You have a broken lock. Whether the lock won’t turn easily, it completely froze in cold weather, or the cylinder seems loose, you can’t get back in your house. However you don’t feel it’s serious enough to warrant calling a locksmith, so you decide to go online and search for repair advice, because you can find anything on the Internet, right?
Unfortunately not anything, trust us. For instance, when you search for “best ways to repair a lock,” you’re going to find a lot of conflicting information. Some websites will say one way to repair a lock is a great solution, while someone in the comments angrily claims the same technique destroyed their lock and forced them to replace it.
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there on the web about how to repair a broken lock on your own. There’s no doubt you will find long arguments in message boards and blog posts on the subject, and lengthy how-to videos using all sorts of questionable techniques.
A shocking spoiler: no matter what Joe the lockpick says on a forum about how to fix your lock, we always think it’s better to call your local locksmith. We’re going to cover a few of the most confusing recommendations we’ve found on forums and blogs to demonstrate how hard it is to fix a “simple” lock problem.
Example #1: Lock lubricant sprays
Some people swear by lock lubricant spray as a one-size-fits-all solution to all sorts of lock problems. You can find people encouraging you to use these sprays for things like thawing frozen locks and cleaning out a dirty lock.
But opponents claim oil based lubricants can make your lock gummy and even more susceptible to sticking. We get that it’s hard to decide whether these sprays are an ametuer locksmith’s best friend or a nuisance that will just break your lock. That’s why it’s generally safer to just call your locksmith rather than risking it.
Example #2: Graphite
Graphite is the stuff they’ve used to replace the pencil “lead.” A lot of internet-dwellers swear by using graphite to clean out the inside of a dirty lock. You can buy powdered graphite or just rub the tip of your pencil onto your key and move it around inside the lock to clear out debris.
But again, this advice is contested amongst professional locksmiths. Some opponents claim the graphite can build up and form blockages in your lock, especially if it gets wet and then dries up inside.
A word of caution
Many internet users claim that if techniques like lubricants and graphite fail, you should take your lock apart on your own.
If a lock problem ever gets to the point of disassembling your lock to fix the problem, it’s much better to call your locksmith. Save yourself a couple hours of YouTube tutorial videos and save yourself the cost of buying another lock when you break it beyond repair by calling a professional locksmith in the first place.
The short version is this: if your lock is broken enough that you’re Googling repair techniques, call a locksmith. If you aren’t properly trained in lock repair techniques, you can do more damage to your lock and end up getting hit by a heftier repair cost than you would have paid in the first place.