UPVC door difficult to lock?

The majority of UPVC / composite door locking problems are due to misalignment between the door and frame. This can either be due to poor initial installation, or the building settling/subsiding.

Signs of poor installation may be difficult for a layman to identify. In Lydney and Coleford in particular there are entire housing estates where composite doors have been badly installed by the builder. Gradually doors will become stiff, then after a few years the door mechanism can break completely. Eventually you’ll find yourself with a door that doesn’t lock, or you can’t open.

With older buildings the signs of settling / subsidence which cause misalignment can be more easily seen. If your door is difficult to lock, take a look around the frame or nearby to see if there are cracks. These cracks can indicate settling of the building and may be the reason your door is difficult to lock. If the settling is minor adjustments can probably be made to the door to get it back into correct alignment.

In most cases Ross-Dean Locksmiths can realign your door and repair the door. Sadly sometimes in the Forest of Dean you’ll come across a building subsiding so badly (or about to slide down Plump Hill) there’s nothing we can do. In a situation where we can’t fix your door – there is no charge.

If you just replace the broken parts without adjusting the door correctly, expect the new parts to break fairly soon.

Christmas and Festive Period Opening Hours.

Nothing changes for Ross-Dean Locksmiths over this period Our staff Christmas dinner bowl of Frosties can wait until we get you into your house/car or fix your lock or whatever.

Christmas Eve: Open 24 hours.

Christmas Day: Open 24 hours.

New Years Eve: Open 24 hours.

New Years Day: Open 24 hours.

If you need a locksmith in Ross on Wye, Forest of Dean or surrounding areas over this period do not hesitate to give us a call. It’s cheaper for us to unlock your car than you smash your own window and replace it.

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. You could end up with a door jammed shut, or unable to lock. In the photo below a customer had been using WD40 to try to make the door work. No amount of lubricant was going to put all these broken pieces of metal back together. 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.

REPLACEMENT LOCK DETAINERS

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 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.

Find us on Yell.com

https://www.yell.com/biz/ross-dean-locksmiths-ruardean-8144374/

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.

Pre-1984 Garador handle

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.

Car 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 rechargeable battery soldered to the circuit board. Like all rechargeables they have a limited lifespan.

If the remote won’t work on all the buttons it’s probable that one of them is damaged or the solder joint has cracked. 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 remote battery replacement. Checking operating frequency.
Land Rover Freelander remote repair
Renault remote repairs

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