Lock maintenance can extend the life and enhance the use of your locks at home, in your car or at your business. For those “hands off” types that hate any kind of maintenance work; don’t worry! Proper lock maintenance is easy to do, affordable to implement and takes little time. Here at Bedford Locksmith Pros, we always advocate getting and using the best lock hardware and part of enjoying long life cycles for your quality locks is learning how to maintain them for maximum use.
Don’t panic; lock maintenance is far different than lock repair. You don’t have to know anything about fixing locks or rekeying them to be able to apply basic maintenance. Of course, you can always hire a local Bedford, TX locksmith to do the maintenance for you but doing it yourself is easy, fast and costs practically nothing. For instance, the act of simply wiping the exterior of your locks with a soft cloth is a large part of this maintenance. See? Isn’t that easy to do?
What good is that?
Surprised? Don’t be. Remember; we didn’t say lock repair. A big part of maintaining your quality locks is keeping them clean and free of debris. By wiping them periodically, you are keeping your locks free of spider webs, dirt, dust, mud and insects. Any of these things can get inside your lock and affect the interior springs and tumblers, thereby making the lock itself less effective.
Don’t I need to use a detergent?
Not really. You are not washing your car and detailing it. You are keeping contaminants out of the inside of your locks. No detergent is needed for that. Harsh detergents can actually damage the insides of your locks so please avoid them when wiping them clean.
But what about lubrication; isn’t that important?
Yes, it sure it! Lubrication is vital to maintaining long life cycles for locks. Contrary to belief, it’s not complicated or time consuming. On average, locks need to be lubricated about once a year. Try to avoid any petroleum based products; you are not trying to clean the lock; only to lubricate it. Use a dry lubricant like graphite or Teflon and squirt it directly into the key hole. Don’t overdo; just lightly apply. Next, take your key and insert it, pull it out and clean it off. Repeat a few times. That’s it; wasn’t that easy? You can also remove the entire lock and lubricate the latch and bolt, but only if you want to; it’s not that necessary.
Another simple check
Here’s another simple check that you can do that is free and takes little time or effort. Close your door and observe the space between the door itself and the frame. Does the space look even from top to bottom? It should; and if it doesn’t, your door may be sagging. Sagging causes stress and wear on your locks and over time, it can damage them. Even a little sagging can affect the performance of your door lock. The suggested average space you are looking for is about an eighth of an inch. Did your door pass its test? Good. If not, call a local handyman or lock professional to make any adjustments needed.
Quick check for your strike plate
This check is simple and fast. It involves your strike plate. Look for looseness or any damage to it. The deadlatch and the strike plate should align evenly. If they don’t, it could result in lock damage over time. Along the same lines; check your deadbolts lock if you have one. It should lock easily, but firmly, and without having to lift the door a bit to get it locked in place.
A word of warning!
Don’t worry; nothing bad; just try not to use your key as a door knob. This actually happens quite a lot. It’s easy to leave a door key in the lock and use the rounded lock handle to pull the door shut and then turn it to lock. Doing this puts undue stress on the key and the lock. Again, over time, this causes lock damage. While avoiding this action isn’t really maintenance, it does help to keep your hardware in good working order. Another issue with this behavior is that it makes it easy to forget that the key is still in the lock. Too many folks have done this and unknowingly left themselves open to burglars or intruders who came upon a locked door with the key just waiting for them to turn it!
Spare key use and duplication
Spare keys are wonderful, if used correctly. If you are going to have one or more of them made, do the smart thing and use an original key if possible. If your key cutter uses an even slightly damaged key, the spare can weaken your lock to the point that it is much easier to bump open or pick. Your key doesn’t have to look damaged; it can be ever so slightly worn or chipped and still work. Many people use their keys like Boy Scout tools. They open bottles, rip open boxes, slash tape or puncture items with the tip or jagged blade edge. The handy rounded handle is perfect for holding and since keys are always nearby, it makes for a handy and very usable tool. Any spare keys made from these worn ones will loosen and damage your locks over time. Also, worn keys tend to stick in locks and break-off on occasion.
Always a good idea
Periodic lock service and maintenance done by a licensed professional is always a good idea. If you do this, be sure to use a fully certified locksmith that offers this service along with 24-hour emergency help. This is in addition to the above maintenance checks that we outlined. Your locksmith will be able to spot any damage that you might miss. He or she can also make repairs, apply maintenance, and even suggest upgrades by observing your locks condition both inside and out.