How to keep your locks in good condition



If you want something in your home to work as it should, you have to make an effort to do your part. You have an obligation to set aside some time that you can invest in maintaining your property. That includes things like door locks.

If you are like so many other homeowners, you probably don’t often think about doing maintenance on your door locks. It’s only when something goes wrong with them that you even consider making a fix or change.

If an effort to help you keep your home locks working as they should, here are a few maintenance tips you might want to take to heart.

Install Doors and Locks Properly

If your doors don’t start in the right place, the likelihood your locks will be put under undue stress is exponentially increased. That’s why it’s vitally important that you take great care to properly install your doors and locks.

A proper installation process starts with installing the door properly. The key to a proper door installation is to make sure the door is properly fitted to the door frame. Doing that ensures the door will open and close freely as it should. Then, it’s necessary to make sure all door/lock hardware (hinges, strike plates, and lock hardware) is properly aligned, fastened, and secured.

As for the actual locks, they must fit snuggly into the lock cutout area on the door. Once the lock hardware is in place, it’s then necessary to make sure it is fastened and secured. After everything appears set, a bit of testing will go a long way toward making sure your locks are working efficiently.

Periodic Cleaning of Locks

If locks are kept clean, they can last for years. The possibility of this happening is enhanced by the shielding cover that is typically applied to protect locks. The key to properly cleaning your locks is to avoid using harsh cleaning products. Most harsh cleaning products will only serve to eat through the aforementioned shielding cover. Without that cover, locks are exposed to moisture, which will eventually cause damage, mostly in the form of rust.

Instead of using harsh cleaning products, something as simple as dish soap, warm water, and a soft cloth will do.

Lubticate Locks on a Regular Basis

Since metal door locks have moving parts, it should go without saying that door locks should be lubricated on a regular basis. As a rule of thumb, going through the lock lubricating process once every three months would be optimum.

Caution: You don’t want to use petroleum-based products. Doing so will only serve to prompt more lock metal deterioration. What you should use are lubricant products that are made with graphite or Teflon. Also, certain kinds of dry lubricants should work well.

During the lubricating process, you should start by lubricating the locking mechanism. Apply small amounts of the lubricant and then move the locking mechanism back and forth a dozen times for an even application. Don’t forget to lubricate the keyway with the same process. Apply the lubricant and move the key in and out of the slot at least a dozen times.

Rust Protection and Removal

When you have a metal mechanism, rust becomes the enemy. While the shielding coven will certainly help keep rust at bay, it is subject to deterioration. If and when it does deteriorate, moisture could prompt rusting.

Dealing with rusty locks is a two-step process. The first step should be directed toward rust prevention. That’s why the regular cleaning of locks is so important. Another preventative measure you can take is coating your locks with a silicone spray. As the spray dries, it will act as a seal over the locks.

If by chance you notice any rust starting to form on your locks, you must address the issue sooner rather than later. You must remove all rust to prevent it from spreading. Graphite lubricants and water displacement wet lubricants products are recommended for this process.

Use Undamaged Keys

When your locks were purchased and installed, they came with a perfectly matched set of original keys. Over time, keys are subject to wearing down. When you use a worn-down key to keep locking or unlocking a lock, it can damage the internal locking mechanisms and keyway.

To make sure your keys are always in good shape, here are a couple of your options. If your current keys are fairly new, make multiple duplicates. That gives you the option of changing out your keys on a regular basis. This applies to both home and car keys, you can consult with a local locksmith on this. Just google for auto locksmith near me and you’ll send plenty of options.

If you are truly security-minded, you might want to consider rekeying your locks once a year. By doing so, you at least will have peace of mind that your keyways and keys are always in the best possible condition.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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