How to fix a stuck front door lock latch that won’t retract

Do you have a door that won’t open because the lock latch won’t retract enough to open the door?  If so, here’s how you can fix it.

You will need the following:

Dead Latch
Dead Latch

Phillips Screwdriver
Can of WD40
Large flat head screw driver
Needle nose pliers
New dead latch – buy after you take yours out.

You might need (pray that you don’t):

Nail, or nail punch
Plastic coke bottle
Scissors or razor blade

First off, you’re going to have to take the door handle off.  You can do this by using the phillips head screw driver to unscrew both screws on the door handle.  Make sure the lock is unlocked before you do this.

Once you have the door handle off, you can now try to open the latch manually with either a large flathead screwdriver or pair of needle nose pliers.  You can see where the cylinder entered the dead latch mechanism and pulled the latch back.  On the Kwikset locks, this looks like two little teeth that the cylinder pushes back.  You may want to spray WD40 or other lubricant on the lock mechanism.

If this works, then you can open the door and it’s time to replace the dead latch.  To take yours out, just use your phillips screw driver again to take out the two screws in the face plate.  Now go to the hardware store and buy you a new dead latch.

If the method above didn’t work, then there is one last thing you can do before taking the door off of the hinges.  Take a 2 liter coke bottle and cut out a strip about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long.  Now, take that piece of plastic and try to insert it into the door from the outside directly where the latch is.  If you’re lucky, this will force the latch back.  You can try this step before taking the handle off.  If this doesn’t work, then you’re going to have to resort to removing the door from the hinges.  Here’s a video on how to do that properly: