How to open and fix a door latch that is jammed

Are you locked out having problems opening your door because the latch won’t retract to let the door open?

Here is how you can fix your jammed door.

First thing you can try is to try slipping a plastic card (i.e membership card) or cut a piece out of a plastic bottle. From the outside, insert this piece of plastic into your door where between the door and the frame. Hopefully that will force back the latch and door will open.



If that method fails and a handle is part of your locking mechanism, you’ll need to take off the door handle. This can be done with a screwdriver (Flat or Phillips) to remove all screws of the door handle. Ensure that the door is unlocked before doing this. Once you’ve removed the handle, you can try to manually open the latch with either a pair of needle-nose pliers or a large flathead screwdriver. You’ll be able to see where the cylinder enters the dead latch mechanism and where the latch is pulled back. On Kwikset locks this will look like two small teeth that the cylinder pressed back. You might want to spray the lock mechanism with a lubricant such as WD40.

If this is successful, you will be able to open the door. You will want to replace your latch as well. To remove the current latch, use a screwdriver to remove two screws that are in the face plate. You can purchase a new dead latch at hardware or a locksmith store and install it in the same location and screw the handle back once you’ve finished fitting the latch in.

If you’re not there yet, you will either need to call a locksmith or, if you know how to use a drill you can try one more method. You’ll need to be extremely careful to avoid damaging your door or your health. Make sure you wear protective gloves and glasses. Assuming that the latch is no longer operated by the handle, your goal will be to take out the wheel part where the handle usually goes and reach your latch out. You’ll need to take your drill and with a 8mm drill bit drill on an angle, through the handle’s hole to remove the “wheel”. After wheel is removed try to grab the latch with a screwdriver or a shaped metal stick from inside the lock and pull it towards the opposite side of the frame to unlock the door.

If you still aren’t successful, call a local locksmith.

Items you’ll need

Can of WD40
Large flat head screw driver
Some Screwdrivers Flat heads and Phillips
A new Door Latch
Needle nose pliers


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