Do your locks require maintenance? Here's what you need to know


We would not think twice about taking our car for its regular maintenance check, or about performing maintenance on any other mechanical device that we use on a daily basis. Yet somehow we overlook our door and window locks, and take them for granted.

When you think about how many times we go in and out of our property and our vehicles, and how many times we open our windows or other lockable devices, it’s only reasonable that we will need to review their maintenance from time to time. A good lock can last for a number of years, and generally, their failure to perform tends to stem from either incorrect installation or lack of maintenance.

Don’t forget to lubricate and clean
Do you know that you can clean your locks on a regular basis using a mild detergent? Avoid using an abrasive cleaner or one with harsh chemicals as this will spoil the protective coating on the lock.
Wipe down with a damp rag to keep the locks looking good and remove dirt and debris that could work their way inside the lock. Then get a cotton bud, dampen it down, and insert it into the keyhole. Wiggle it around so that you can collect any dirt and then lubricate.

Keeping the lock mechanism running smoothly means treating them to a spray of lubricant at least once a year. Then insert the key in and out several times to clean off any debris that comes out.
Your locksmith will be able to recommend the best lubricant for the job but a general tip is to avoid petroleum based products. Better still, get your locksmith to remove the lock for you so that they can apply some lubricant to the bolt or latch to ensure the job is done properly.

Ensure doors and windows are properly installed
If a door or window hinge is not working properly, the frame will tend to stick or “drop” and this can put pressure on the locks when they are closed. After a while you might be getting into the habit of putting your key in the lock and “lifting” the door by pulling up on the handle, because it is the only way to get the door to unlock.

Doorjambs can also rub against the frames making them difficult to open and close, and this will impact on the lock when you are trying to lock up as well. So get doors and windows installed properly and have a professional locksmith install the relevant locks.

Failure to unlock and lock properly
If you find yourself having to jiggle the key in the lock or turn it a few times before the lock bolt operates, you need to take immediate action. If you feel confident about taking the lock out, then do so and check to see if there are worn or missing parts.

If you cannot see anything immediately obvious, it is best to get your locksmith in to replace the whole lock rather than waste your time trying to fix it. Locks are crucial to the security of your home and they certainly aren’t difficult to maintain, so why not put in the little effort that is required for benefits that will last you years?