Lock out of time

Timing a Lock

Hardware | Keying

Do you have a door handle in your commercial building that you are always struggling to lock and unlock? Do you keep thinking it is time to get a new lock? Not all problems with locks are signs that it is time for a replacement. Before you assume that it is broken, there might be an easier and more cost-effective solution to the problem.

My Lock Is Not Working – Do I Need to Get a New One?

Not necessarily, sometimes a lock is not “timed” properly during installation. A few symptoms to watch out for are:

  • The lock does not lock/unlock when you expect it to
  • You have to rotate the lever upwards to retract the bolt instead of down
  • You can’t remove the key
  • The pushbutton does not stay depressed

It is important to note that these aren’t the only symptoms for a lock that isn’t properly timed, at LaForce we can help you identify the exact problem.

What is “Timing” a Lock?

Timing a lock is the process, often during the installation of the lock, when the key cam inside of the lock is set to properly work when a key is inserted. The timing of a lock allows your lock to function correctly, such as lock when you want it to lock, and vice versa.

What is the Key Cam?

On the inside of your lock is a key cam (slot) that controls if the lock properly enters a locked or unlocked state, when you (the operator) attempt to lock or unlock it.  

What Could Happen if the Lock is Timed Incorrectly?

The main issue that can happen is that your door’s lock will not operate as designed, which could affect the security of a room/facility (a lock not staying locked) or the traffic flow (the lock won’t remain unlocked). If the key cam on a lock is not properly timed it could also cause damage to the functions, wear on the lock, and replacement of the cylinder.  

If My Lock is Timed Correctly, Will it Ever Go Out of Time?

No, the lock, if installed and timed correctly, should never go out of time.


A few examples of lock functions that need to be timed are classroom locks, communicating locks, and storeroom locks. However, there are additional lock functions that require timing.  Not all timing scenarios are the same; different instructions may be needed based on lock function, manufacturer, or cylinder type (non-IC cored verses IC-cores).  A few examples of different locks and their timing instructions include Hager Cylindrical LocksSargent 10 Line Cylindrical Locks, and Schlage ND-Series Cylindrical Locks.

Timing a lock is not as difficult as it may sound, and with proper instructions, anyone can do. If you have questions, LaForce can help answer all your questions about timing a lock based on the specific lock you have. We have experts to assist you with the timing process and answer your questions, fill out our easy-to-use contact form or give us a call today!