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How to Fix a Loose Door Knob or Handle

Loose doorknobs or handles are something all homeowners and businesses have to deal with at some point in time. Whether the handle pulls away from the door or jiggles when trying to open it, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a nuisance for your employees or customers.

The good news is that fixing a loose doorknob, or one that has completely fallen off, is not too difficult.

Key Takeaways

  1. To tighten a loose door knob, use a screwdriver and twist the screws on both sides of the knob base clockwise.
  2. A loose door handle lowers your security level and makes you more prone to break-ins.
  3. Get your security system assessed by Great Valley Lockshop and upgrade your door knobs to the latest models.

How to Tighten Door Knobs or Handles?

Tightening loose door knobs and handles is usually done because of loose screws. Fortunately, fixing a loose handle or knob is not hard and can be done by following four simple steps once you have determined the types of door knob or handle you have.

Loose door handles and knobs can compromise your property’s security. As such, make sure to tighten them as soon as possible and correctly.

Here are four simple general steps to tighten a loose door knob:

1. Remove the Knob or Handle

Exposed screws
If exposed screws are being used, you will have to find the set screw, which is normally found on the inside of the door. Using either a screwdriver or Allen key, loosen the set screw and remove the handle, which will uncover the shaft. If it is a threaded shaft, you will have to twist the shaft’s handle to make it flush with the door. Provide a little space for the knob to spin correctly by backing it up a bit. Then tighten up the set screw. For an unthreaded shaft, you can easily set the knob or handle back on the shaft and up to the door face before you tighten the set screw down.

Hidden Screws
To display the hidden screws, you will have to determine where the detent access hole is when looking at the knob. The detent is a pin that is spring-activated and sticks out of the little hole in the knob, preventing it from rotating. When you locate the pin, use a flathead screwdriver, press down on the pin, and from the spindle shaft, remove the handle.

2. Remove the Base

After you have separated the doorknob from the spindle shaft, remove the base. Carefully pry the ring loose slowly using a flathead screwdriver and avoid damaging the backing plate since it could be destructive to the whole lockset.

3. Find the Screws and Tighten

After you have removed the ring successfully, you should be able to see the set of screws. They run through the door from the inside backing plate into the outside backing plate, which holds the whole assembly together. Holding the outside backing plate to keep it from moving, tighten each screw separately.

4. Restore the Base and Put the Handle Back On

Snap the ring back on the backing plate. You can now put the handle back over the spindle shaft. Once completely on the spindle shaft, turn the handle to line the holes up with the detent and click into place.

Watch this informative video on how to tighten a loose doorknob.

Door Knob Keeps Falling Off. Signs That You Need to Get a Door Knob Repair

If your door knob fell off or if you have a broken door knob, then you obviously need to get it repaired or replaced. However, some other signs may indicate a faulty door knob – a situation you should pay attention to.

Faulty door knobs or handles can compromise your security. Spot a faulty door knob and get it fixed with these clear signs:

  1. The knob is wobbly or loose.
  2. The knob is difficult to turn.
  3. There are grinding noises, which could indicate being worn out.
  4. Visible damages, such as dents or signs of tampering.
  5. When the whole knob system has difficulty latching into the door.
  6. There is difficulty in locking and unlocking the knob.
  7. Inserting and turning the key is difficult to do.
  8. When you notice a missing screw.
  9. When the door frequently gets jammed.
  10. Age of the door knob.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to contact your local locksmith and have your door hardware replaced. A well-functioning door knob secures your property from any ill-intentioned individuals.

Contact Great Valley Lockshop today and get your security system fixed right away!

Why Is My Door Knob Loose?

There are many reasons why a doorknob or door handle becomes loose. Constant use may eventually wear down your door knob and cause screws to loosen or damage any hardware.

Here are some reasons door knobs or door handles become loose:

  • It may have been improperly installed.
  • It becomes wobbly or loose over time and needs to be adjusted and made tight again.
  • It is aged and subjected to the buildup of dirt, dust, and other pollutants that hinder the operation of the handle or lock.
  • It has a loose or missing screw in the door plate.
  • The door handle’s locking mechanism might be malfunctioning.
  • The door handle was subjected to excessive force.

Addressing these issues typically involves tightening or replacing screws, realigning components, lubricating moving parts, or replacing worn-out or damaged internal components. Regular maintenance and inspection can help prevent door knobs from becoming loose and ensure smooth operation.

Popular Types of Door Knobs

Fixing the doorknob or handle will depend on its design and how it’s secured to the door and spindle.

Exposed Set-Screw DoorknobExposed Screw Door Knob

Using exposed set screws to secure the handle to a threaded spindle is the most common and oldest way of attaching the doorknob. Older buildings usually have this type of doorknob as well as newer door hardware. It’s fairly easy to tighten up a loose doorknob that has exposed set screws. You are able to see how the knob is secured to the spindle and how the entire assembly secures the door.

Hidden Screw Door KnobHidden Screw Doorknob

The hidden screw doorknob is a newer screwless fastening method. It involves securing the knob to the spindle and attaching the assembly to the door using hidden screws. A device referred to as a detent is used in screwless doorknobs for attaching the doorknob to an unthreaded spindle. The screws are hidden and located underneath a cosmetic face plate.

Diagram showing the parts of an interior door knob lock.
Diagram showing the parts of an interior door knob lock, including the knob, rose, bolt, latch assembly, shank, and lock button. 

How to Tighten a Door Knob With No Visible Screws?

To tighten a loose door handle with no visible screws, you first need to locate the set screw. These screws are often enclosed in the handle post or base.

For more specific instructions, follow these steps:

  1. Look for a small hole or slot on the shank of the knob, usually located near the base or underneath.
  2. Insert a fitting screwdriver into the slot to expose the screws.
  3. Once you’ve located the screws, tighten them by turning them clockwise.
  4. Test the tightness of the doorknob before reassembling the knob base. Consider lubricating the knob.
  5. Place the door knob base or plate back and ensure that it clicks or fits snugly.

How to Fix a Privacy Door Knob That Won’t Lock?

In most cases, a door knob that won’t lock tells you that it’s time to change the door knob. However, you can inspect the knob first before ultimately deciding whether to replace it or not.

Follow these steps:

  1. Check alignment. Ensure the latch bolt and strike plate are aligned properly by adjusting the strike plate with a screwdriver if needed.
  2. Inspect the latch mechanism. Remove the door knob cover and check for debris or obstructions in the latch mechanism. Clean and lubricate it if necessary.
  3. Check door knob components. Look for any damaged or worn-out components inside the door knob. Replace any faulty parts.
  4. Adjust the privacy lock. If possible, adjust the tension on the privacy lock mechanism using screws or buttons.

If all else fails, consider replacing the privacy door knob with a new one. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Fixing a Loose Door Knob shouldn’t be a Problem! Ensure Your Security with the Help of Great Valley Lockshop

Homeowners should never disregard a loose door knob or handle. This situation lowers your security status and makes you more vulnerable to burglaries. Not to mention that a wobbly door knob is a total nuisance.

If you find the handle or doorknob is still loose or continues to fall off even after following our guide, it might be time to call us here at Great Valley Lockshop. Let our expert locksmiths do the repairs for you in no time.

Call (484) 324-2986, email [email protected], or fill out our contact form. We’ve been helping Chester County businesses and homeowners with their locksmith needs since 1973, and we can help you, too!



How to tighten the screws on the doorknob?

Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws on the base of the knob until they’re snug, being careful not to over-tighten and strip the screw threads. Reref to the steps detailed above.

How to put a door knob back together?

Reassemble the components by aligning the spindle with the latch mechanism inside the knob, then secure the cover plate over the assembly using the screws provided. Ensure that all screws and hardware properly align to prevent the doorknob from malfunctioning.

How to fix a door handle that fell off?

To fix a door knob that fell off, reattach the handle by inserting the spindle through the latch mechanism and aligning the handle with the screw holes on both sides of the door, then tighten the screws securely to hold it in place.

How do you tighten the door handle?

Use a screwdriver and turn the screw heads clockwise on both sides of the handle. Do not overtighten the screws, as this can damage your door.

How to fix a loose lever door handle?

Tighten the screws on the base of the handle using a screwdriver until they’re snug, ensuring that both sides of the handle are securely attached to the door and the wobbling is minimized. If this does not help, contact a professional locksmith and get your knob reassessed if it needs to be replaced.

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