Your locks are the first line of defense for your family’s security. They’re also one of the most under-appreciated parts of a home. It’s not until you have a break-in that you realize how important it is to have strong, reliable locks installed on all exterior doors and windows in your home or business.

But what if those locks were so old they weren’t up to snuff? What if they had been compromised by something as simple as wear and tear? Wouldn’t you want to know so that you could take action before someone got hurt? Here are 17 signs that tell us when it may be time for new door locks:


1. You can’t remember where you put your keys.

If you can’t find your keys and feel like they disappeared into thin air, it’s probably time for new locks. If this happens more than once in a while, it could mean that the door lock has gone bad. It may be deformed or worn out to the point that it won’t hold your key.


2. You can see daylight through the door hinges.

Worn-out door locks are easy targets for burglars since they’ll need no tools to get in, just a few minutes of time. If you notice that the lockset is loose or that there’s more than an inch of space between the door and the doorjamb, it’s time to think about having your locks replaced.


3. Your doors and windows stick or jam when you try to open them.

Not only is this a huge annoyance, but it can also be an indication that something has gone wrong with your lock hardware. Again, worn-out parts could lead to a quick break-in by someone who knows what they’re doing.


4. Your key doesn’t seem to fit the lock anymore.

If you can feel a gap between your key and the lock, this means that the pins inside the cylinder have become misaligned and need replacing. It could also mean that there’s too much play in your door hardware because it’s either too loose or because the screws holding it in place have come completely undone.


5. The lock doesn’t line up with the bolt anymore.

If your key turns, but only halfway, and stops there, the problem probably lies with your door lockset (also called a “deadbolt”). Over time, constant use can make this part wear out or loosen to the point that it stops lining up with your doorknob.


6. When you lock and unlock, there is an audible grinding sound in the door.

If you hear clicking, clunking, grinding, or squeaking when you turn or release your key in your lock cylinder (also called “the plug”), or when you move your doorknob or deadbolt, it’s probably time to get new door locks.


7. The key turns partway and gets stuck.

If turning the key makes it stick in the lock for a few seconds before moving further, you need to have the cylinder replaced. If this happens regularly, call us right away.

The common reason for this problem is that the key has worn out and has rounded off the tumblers inside your lock cylinder.


8. Your door or window locks are broken.

Broken locks are easy to spot—just look at the hinges directly above your lockset because they will come apart if you pull on them with pliers. If this is the case, it means that you have a broken lock or one without fasteners keeping it in place.


9. You feel resistance when you turn your key to unlock the door.

If you notice that turning your key requires more than usual effort, it may be because something has bent or corroded inside the chamber of your lock cylinder. You’ll need to have it replaced because this could lead to a complete failure of the lock.


10. The doorknob falls off when you turn it.

If your door hardware just “fell apart” in your hands, there’s no doubt that you’re dealing with an emergency situation and will need new locks soon. This could happen because the screws holding your lockset in place have come loose, or because the internal mechanism has worn out.


11. Your door lock jams when you try to open it.

If you can see light through your keyhole (or feel air coming in), but the latch won’t open far enough for you to get out, you might need new door hardware. The reason is simple—the latch mechanism itself has worn out and needs replacing.


12. Your key gets stuck when you try to put it back in the lock after unlocking your door.

This can be a sign that your lockset is loose or that the screws holding it in place have come undone, leaving you with a door that won’t lock or one that can’t be unlocked. In any case, you should call us right away for a thorough inspection of your lockset and door hinges.


13. The key breaks in the lock.

If your key snaps when you turn it to open your door, try not to get too upset—it’s just that the metal has worn out and become brittle. You’ll need to have your lockset replaced as soon as possible because having no lock or a broken one is extremely risky.


14. The door doesn’t latch when you shut it all the way.

If closing your door no longer makes it latch, there’s a problem with either your lockset or your door hardware. The most likely culprit here is the lockset itself, which has probably worn out to the point of malfunctioning.


15. Your door handle is too tight to turn.

If your door handle feels very difficult to move, it’s likely a sign that the internal mechanism of your lockset has worn out over time. If this happens regularly, you’ll need to have it replaced as soon as possible because continuing to use a broken lock isn’t safe.


16. The key looks worn out.

If you notice that the bow of your key is flat, it’s a sign that you’ve used it enough times to cause its metal to wear down and become round again—which means the tumblers inside your lock cylinder have been turned too many times. You’ll need to call us immediately to have the lock replaced.


17. The key won’t turn at all.

A broken lock can sometimes be so severe that it causes your key to come off in the chamber when you try to open the door with it. If this happens, you’ll need to have it replaced as soon as possible because a lock with a broken mechanism is not safe.


Get the best door locks installed today by Right On Time Locksmith!

Door locks are one of the most basic security systems in your house. You never know when you might need to lock down your home quickly, and it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re looking for a way to boost your door’s security, there is no better time than now!

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, don’t hesitate to give us a call for immediate assistance—we’re here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week! We’ll be happy to inspect your lockset and recommend new options when needed.

It’s always better to call us at (301) 798-5333 in order to have any concerns about your home security assessed—it should be a big priority for every homeowner, and we’ll be happy to help you.