When you have a problem with your door, the knob or handle and especially your lock, chances are you call a locksmith to take care of the problem for you. After all, a device that you trust to secure your home and family is something worth calling an expert for repairs! However, no matter who you are, it makes sense to learn more about this crucial part of your home. While each type of door and lock is built differently, the parts detailed below are common to many of the locks you will encounter at home or in light commercial settings.
Cylinder (Lock Body)
The cylinder, or lock body, of the door is the part of the door lock where you insert the key. In most cases, the door will not open until the correct key is inserted. The cylinder works to do this using a series of spring-loaded pins. These pins, when engaged, keep the cylinder from turning. When you insert a key, the uneven edge pushes the pins upward in certain amounts. If you insert the correct key, the pins move into place, which “opens” the cylinder, allowing the bolt to move, and you to open the door.
Bolt or Latch
The lock engages a bolt inside the door. This piece of metal extends from the door into the frame and holds it closed. There are two main styles of latch or bolt—a spring bolt and a dead bolt.
- Spring Bolt – A spring bolt is a bolt held in place by a spring clip. The spring is compressed to unlock the bolt, and when it is released, it snaps into a locked position. This type of door generally locks automatically when closed.
- Dead Bolt – A dead bolt does not have the spring loading mechanism. It can be locked or unlocked at any time using a key or with a knob on one side of the door or the other. Dead bolts are generally considered as the more secure choice between the two types of bolts.
Strike Plate and Box
The metal plate, which attaches to the frame of the door, is the strike plate. The purpose of the strike plate is to guide the bolt from the cylinder into the box, of the frame and give added reinforcement to the mechanism. The bolt extends from the cylinder into a small square shaped hole—this is the “box”. It is designed to hold the bolt securely in the doorframe when the lock is engaged.
Electric locks are becoming more common today than ever before—the design is much different from the details above. In fact, you will often see that these locks have a completely different setup altogether. You will generally need to contact a locksmith for assistance with any type of electric-based lock.
One you understand the different parts that work together to help your door handle and lock work, you may be able to take care of the smallest problems yourself. Moreover, it is always a comforting feeling to know how the things around your home operate. If you have a non-traditional door and lock or you want to learn more about your particular model, you can usually find information online. Check the manufacturer’s website or conduct a quick Google search for your door handle’s part number and you may be able to find the instruction manual or more information that way.
Even if you know the basics, when something serious goes wrong with your door or lock, you want to call an expert. Reach out to the team at Great Valley Lockshop in Malvern, PA. We work with customers in the Philadelphia area and surrounding communities. Since 1973, we have provided the best service possible including: 24-hour locksmith services, electronic access control and security lock installation, custom master key design, lock rekeying, commercial security lock repair, maintenance and installation, deadbolt installation, lock changing, emergency lockout rescue, safe installation and more.