Generally speaking, a deadbolt is the type of lock that most homeowners rely upon to prevent unauthorized entry into their home. A functioning dead bolt lock is hard to defeat and provides adequate protection against picking, sawing and other attacks from amateur thieves.
However, on occasion, a dead bolt lock may become hard to turn with a house key or otherwise not function properly. When your home's deadbolt lock is not functioning the way it should, you will probably consider either repairing or replacing the dead bolt lock.
When to Repair Your Deadbolt Lock
Usually, if you experience major problems with your deadbolt lock, it is better to simply replace the lock rather than try to repair it. However, there are a couple of exceptions. For example, if you are finding it hard to lock or unlock the deadbolt with the key, the problem may be with the key and not the lock itself. Over time, continuously using the same key to lock and unlock the deadbolt will result in the key becoming filed down and worn. So, consider having a new key made or use a spare.
If a new key does not solve your problem, try spraying some WD-40 in the key slot and then locking and unlocking the deadbolt several times to work the silicone spray into the mechanism of the lock. Although using silicon-based sprays such as WD-40 is recommended, you should never attempt to use any type of oil on your deadbolt lock. This includes 3-in-1 oil as well.
Another time when repairing your deadbolt lock may be acceptable is when the bolt of the lock and the strike plate attached to the doorjamb are no longer in alignment. Sometimes, door hinges may shift slightly and cause the bolts and strike plate to not match up evenly.
In some cases, you may be able to file out the hole in the strike plate slightly and this will correct the problem. Other times, you may need to remove the strike plate completely and fill the hole for the bolt with wood slivers and wood putty. You would then need to re-drill the hole for the bolt and reattach the strike plate with the wood screws.
When to Replace a Deadbolt Lock
In most cases, if lubricating a deadbolt lock with WD-40 or using a new key does not fix the problem, you'll need to replace it. Sometimes, pins and tumblers inside deadbolt locks become damaged and render them useless. Although repair of these types of problems is possible, the cost of taking the lock to a professional locksmith for repair will usually be much greater than purchasing a new deadbolt lock.
Of course, you should also consider replacing the deadbolt lock in a home—if you have recently just moved into the home or misplaced a house key. Although the chances of someone using an extra key to enter your home are slim, it's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to keys that can be used to enter your home.