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door dead latch
door dead latch  
QUESTION: Hi James:  I have a door knob on the door from garage leading to the backyard that is jammed. I removed the knobs from both the inside and outside.  What's left is the dead latch (picture attached) and it's clearly jammed. i've tried to forcefully push the dead latch sideways using phillips and WD40 but was unsuccessful. I've tried to remove the entire door by undoing the hinges but there is sufficient space to move the door out of its frame. I've also sliding a bendable ruler into the door bolt area but the bolt seems fixed. Someone suggested I saw the bolt but this seems improbable given how thick the metal material is. Please advise

ANSWER: Hello Tri,

I generally get a hammer and cold chisel at this point and destroy the latch via the large hole in the door.  It may damage the door if you aren't careful so take your time but it will come apart.  Once it does you can manually retract the latch with pliers or a screwdriver to open the door.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you again James for your suggestion. Two follow up questions. (1) is there anything in particular you'd recommend when using the cold chisel so as to not damage the door? (2) I noticed that when I tried moving the latch at the section closest to the bolt, it wouldn't move; this suggests that perhaps the bolt may not move even if I chisel down the bulk of the dead latch.

The cold chisel will allow you to destroy the mechanism. Once that is out of the way the latch should be simple to remove.

Just don't chisel to the point where the chisel goes onto the door and you should be fine. I usually use a small flat one along with some pliers to twist and pull the parts out.



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I do not answer Safe or automotive questions. Period. I am knowledgeable in almost every area of Locksmithing. This includes locks, keys, lost keys, residential and commercial lockouts, rekeying, masterkeying, high security locks, access control, electric locks, security cameras and home safety. I have been running an online business since 2004 where I sell all types of lock and security hardware to everyone from apartment renters to business owners to the US government. Before that I started a locksmith service in 1999. I deal with many types of security equipment including high security safe locks, heavy duty padlocks, exit devices, biometric readers, electric strikes, magnetic locks, full surface hinges and I only sell what I personally stand behind 100%. The online business has given me a more in-depth look at the locksmithing industry, helping me to learn more about each and every product that I offer, as well as products I don't have but end up finding for customers to solve any issues they have with security or door hardware.

Please don't submit any automotive or safe questions as these aren't areas that I can help in.


I have been Locksmithing since 1999 and own my own Locksmithing business. I have many years of hands-on experience through the many services I have performed for my customers. I've run my business the way I wanted, treating everyone as I would like to be treated and knowing that any customer could be my last if I didn't perform my locksmithing duties as I had promised.

I have a diploma in Masterkeying, Advanced Locksmithing & Locksmithing from Foley-Belsaw.

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