t gain easy access from the outside.

There is usually a screw or two that keep it in place. Occasionally the outside faceplate is held in position by a small grub screw, which will need to be removed before the plate will move. You will need to twist the plate to the side slightly before it will come loose. Once this is done, you need to see whether the lock came free with the plate or not. If it didn’t, you need to remove it separately.

Step 4 - Unjam the Deadbolt Lock

You are now in a position to remove the jam. Place a flathead screwdriver into the shaft and try turning it by hand. It should loosen the jam quite easily from this angle. It is time to remove the sliding bolt mechanism. Open the door towards you and find the lock. Undo the screws and slide the bolt out. You can now replace it and your jammed deadbolt lock saga is over.

A jammed deadbolt lock is a frustrating problem, but with a little patience is one any DIYer can tackle.