Dead bolt key won't lock door when door is closed

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  #1  
Old 11-27-13, 05:14 PM
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Dead bolt key won't lock door when door is closed

Hi There,

We have a dead bolt lock on our door. When the door is closed, the key is unable to lock the dead bolt. It gets stuck when attempting to turn it the necessary revolutions to lock the door. However, when the door is open, the key functions properly, able to swing the lock and also remove from the key hole. Additionally, when the door is shut, the lock can be properly locked using the latch on the side of the door inside our house. Given all this, it seems that the issue is only when attempting to use the key while the door is closed. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-27-13, 08:04 PM
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Several possibilities, singularly, or in combination, starting with the most likely:

1) Bolt is binding on strike plate/hole in jamb; since the thumbturn allows you to apply more force to the bolt than the key, any binding will be more noticeable on the key side first. Close observation of the strike will reveal which way it needs to be adjusted.

2) Inside lock part (thumbturn) not properly aligned with outside part (cylinder).
Again, binding will be most noticeable on the key operation. Loosen screws, & re-align.

3) Lack of lubrication.

4) Lock worn out.

5) Lock incorrectly installed. (see #2)

6) El Cheapo lock; I've seen some 5 dollar junk that won't work well even when perfectly installed.
 
  #3  
Old 11-27-13, 10:18 PM
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Open the door and turn the latch so the bolt stick out, close the door as far as it will go and mark where the bolt sits on top and bottom with a pencil.
Now look at the strike plate. I'd bet the latch is sitting to low or high.
Loose or stripped hinge screws is a likely cause.
Often times removing one of the short screws and replacing with a 3" one will give you enough grab to slightly lift or lower the door.
You never want to try and just relocate the strike plate, the holes will be to close together.
 
  #4  
Old 12-13-13, 09:17 AM
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very good advice given already.
Standing on the inside, look at the top of the door when closed. Is the gap on the hinge side (at the top) wider or narrower than the gap on the lock handle side (at the top)?

If so, your door has dropped. You can often repair this easily, by removing and replacing a screw or two in the top hinge with a 2-3" long screw.

If your door has warped due to the weathering phenomena ( it moves as the cold and heat from season changes expand and contract wooden frames), simply adjust the strike plate as mentioned above or simply file the strike plat.
 
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