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

    by  • September 2, 2013 • Life • 11 Comments

    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:



    Dad, sales guy, entrepreneur, and technology geek.

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

    1. Pingback: Diy Home Improvement: How Can I Remove A Lockset Latch Assembly That’s Stuck Latched?. Latched, Latch, Lockset. ~ diy-home-improvement.vwx.info

    2. Michelle
      December 20, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      The 2 liter pop bottle thing worked! Saved me a hefty locksmith bill. Thanks!

      • Tyler
        December 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm

        Awesome! I’m glad I was able to help.

    3. Alex
      June 23, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      Wow, the bottle method worked like a charm. Thank you!

    4. dorothy
      August 17, 2017 at 11:57 am

      You saved the day more than you know. my 10 year old’s door rod failed with her in her room on a day that is 105 outside. As her windows do not open (it’s a play area not a bedroom) and the only circulation is from a fan it can get hot FAST. The soda bottle trick worked like a charm. Rod mechanism being removed as we speak.

      • Tyler
        August 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm

        I have a 9 year old, so I know how scary that would be. I’m glad I was able to provide a solution for you. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

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    6. Vince Gonsalves
      August 19, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      I used a piece of bailing wire and formed it into a “U” shape to pass it around the rod mechanism (from the inside) and simply pulled it somewhat vigorously and as the latch retracted and I pulled on the door and it opened. Then I had to replace the rod mechanism.

      • Sandra Read
        May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm

        My laundry room door that goes out to the garage would not open as the door rod would not retract and the door would not open. I took a coat hanger and used the hook part to go between the door and trim and pulled it and wiggled the door and it open with ease.

      • Tyler
        July 22, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        Thanks for letting me and the readers know that worked!

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