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When you turn a door knob, it moves the bolt into the latch. However, latches are susceptible to misalignment from house settling and wood expansion in damp weather, which causes the latch to fail.
Fixing a simple knob lock latch usually doesn't require a professional locksmith, but it should be fixed as soon as possible to keep the door secure. Follow these steps to fix a doorknob latch bolt.
Prepare to Fix the Latch
To fix the latch, you need:
To determine the exact problem, turn the knob, slowly release it, then grasp the bolt and pull it out. If the latch comes straight tout, the strike plate needs adjusting. A latch that stays still means the strike plate needs adjusting.
Check for loose face plate screws, and tighten them. Loose door hinges can also cause the door latch to not work properly. which indicates they may need moving.
Fix Strike Plate Alignment
Look for wear marks, which also indicate a misaligned strike. To further test the alignment, shut the door, and rub a dab of lipstick or crayon where the door strike hits the plate. .
Measure the length of the marks. In some cases, hitting the strike plate that has moved less than an eighth-inch with a screwdriver will realign it.
Hold the blade on the edge of the hole and tap it lightly. If the tapping didn't work, try making the hole by filing the strike plate edges to the length of the marks.
Move the Strike Plate
If the marks are more than an eighth-inch, you will have to move the strike plate. Detach the strike plate screws with the screwdriver, and lay them aside.
Align the plate with the latch, and mark the position. Use a chisel to make a hole about a sixteenth-inch on the marks, and test the bolt fit. Insert the latch plate, and fill the holes with putty.
Lubricate the Latch
If there doesn't seem to be an issue with alignment, detach the two machine screws on the inside door face that secure the knob. Pull the knobs free, and then set the hardware aside. If you don't see visible screws, press the tab with the screwdriver blade.
Press on the spring latch to release. If it won't release freely, set the mechanism on a rag with the latch up. Lubricate the latch where you see a seam, and lubricate the latch hole. Clean extra oil, and rotate the knob several times to spread the oil.