How To Fix A Door Handle That Won’t Lock Properly

Doors may move in tandem with a house’s foundation when it settles, leading to misaligned door latches. Whether your house is new and being put on the market or old and full of charm, loose door latches can occur and you can fix a door handle by yourself. The causes may differ. Here is guidance on evaluating the problem, identifying the fault with your door’s alignment, and fixing it so that all of your doors close smoothly.

You may also contact any residential locksmith in Chicago.

How To Fix A Door Handle That Won’t Lock Properly

Necessary Tools

  1. Four-in-one screwdriver
  2. portable drill
  3. Set of drill bits
  4. File
  5. Hammer
  6. Vise
  7. Timber chisel
  8. Materials Necessary
  9. wood putty

Step 1

Do The Lipstick Test:

It’s because the latch doesn’t line up with the hole in the strike plate that a door latch won’t lock. Sometimes the alignment problem is very obvious. Try the “lipstick test” if not.

Place masking tape on the strike plate and lipstick on the lock. The portion of the masking tape that the lipstick touches when you close the door will be stained, marking the precise location where the latch makes contact with the plate.

Step 2

First, tighten the hinges. Make sure all the door’s hinge screws are secure if you discover that the latch meets the striking plate too high or too low.

Try this trick if it doesn’t fix the issue:

Remove one of the screws holding the hinge to the jamb and insert a 3-inch screw in its place. The long screw will snag the wall framing and gently indent the entire door jamb. It is done at the top hinge to lift the latch. At the bottom hinge, lower the lock.

Step 03:

Make the Strike Plate Hole Bigger. Measure the alignment of the lipstick marks on the strike plate if long screws don’t correct the too-high or too-low issue.

Remove the strike plate and expand its hole with a file if the latch misses the strike plate hole by less than 1/8 in. A half-round file will fit the latch hole’s curve, so use that.

Step 04:

Reposition the strike plate if the latch makes contact with it at the proper height but doesn’t go in all the way or if it strikes more than 1/8 inch too high or low. The strike plate can be moved inside or outward and up or down.

Enlarge the strike plate mortise with a sharp chisel. Drill fresh 1/16-inch holes for the screws while holding the strike plate. After installing the strike plate, use wood filler to close the mortise’s opening. To paint or complete the patch, take off the strike plate. Afterwards, assemble the lock and do a trial test.

You may also contact lock installation in Oak Park. They offer the best services in affordable rates. 

Another DIY Alternative:

Problems with a door usually start with the door latch rather than the locking mechanism. Because the door or door jamb has warped, the screws have loosened, or the plate has moved, the striker cannot enter the door jamb. When the door is closed, the striker either does not enter the receiving hole in the jamb past the striker plate or enters but does not bottom out, preventing the door from locking. A homeowner with simple DIY abilities and tools can fix a door that won’t latch.

Items You’ll Need:

A Phillips screwdriver, 




Step 01:

Unlock the door. Take a look at the striker plate. The striker fits into the little rectangular brass plate, which is located on the jamb. The jamb has a mortise for the striker plate. Place it back into the mortise if it is loose or has slipped out, then use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten the screws.

Step 02:

Try to lock the door after you close it. Open the door if it won’t lock. On the striker side of the jamb, wrap the end of a chisel on the door stop. Remove it by prying on it until it comes loose. The top door stop can also be removed using a chisel.

Step 03: 

Use a pair of diagonal pliers to remove the nails from the door stop. The nails can be used again. Reinstall the door stop on the jamb. Move it back by 1/4 inch from where it was before.

Where it peeled off, there should be a clear line in the paint, stain, or varnish. To align the door stop, use this. Reattach the top and side pieces of the door stop with nails. Now, the door ought to close and latch properly.


You cannot fix a door knob mechanism that malfunctions within. It is necessary to replace the entire lockset, including the doorknob.


Even if you move the door frame, a badly warped door might not seal properly. After repairing the door, check the draft. If the door is bad, you might want to think about replacing it.


In conclusion, we hope that we have answered your query about How To Fix A Door Handle That Won’t Lock Properly. It is an easy process and one can do it at home.

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