My Key Turns But My Deadbolt Lock Doesn’t Work

Commercial Deadbolt

Have you ever put your key into a deadbolt lock and the key can turn 360 degrees but it does not operate the lock? There are several reasons that this could be happening.

Depending upon which deadbolt lock brand you have will usually determine the exact reason for this issue.

If you have an older Schlage B-160 deadbolt on your door then this is a very common occurrence. With this model of Schlage deadbolt there are tell tale signs. Usually you cannot operate your lock with the key but the thumbturn on the inside of your door will still actuate the deadbolt portion of your lock. There was a flaw in the original design of the tailpiece. It was two pieces. One piece was basically a flat metal piece which is the portion that goes through the deadbolt bolt to cause it to be extended or retracted when it is rotated. At one end of this flat piece of metal there is a split in the metal and a round washer-like stamped piece of metal is attached through a peening process. The peening process was the fault in this design. In later years Schlage redesigned this part to be one piece. This older type of Schlage lock can be repaired but this part is usually only available through a locksmith company or a locksmith or builders hardware supply.

Many other deadbolt designs are similar and include the same bolt. Several deadbolt manufacturers that come to mind are Faultless, Fruitless, Dorex and we are certain that there are many others. The fault with this type of deadbolt can sometimes be found within the manufacture of the bolt itself. There are several different bolt manufacturers that use different materials in their manufacturing process. There is a piece in the center of the deadbolt bolt that is round and has a hole in it that is in the shape of a cross. This is the portion of the lock that the tailpiece goes through to actuate the bolt. Some manufacturers supply this bolt with this part made of steel and others use cast metal. The cheaper design is to use cast metal. Perhaps you are not aware that cast metal is brittle and nowhere near as durable as steel. If this part is made of cast metal it will break much faster than its steel counterpart. If your deadbolt lock is not functioning at all when you use your key or the thumbturn on the inside of your door then this is, in most instances, the culprit. It is most likely that this piece of cast metal has broken. If this is the case then it is likely lock replacement time or you could hire a professional locksmith that can supply a replacement bolt.

There is a third issue that can cause a deadbolt to stop functioning. If the insert that we discussed in the previous portion of this article is made of steel and the alignment between the deadbolt on your door and the strike plate that the extended bolt fits through on your frame are misaligned this is a problem. If you have to exert a lot of force in order to get your door locked or unlocked then you are causing stress on the parts. Eventually something has to give. In this instance, the tailpiece, which is nothing more than a stamped piece of metal, feels the brunt of the misalignment. In many instances the force that you have to apply to lock and unlock your door causes indents in the flat portion of the tailpiece until it gets to the point where the metal at these points is worn away. then your lock no longer functions. Again, this is something that a trained professional locksmith can help you deal with. Simply replacing the deadbolt is a temporary repair. To have this problem corrected properly, the misalignment must be dealt with. Again, a professional locksmith technician can help to resolve this issue for you.

Security Article Written by: Toronto Locksmith


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