How to Fix a Door Knob Latch That is Stuck (Open or Locked Position)?

Why your door knob latch is stuck in an open position?

Your door knob latch is stuck in an open position because your bolts or internals have rusted or gummed up. A broken bolt or lock cylinder or a misalignment of the door are other reasons your door knob latch is stuck in an open position.


door latch stuck


Rusted bolts or internals

When a component of the lock has broken, a variety of problems may occur. If the door latch is stuck just when you try to move the handle when the door is open, but you can press on the latch, it will slide in and out of the way; it is supposed to, this is the clearest indication that something is wrong in the lock.

There is a possibility that the spindle is broken, which would mean that actuating the handle would not convey any information to the latch. It’s also possible that the spindle hole, the keyed cylinder, or something else in the lock is cracked or damaged somehow. This is the consequence of a broken link in the chain of interacting pieces.


Broken lock cylinder

The cylindrical tumblers utilized in locking and unlocking doors are called door lock cylinders. They are with a key that will lock and unlock them. They prevent the doors from being opened accidentally.

When the cylinders in the door locks become worn out, the doors’ locking and unlocking mechanisms may become difficult to use. In most cases, a faulty or malfunctioning door lock cylinder will produce a few signs that can inform the driver that there may be an issue. One of them is a stuck door knob latch.


Misalignment of door

It is possible that the strike plate became misaligned due to the expansion of your door’s wood due to exposure to moisture. Alternatively, the misalignment could have been caused by an issue with the stability of your home’s foundation. In any scenario, an issue of this nature will likely occur annually or semi-annually.

When you try to retract or extend the latch into the bored hole of the strike plate, what is happening on a physical level is that the metal latch is not falling into the hole correctly. This is the case regardless of whether you are retracting or extending the latch. There is a good chance that this will come with a door latch that is jammed in since it cannot fit into the hole it was designed for.


How do you fix a door knob latch stuck in an open position?

You can fix your door knob latch stuck in an open position by aligning the strike plate, changing the door lock cylinder and fixing the broken internals.

Aligning strike plate

To solve the problem of a stuck door knob latch, follow this guide for steps.


  1. Adjust the three screws holding the hinge to the jamb using the Phillips screwdriver. Even if you can only turn the screws a little, this may be enough to draw in the hinge and make it more secure.
  2. Remove the center screw from the top hinge of doors that have to scuff towards the top, and then replace it with a screw two inches long. In addition to this, tighten the other two screws.
  3. Put a screw or two into the door jamb with your screwdriver. Determine the spots on the door jamb where the door and the jamb conflict. Use a pencil to make markings.
  4. Begin by drilling a pilot hole. Take your time and be careful with this step, so the hole doesn’t get ripped out. The fluted countersink bit should be used in the next step.
  5. Make sure the screws on the striking plate are securely fastened by using either the manual Phillips screwdriver or the cordless drill. Replace the screws with ones 2 inches long if they have become so loose that they no longer keep the door jamb in place.
  6. Turn the screws on the strike plate counterclockwise. After that, insert the screwdriver’s blade into the corresponding hole in the strike plate. The strike plate can be pushed down further by striking the top of the screwdriver with the hammer.
  7. If the strike plate needs to be moved more than a 32nd inch, you will need to remove the strike plate and reinstall it in a different location with new screw holes.
  8. Take the strike plate out of the way. The dowel should be cut into two sections, each approximately one inch in length.
  9. Apply a small amount of wood glue to one end of each dowel, and then insert the dowels into the screw holes that are already there.
  10. Tap the dowels farther into the holes using a gentle tapping motion.
  11. Give the glue about four hours to dry.
  12. Remove the dowels by cutting them flush.
  13. Replace the strike plate in its previous location with the new one.
  14. You can try installing the strike plate further into the door jamb if you’ve tried previous troubleshooting methods without success, and the strike plate may be rubbing against the door or the door latch.
  15. Take the strike plate completely out of the door. Remove some of the wood from the jamb inset by chipping it away with a sharp wood chisel. Take care not to remove an excessive amount of wood. After you have replaced the strike plate, try opening and closing the door.
  16. To reduce the height of a portion of the door, you must initially take it off its hinges. To prevent the side of the door from being damaged, place it upright on some cushioning material such as towels.


Changing lock cylinder

These locks are installed separately or in conjunction with door handles. Although there may be subtle differences in the size and placement of the cylinder, the lock cylinders in the vast majority of door locks are interchanged similarly. You can use these steps to change your lock cylinder.

  1. Using the screws, remove the faceplates from a standalone lock cylinder without a door handle. Depending on the kind of screws, locate the screws on the cover plate on the inside side of the door using a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver.
  2. To remove the plates covering the lock mechanism, loosen them. It may be simpler to remove the lower screws first.
  3. Remove the door handle trim by unscrewing it from the door handle’s base.
  4. Insert a screwdriver with a flat head into the spindle at the middle of the lock cylinder.
  5. Turn the screwdriver counterclockwise as far as it will go to unlock it. This will allow the lock to be removed by aligning the square tab on the cylinder with the square notch in the internal housing.
  6. Locate the spring-loaded tab on the spindle housing’s outside edge. To remove the spindle from the housing, depress the spindle with the screwdriver or pry it up gently.
  7. Insert a screwdriver with a flat head into the spindle housing hole. Insert a second flathead screwdriver beneath the edges of the tabs that secure the lock cylinder to the housing.
  8. Apply little pressure to the tabs while simultaneously pushing into the spindle hole against the internal cylinder to release it from the housing.
  9. You can also push the lock cylinder out of the case by pressing directly into the middle of the spindle housing without bothering about the tabs keeping it in place, although this requires slightly more force. If you cannot discover the pressure tabs inside the housing, push slowly and softly, and the lock cylinder will ultimately pop out the opposite side.
  10. Install your new lock cylinder by reversing the previous steps. If the new lock cylinder is slightly larger than the previous one, you may need to enlarge the hole with sandpaper to accommodate the new cylinder.


Fixing broken internals

Changing the locks is the quickest and easiest approach to repair a broken lock that has a component that has been compromised. If your lock is merely one of the locks you can pick up for a low price, this may also be the solution that will save you the most money. Here are tips you should know to fix your broken internals.

  1. If a lock is damaged beyond repair or totaled, the cost of fixing it would be higher than the cost of purchasing a new lock.
  2. This may be the ideal time to replace or enhance your security measures.
  3. You can make an investment in higher-quality lock products, which will not only offer increased protection but will also require less maintenance and will not malfunction as frequently as the cheaper locks.
  4. The same sturdy metal and well-crafted internal components give a lock a high level of security and give it a greater capacity to withstand everyday wear and tear effects.


Why your door knob latch is stuck in a locked position?

The reason your door knob latch is stuck in a locked position is because of a jammed latch that can impede the spring’s movement or broken internal mechanism. Lack of lubrication on door parts is another reason your door knob latch is stuck in a locked position.


Jammed latch

When the handle is rotated, there is not much of a difference in the movement of the latch compared to when it is pressed in (both when the door is open and when it is shut). This is because of a buildup of material inside the components, which allows the latch to extend and retract due to inhibited spring tensioning.

Rust can build up within the lock and on the latch bolt if moisture is present. This results in unwanted friction as the metal parts of the lock try to glide past one another or move out of the way of other moving parts. Rust can also form outside the lock if moisture is present. Additionally, this can make it difficult for the springs to move.



Age or damage, such as being struck by material handling equipment or other items, can cause doors to get out of alignment, resulting in a misaligned position. Either the door or the frame has a crooked alignment problem. In situations when technicians choose to ignore these criteria, both of these issues will eventually arise.

Misalignment of the door is typically a problem with wooden doors. The problem can be solved by installing a toggle bolt attached to two long wires and then fastening it to the upper edge of the door along the hinge side and the lower edge of the door along the strike side. The door can be properly aligned by simply tightening the toggle bolt.


Lack of lubrication

Your door can also get rusted if they come in contact with liquid substances or already old. This can get your door knob latch stuck in a locked position. This problem is easier to fix, you just need to lubricate the necessary areas.


How to fix a door knob latch that is stuck in a locked position?

You can fix your door knob latch that is stuck in a locked position by lubricating door parts, cleaning its parts and changing the door knob.

Lubricating door parts

Lubrication plays an important role in making your door knob latch work smoothly. Below are steps to lubricate your door parts:


  1. First, you should lubricate the doorknob or deadbolt before fully attempting to take it apart.
  2. Put the can of WD-40 back on the shelf and take the dry graphite lubricant off the back of the cabinet.
  3. Keyholes, doorknobs, and deadbolt locks are better served by a lubricant that does not attract dirt, debris, and the occasional ant or earwig into the mechanism.
  4. Put on safety goggles, a mask, and gloves, and then move spectators, children, or pets in the area away from the entrance. The spray-type lubricant is carried on an aerosol solvent basis, whereas the puff-type graphite comes in a tube that may be squeezed open and closed. It is best to avoid breathing the product in or eating it. Do not smoke or use it when you are near any source of flame.
  5. Apply the dry graphite lubricant by puffing or spraying it into the keyhole and all over the key. Try turning it to loosen the door latch after you have inserted it into the lock and turned it.
  6. Loosen the screws attached to the mortise plate and the doorknob so that you may spray the lubricant into the inner mechanism and onto the stuck door latch.
  7. Make a back-and-forth motion with the thumb to turn on the doorknob or deadbolt, then lightly press the stuck latch to urge it to retract.


If lubricating the latch and the inner mechanism do not resolve the issue, you will need to remove the doorknob. When you take the screws and other components of the doorknob off the door, a shoe box is a convenient place to store them while you work.


Cleaning door parts

Most times, you forget about your doors when doing your house maintenance. Doors also need to be cleaned to avoid your door knob latch getting stuck. Follow these steps to clean your door.


  1. As you take each component from the doorknob, arrange it in a row so it will be simple to put it back together again. Reassembling the doorknob will result in the parts being in the correct sequence.
  2. Take out all of the screws that are attached to the mortise plate and the doorknob.
  3. Keep a firm grip on the doorknob, as it tends to come loose from the door.
  4. Make it easier to disengage from the door latch by jiggling the inner mechanism and spindle before attempting to remove it.
  5. Take the door latch from its hinges.
  6. Cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, and you should use clean rags to clean your key and each component of the doorknob or lock mechanism.
  7. Mineral spirits should be able to remove any oily residue that was left behind after prior applications of WD-40 or other lubricants. Therefore you should only use them if the mechanism needs additional cleaning.
  8. After thoroughly cleaning and drying the mechanism, spray all moving components with the dry graphite lubricant.
  9. Then, wait for those parts to dry before reassembling and replacing the doorknob or the deadbolt.


Change the knob on the door.

Sometimes, the only way to fix the problem is to remove the doorknob or deadbolt and put a new one on. Use the following steps to change your door knob.


  1. You can fix your doorknob with replacement components, such as Schlage door latch replacement parts, but in most cases, a full replacement is the only alternative worth considering.
  2. You may get doorknobs and deadbolts that match the design and décor of your home at the local hardware shop or online.
  3. Doorknobs and other types of vintage or antique hardware can also be purchased at antique stores, specialized shops, and salvage yards, in addition to being sold online.
  4. When looking for new hardware, measure the door and the holes already there for the knob and the latch. For example, Schlage hardware is guaranteed to fit on a normal door provided the door has been prepared with a doorknob hole measuring 2 1/8 inches, located 2 3/8 or 2 3/4 inches from the door’s edge, and a door latch hole measuring either 7/8 inches or 1 inch.
  5. To successfully install the new doorknob or deadbolt, follow the directions provided by the manufacturer.


How to fix a door knob latch that is stuck and you can’t open the door?

Because of shifts in temperature and humidity levels, doorknobs can occasionally become difficult to turn. When such conditions shift once more, there is a possibility that such difficulties will become somewhat easier to deal with.

Wear and tear is the source of some other types of sticking difficulties. When the knob is turned, the latch may not retract, and when the knob is released, it may not return to its original position. When the mechanism that controls a doorknob becomes stuck, it can be difficult to open a door and make it impossible for a person to seek privacy.

It may be as simple as adding some lubricant to fix a stuck doorknob, but the knob may need to be replaced more often than not. Here are steps to fix your door knob latch stuck and you can’t open the door.


  1. Make an effort to shake the component that is stuck loosely by jiggling the doorknob. Even if the solution is straightforward, the issue can be that the springs are not correctly engaged, or the latch might not be able to retract or extend effectively.
  2. Spray lubricant onto the doorknob mechanism, and then turn the knob a few times to assist in distributing the oil throughout the mechanism. Rust should be checked for on both sides of the mechanism. In the event that rust is present, remove it with a wire brush and then apply lubrication to the mechanism so that it continues to function as intended.
  3. Check the latch as the third step. It is possible that the latch is misplaced and caught on something if the door knob will not turn even after the latch has been retracted.
  4. Put a screwdriver with a flat head slightly above the latch, and hit it with a hammer to get it open. Repeat the process on the reverse side of the latch to unlock it.
  5. Perform a more thorough inspection of the doorknob assembly. Take out the screws that are attached to the plate, and then take the doorknob off the door.
  6. Examine the interior of the doorknob to determine whether there are any obstructions or breaks in the mechanism. Using needle-nose pliers, remove any obstacles that you find within the assembly. If the doorknob assembly is broken, you will need to replace it.