door lock cylinder maintenance

Lock Cylinder Maintenance 101

Doors | Hardware | Install | Keying | Life Safety

Routine lock cylinder checks and maintenance are important for keeping your facility secure and your doors working properly. When checking your lock cylinder, there are a few things you should be looking for:

door lock cylinder

Door Cylinder Maintenance Checklist:

1. Is the lock cylinder properly installed?

A correctly installed standard cylinder should be positioned so that the key has the cut edge facing up when it is inserted. However, a lever handled cylinder should be installed so the cut edge of the key is pointed toward the lever handle.

2. Is the door cylinder worn out?

As cylinders wear down over time, they become difficult to turn. Worn cylinders also make it difficult to insert and retract a key, and when the key is turned in the lock, it will feel like it’s catching. These things can also happen if the cylinder is installed incorrectly.

TIP: To ensure a long life for your door cylinders and locks, do not use the key to pull the door open. This will cause damage to the key, pins, and cylinders over time.

3. Can the key be fully inserted into the lock cylinder?

If the key cannot be fully inserted, check to see if there are any obstructions in the keyway hole. Obstructions can normally be dislodged using a pair of tweezers or a racking tool. If you cannot clear the cylinder, you may need to have a locksmith remove the cylinder and take it apart to remove the object.

4. Is the cylinder sticking or difficult to use?

Often a sticking door cylinder requires a cleaning. To easily clean a door cylinder:

  • Use a quick-drying solvent or cleaner that can be sprayed directly into the keyway hole.
    • TIP: Do not use WD-40 or another spray lubricant. They will attract and hold dirt in the cylinder mechanism, causing further problems.
  • Follow up with compressed air to blow out the solvent and any debris that may have been dislodged by the cleaner.
  • Lubricate the door cylinder using a lubricant specifically made for locks and cylinders.

You may need to repeat his process several times if the door cylinder hasn’t been serviced in a while. If the lock is still difficult to operate after cleaning, it may be time to have a locksmith remove the cylinder, re-pin it, or replace the worn pins and springs.

We have been providing doors, hardware, frames, security, specialties, and more since 1954, so we have seen it all! If you have questions about servicing your lock cylinder or anything else in your building, contact us – we would be happy to help. You can also check out our line card to find out all the ways we can help you maintain your commercial facility, including pre-installing hardware onto doors to prevent potential problems right away!