You have a deadbolt or deadlock on your door, but when you put the key in and turn it, it just spins. The locking mechanism doesn’t click, and your door remains unlocked. Or, your door started out locked and won’t come unlocked no matter how many times you turn the key around (which is potentially an even more frustrating problem). What can you do to fix it? Here’s what going on when your deadlock spins and how you can fix it.

How to Fix a Spinning Deadbolt

Here is the step-by-step procedure to find the problem with your deadbolt and fix it:

  • Remove the caps: Check your deadbolt to see if it has screw caps. If so, remove the caps off the screws, you may use leverage with a flat head screw driver (if you can’t remove it, then you should ask a professional)
  • Remove the screws: Unscrew the deadbolt with your Allen or Phillips head screwdriver. You can tape backside of the deadbolt in place, so it doesn’t drop down while you’re unscrewing. If you’re locked out of the building an can’t get to the other side of the door, you’ll have to let the deadbolt fall.
  • Remove the cap: Now that the deadbolt is off, you may need to unscrew the cap on the inside of the bolt, depending on the design. On some designs, the innerworkings will be immediately accessible with no cap.
  • Find a worn disc: You may find a disc in the deadbolt that is just outside of the keyway slot. This disc has two small teeth. If the teeth have broken, the locking mechanism cannot catch, so the key just spins in place. If this is the problem with your deadbolt, you may be able to replacement disc, pop it into place, and then reassemble the lock. However, depending on the age of your deadbolt, parts may no longer be available for it. In this case, you’ll need to replace it.
  • Find a detached disc: Or the disc may have become detached, in which case you may find it loose in the deadbolt. You can fish it out and put it back in place, but it is likely to come loose again.
  • Replace the housing cylinder: If the problem isn’t with the disc, then you may have to replace the whole housing cylinder. A locksmith can help you troubleshoot the issue and fix your deadbolt.

Should You Fix It?

Sometimes it is better to just replace a deadbolt that develops this key spinning problem. Usually, when a deadbolt develops this problem, it is old and may have been poorly designed in the first place. There are high quality deadbolts on the market that are less likely to develop this problem and that will keep your facility more secure in the future. In addition, if the bolt in the existing deadbolt is loose or doesn’t move smoothly, then it is likely to develop another problem soon. Replacing it will often save you some headache down the road.

The experts at CLAD can advise you about whether you should replace your deadbolt or if it can be repaired.