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A sticking lock in the Melbourne CBD

A failing lock and a leaking roof have some things in common.  When it’s raining?  It’s too wet to get up on the roof to fix it.  When it’s not raining?  Well.. it doesn’t need fixing right now… so leave it till another time right?

A failing lock which is becoming more and more difficult to open, that requires wriggling and jiggling and only works if you hold your mouth just right is like this leaking roof.  The problem of the failing lock goes away as soon as you get inside so its an expense many people put off… sometimes for too long.  Such was the case at an emergency lockout we attended in the Melbourne CBD this week.

We arrived at an inner city cottage to find the tenant sitting on the front steps waving too us.   He explained he had been having trouble with the front door deadlock for weeks, with it getting stiffer and stiffer, requiring more and more jiggling to get it to open.  He had sprayed it with wd40 to free it up which had worked for a time… but the end result was as I would have expected.  The ongoing jiggling and forcing of the lock had weakened the metal of his key, and now some months after the problem first arose the key had weakened to the point where it had snapped off in the lock.  He had another key – that was not the problem.. but the broken part of the key had lodged in the barrel and after making a few attempts to poke get it out with tweezers he had given up and given us a call.

The temptation to try and remove a key broken off in a lock is pretty high.  You want to get inside, you don’t want to have to pay for a locksmith, you can see the broken bit of key and it looks like it might just come out with a bit of poking and prodding… I get it.  But truly?  Getting a broken off key out of a deadlock is no easy task and you risk making it impossible by pushing it further in.  Far better to give TopLock a call and have us come out with the proper tools(we have tools made just for this type of broken off key recovery) .

If you are a tenant with a sticking lock problem make sure you put the landlord on notice IN WRITING about the problem so if they are not diligent in getting it fixed and you end up stuck outside needing a locksmith, you have better chance of recovering the callout cost.  Sure… ring them to let them know as well but bang off a letter, email or fax as well and ask for confirmation of it.

Today was our new clients lucky day and using two specialised broken key recovery tools we were able to prize the broken key out of the lock.  The barrel itself was fine and didn’t need replacing… the cause of the sticking was… a stick! Someone at some stage had stuck a tiny stick in the lock which was causing problems with the barrel mechanism.  Once this was removed the barrel was fine.

A few tips?

  1. Keys aren’t meant to bend.  If your key is constantly bending… take this as a warning its going to break, and likely you have a problem with your lock.
  2. Fix problem locks sooner not later.  Getting locked out is not fun, and when it happens, its most often a Murphy’s law moment – the worst possible time.

Melbourne’s CBD Locksmith