Difficulty locking UPVC doors. Again. And again.

It’s pretty common when called to a broken UPVC door to be told by the customer that they’ve been squirting WD40 into. It’s understandable, but for starters it’s the wrong lubricant for the job. Secondly the difficulty locking is normally because the door is out of alignment. WD40 won’t magically re-align the door.

If you ignore difficulty locking a UPVC door eventually the mechanism is going to break. That may result in the door being jammed shut, or unable to lock. In the photo below customer had been using WD40 but still ended up with a door locked shut. No amount of lubricant was going to put all these broken pieces of metal together again. Adjusting the door in time would have prevented this breakage.

It is far cheaper to adjust your door correctly than it is to open a broken UPVC mechanism and replace the parts.


With most mortise locks that are difficult to lock there are 2 main reasons. Either the door has dropped and the bolt is hitting the keep, or the keys are badly worn / cut. If the bow of the key does not have a manufacturer’s name, (or has an aftermarket brand such as JMA) the key is likely to be a copy. Take a look at the bitting of the key for worn or bent elements. If the key only works one side of the door this is a good indication of a worn key.

Worn keys can be exacerbated having too many keys/junk hanging on the bunch. This additional weight can wear levers or the curtain on one side.

If the keys are too badly worn they may have damaged the levers. It is possible to replace these levers but it’s normally cheaper to replace a complete lock. An exception to this rule is for Chubb (now Union) 3G110 lock. A detainer pack for these locks is cheaper than replacing the entire lock. Some companies do make cheaper locks that will slot straight into the hole but they’re not the same quality as a 3G110.

Chubb 3G110 detainers
Replacing 3G110 detainers

Random selection of lock jobs

Renault Koleos handsfree car

Renault Koleos handsfree card supplied, cut and programmed. The original key was faulty and would not lock the car. This style of Renault card are renowned for becoming damaged. They might fit nicely in your back pocket, but eventually you’re going to sit on it and break it if you keep putting it there.

multipoint gearbox

UPVC door gearboxes shouldn’t look like this one above. Customer could have just replaced the gearbox but instead decided to cut the faceplate into 3 parts, requiring a complete replacement strip. Most gearboxes fail due to door misalignment (not rust or being cut into bits).

Antique travel chest lock

Above is an antique steamer trunk. It had regularly been across the Atlantic. The chest hadn’t been opened in decades and the key could not be found. We opened the lock without damage.

A few jobs from this week.

Renault key cards
Renault key cards programmed.

First example is programming of some Renault key cards. Work carried out for a lot cheaper than the rip off price the dealer quoted the customer. Dealer had also insisted the card reader was faulty and needed replacing before the cards could be programmed – that was a blatant lie.

UPVC door repair
Damaged UPVC door gearbox – and wrong fittings.
Damaged multipoint
Damaged gearbox due to somebody taking the lock out without knowing what they were doing.

Next example is a UPVC door that was jammed shut. This occurred due to a misaligned door. Once we got the door open we replaced the damaged parts and aligned the door. Previous repairers had just replaced the cylinder, ignoring the root cause of the problem (misalignment) and also put a wood screw into the gearbox instead of the correct M4 screw.

Non destructive entry

Last example from this week is a non-destructive entry to a commercial premises. British Standard 5 lever ERA Fortress picked open.

UPVC Doors not locking

During this hot weather we are attending a lot of doors that cannot be locked. This is normally due to the doors being out of alignment. This most often happens to UPVC doors but can also affect wood and composite doors. If you have to use excessive force to lift the handle then very soon the mechanism is probably going to break. Your door should not be “knocking” when you shut the door with the handle held down.

door roller
Door roller locking point showing wear from door misalignment.

It is far cheaper to get the doors adjusted before the mechanism breaks (possibly locking you in/out).

UPVC door repair.
UPVC door locking point showing wear due to door misalignment.

There is a fairly new housing estate in Coleford where we often go to conduct repairs. There’s also a new estate in Lydney with the same door mechanism. It isn’t the fault of the door mechanism, it’s the fault of the builders / installers who never took the time to line up the doors correctly to begin with.

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Replacement patio door rollers.

If your sliding patio door is difficult to move or out of alignment, it could be due to the rollers. Most patio door rollers can be adjusted to account for wear. Sometimes the rollers are so badly worn or collapsed that the aluminium door frame itself is rubbing on the track. Eventually this rubbing can also destroy the track which will add to the expense.

Old and new patio door rollers
Worn patio door rollers (left). New replacement patio door roller (right).

In the picture above you can see 2 old rollers (left) which we removed from a door in Forest of Dean today. They are pictured with a new roller for comparison. The old rollers are completely worn away ( the only bit left is the bearing). No wonder the door didn’t want to open and couldn’t be locked.

What maintenance should you do for your sliding patio door? Keep the track clean and free dirt and grit. Do NOT lubricate the track. Lubricant will attract grit and encourage the rollers to skid and flat spot. You want your rollers gripping the track and rotating correctly around the bearing. It’s the same as you don’t want your car tyres skidding on oil or ice – you want them gripping the road surface and rotating around the bearing.

Garage door gain entry and lock change.

This style of Garador lock and handle stopped being made by 1984. They can still be found on old metal garage doors. This type of lock barrel are also found on lockers in changing rooms.

In this example the keys had been missing for months. We were asked to gain entry and fit a new lock. It is often possible to cut a new key for the lock but the original lock was so old and corroded the number was unreadable.

The garage was one giant cobweb – it needed beating down with a stick to be able to enter!

Replacement garage door lock

Metal up and over garage door lock.

Faulty Mercedes boot lock and mechanism.

Some older Mercedes cars have a boot mechanism that operates remotely using a vacuum pump. When that system fails it’s not normally a problem because the boot can still be opened using the key. If the boot lock is also faulty or damaged – then it is a problem problem. You can’t open the boot.

Mercedes boot lock
Mercedes boot lock. Visible signs of damage to the cover plate from previous attempts to unlock it.

In this example the boot mechanism could be heard clicking when the switch was operated. That indicated the vacuum pump was working OK so the likely fault was the actual actuator mechanism on the boot lid itself. The seats don’t fold down on this car – you can’t get into the boot that way. There are 2 ways to open the boot in this situation – one is to drill a hole through the skin of the boot to access the linkage. The other is to extract the lock barrel. Because this lock wasn’t working and needed replacing it was best to extract the lock and save drilling through the boot lid.

Mercedes boot lock
Mercedes boot lock removed – in parts.

Once the boot lock is removed the release linkage can be pulled, opening the boot and allowing the faulty mechanism to be swapped out.

Mercedes boot lid

A quirk of this Mercedes is that the battery is in the boot. If your key doesn’t work the locks and you get a flat battery you will struggle to get into the boot. There are ways around this if you know how.

Another vehicle with a weird boot/battery setup is a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. They have a quirk where it can be difficult to tow an automatic with a flat battery. Again, there is a way around it.

If you can’t open your vehicle or have locked your keys in the boot / car in Forest of Dean and Ross on Wye areas give us a call.

Remote repairs.

Car remotes can stop working for several reasons. First thing to check is the battery. These can almost always be easily DIY replaced by popping the back off and swapping the battery out. Some vehicles (particularly BMW/Land Rover) can have a rechargable battery soldered to the circuit board. Like all rechargeables they have a limited lifespan. It

If the remote works will only lock or unlock it’s probable that one of the buttons is damaged or has become detached. Replacing faulty or missing buttons can normally be achieved by anybody who can use a soldering iron. Old perished rubber centre buttons can be upgraded with ceramic buttons.

Land Rover remote battery replacement
Land rover battery replacement
Land Rover Freelander remote repair
Renault remote repairs

Even if your remote is working – check that your key actually works in the lock. Often remotes go flat but customers can’t open the car because the locks have been changed or are faulty.

Key snapped in lock – Triumph Acclaim.

This venerable Triumph suffered a key snapped in the ignition. The key was so old and worn it was only a matter of time before it broke. Customer had a spare key – but it only worked one way up. Anyway, the spare couldn’t be used until the snapped part was extracted.

Triumph Acclaim badge

The snapped part of the key was well and truly embedded in the lock. What I thought would be a 5 minute job took significantly longer.

Key snapped in lock
Snapped part of key finally extracted.

If your key is worn or cracking, getting another copied on the high street will just give you another worn key that is shinier. An auto locksmith will be able to cut you a key to original depths and spacings – as if it was new.

This Triumph is basically a rebadged Honda Ballade. Triumph and Rover made several ‘Japanese’ cars in UK. Cars have come a long way since then.

Land Rover Freelander 2 remote battery.

The battery in this Freelander 2 remote is a rechargeable type that is soldered to the circuit board. It should charge automatically from the vehicle. Like most rechargeable batteries it has a limited lifespan and will eventually fail and stop working. The blue Ford Transit remote batteries and many BMW remote batteries stop charging after a few years too.

It is not beyond anyone competent with a soldering iron to replace the battery themselves. The remote below is one that we repaired for a customer who preferred not to DIY.

Land Rover Freelander remote repair
New battery soldered onto Freelander 2 remote.
Land Rover remote battery replacement

Remote tested and correctly transmitting.

Below is a double glazed unit that we replaced recently. That is water sloshing around but it is not a fish tank – it was a customer’s window. Not only is this unsightly but the insulation properties of the glass are severely reduced.

Double glazing replacement

If you need your double glazed doors are windows repairing anywhere near Forest of Dean or Ross on Wye then give us a call for a quote.