How to Fix the Tumbler on a Lever Lock

What You'll Need
Graphite Powder / Silicon Spray (Lubricants)
De-freezer / Hair Dryer
Stain Varnish

A lever lock has a flat metal plate that slides into place when the correct key is inserted. When you turn the key, the plates move into place to lock or unlock. A typical lever tumbler lock is flat, used for lockers, luggage, safes or mailboxes. Lever locks are relatively difficult to pick as they now come with an added film between the plates which prevents lock picking.

Step 1 – Assessing the Problem

Wear and tear or extreme weather can cause the tumbler of a lock system to give you problems. If the key won’t turn or the bolt sticks, it is likely that the tumbler plates need to be greased, cleaned, readjusted or replaced. In some cases, there might not be anything wrong with the tumbler at all, but your key has just worn out, causing the teeth to not slide properly into place.

Step 2 – Dislodging the Lock

First you will have to unscrew the lock. Before you begin, place the key in the lock to keep all the plates in place, and unbolt the lock. Move the key at 90 degrees to have it perfectly aligned. Dislodging the lock is a step by step process. Take note of what came out first, so that you do not have a problem when you put it back in place. The first thing to be unscrewed will be the face plate; the chamber will contain the tumbler.

Step 3 – Taking Prints In Case the Key is Damaged

If the key is damaged and you do not have a spare, you will have to take prints so that the locksmith can make a new key for you. Alternatively, you can take the entire lock with you and have the key made. It is advisable to go for the latter for a perfect fit key.

Step 4 – Cleaning and Lubricating the Lock

The tumbler might get stuck, but eventually work with enough force. This means that you will have to open the lock to wipe it clean. Use a greasing agent to grease the plates, and put it back in place.

In extreme cold weather, the lock may freeze. In this case, you can use a de-freezer and unfreeze the lock or you can simply use a hair dryer to heat it. This will work to restore the metal plates to their correct size and position.

Step 5 – Replacing the Tumbler In Case the Lock Mechanism is Broken

If the tumbler plates are completely damaged, then you will have to get the lock mechanism changed. Pre-order the lock mechanisms matching your original set, and install them.

Step 6 – Installing the Lock Back in Place

Once you have cleaned or replaced the lock, put it back in place and re-screw. You can fill out any marks with caulk or putty material and clear away scratches with a cleaning varnish.