Loose deadbolt

Old 01-27-05, 10:26 AM
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Loose deadbolt

I have a metal door with a deadbolt lock. The actual deadbolt is quite loose. When I extend the dead bolt with the door open, there is obviously alot of lateral give in the deadbolt. This makes it very difficult to both lock and unlock the door. This problem seems to be getting worse with time. Now, I must jiggle the lock with the key in it and heave my whole body in order to place enought pressure on the door in order for the deadbolt to line up with the hole. I have been told that because it is a metal door, nothing can be done to fix the lock. Is this true? Or can the dead bolt simply be replaced with one that does not move around so much? Thanks.
Old 01-27-05, 11:07 AM
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With a metal door I am assuming a mortised deadbolt-this would have two screws holding a plate on the edge of the door that the bolt comes out of. If these are tight, and the lock is tight it should not be that sloppy. A bolt can wear or break over time, replacements are usually reasonably priced. What brand is it? If a cheapo with lots of wear, you are probably best off replacing everything.

Some times a drive-in bolt(w/o the plate and two screws) can be sloppy if the hole is drilled to big. This is not ideal but could be dealt with by shimming or filling in the hole a bit.

Another area to check if a door is not latching is the tightness of the hinges, but I suspect the bolt in your case.
Old 01-27-05, 04:32 PM
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Hi bootpile;
Have you had any new weather stripping put on this door lately?
In the winter months, I see quite often cases where weather strip has been applied too snug against the door which causes the bolt or latch to bind.
If this is the case here, I'd suggest adjusting the weather strip to a point that it only just touches the door.

Another winter problem is when the door and frame shift due to the colder temps. This can happen at any time through the colder winter months.
If that's what you suspect, then you should be able to get your deadbolt functioning smoothly again by filing some material off of the strike on your frame. Otherwise, even a replacement will be hard to engage.
Ideally, the bolt should throw with no binding at all once the latch is engaged in the frame. The latch is designed to hold the door in a closed position, and the bolt is designed to secure it in place.

Old 01-27-05, 05:50 PM
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Hello Bootpie,

I think you have gotten some good advice so far as I have also had this come up in Locksmithing many times. All I do is make sure all lock parts are aligned properly, with all screws tight, and I use the blue colored locktight on the long connecting screws. Don't use the red colored locktight, or you'll probably never get them out again. This doesn't mean it will never happen again, but it will take a while longer for it to work loose. I realize this is not a permenant fix, but hopefully it does help some. Good luck, and let us know how you do?

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