Nothing compares to the feeling. It's terrifying when you’re locked out of your home, especially if the door latch malfunctions. But with a little bag of tricks, you can remove a stuck latch and get away with it easily.
This guide will take you through some common door problems and some tips to remove a jammed door latch quickly. We’ll also review the ideal knife you can use to resolve this stressful problem. Follow our advice, and you’ll have it fixed in no time.
The Problem: What Triggers a Stuck Door Latch?
It’s very hard to deal with unexpected circumstances like being locked out of your house. Not only is it tough to fix, but it's also a real pain to have to wait for someone to come and help you. But what causes a door latch to become stuck in the first place? Several factors could be blamed.
- The strike plate may be misaligned: This is the metal plate to wherein the latch is attached. The door latch won’t be able to engage properly if it’s not aligned.
- Screws are loose: A stuck door latch happens if the screws aren't maintained for a long time and need to be tightened.
- It comes with grime and dirt: Specks of dust and other particles collect around the latch over time, causing difficulties in its movement.
- Humidity strikes: Moisture can be another root. It corrodes or rusts the latch from the humidity or condensation, making it even harder to open.
- The strike plate became elongated: It keeps the latch from sitting flush against it. Thus, the door will never be truly opened, no matter how hard you try to force it.
The Troubleshooting: Keeping Up With a Frozen Door Latch
You give the door a push, but it still doesn't budge. It looks like you'll be outside your home for a little more time. But there's no need to call a professional if you're dealing with a stuck door latch. Instead, we can help you get it moving again with a few simple techniques.
- Jiggle the handle: Sometimes, it takes a little wiggle to loosen the latch and get it moving again.
- Use a small piece of cardboard or a plastic credit card: You can use either one to slip between the door and the frame. Either item can help break the seal holding the latch in place.
- Lubricate the latch: A WD-40 or another form of lubricant is helpful to slick up the latch. All you need is to spray a bit on it and try opening the door again.
- Use a dental pick or paperclip: These items can help push the latch from the inside.
If All Else Fails: The Pocket Knife as Your Last Resort
While a pocket knife may appear to be an unexpected tool for repairing a stuck door latch, it can be very useful for the job. Here's why:
- It can pry open and put the lock back in place with the sharp blade.
- It can remove any screws or nails that keep the door from opening.
- If the door latch is stuck due to a paint buildup, you can use the thin and sharp blade to remove the paint from the mechanism.
- This handy knife can sand down any rough edges.
- It can remove the strike plate's screws and slide the plate into place.
The Best Pocket Knife: The Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Fieldmaster
There are a lot of pocket knives on the market these days. But if you're looking for the best, you can't go wrong with the Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Fieldmaster. This rescue knife works more than just slicing a bag of chips.
Let's look at some of its impressive features that can guide you in resolving a stuck door latch.
First, here’s a sneak peek at the fundamental specifications of the Victorinox Swiss Army pocket knife to help you visualize its exterior components.
|Product Name: Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Fieldmaster|
|Number of Functions||15|
The Cool Attachments of the Fieldmaster for a Stuck Door Latch
- Phillips Screwdriver: This versatile tool comes with a Phillips screwdriver that you can use to loosen the screws on the door latch. Insert the screwdriver in the screw holes and turn it until they are loose. The door latch should easily come off once the screws are removed.
- Large and Small Blades: If it doesn't come right off, the serrated edge of the Swiss Army pocket knife can quickly cut through any material blocking the latch. The strong blade can easily pry open the latch if necessary.
- Wood Saw: Even though most door knobs are metal, the pocket knife's wood saw is ideal for destroying the latch frame attached to the wall.
- Toothpick: In addition to cleaning out those hard-to-reach places, you can use the toothpick on the Fieldmaster knife to help open a stuck door latch. Simply stick the toothpick into the latch's hole and wriggle it around until the lock pops open.
Other Highlights of Victorinox Fieldmaster Pocket Knife
The Swiss Army Multi-Tool pocket knife brings relevant features to manage to get anything done. Check these out:
- Adventure-Ready: This smart tool was designed for those who like to be prepared for anything life throws their way, whether it's an impromptu camping trip or an unexpected home repair. It packs a powerful punch with 15 different functions:
- Large blade
- Small blade
- Phillips screwdriver
- Can opener
- Small screwdriver
- Bottle opener
- Large screwdriver
- Wire stripper
- Multi-purpose hook (parcel carrier)
- Key ring
- Wood saw
- Durable Construction: This nifty item is built to last with durable stainless steel that can take a beating.
- Compact: This compact little tool has everything you need to tackle any situation, which is very important in worst-case scenarios like trapped rooms.
- Corrosion Resistance: The blade's corrosion resistance is impressive. Most knives will show signs of rust within a few weeks, but the Fieldmaster's blade has been designed to withstand even the most extreme conditions.
The Lowlights of Victorinox Fieldmaster Pocket Knife
Unfortunately, this pocket knife also falls short in a few areas. First, accessing some of the tools can be a pain. The small blade, for example, is located at the bottom of the tool and requires you to open up the whole thing to get to them. This is not ideal in a circumstance where you need to use them quickly.
You'll also notice right away that several tools are quite hefty to lift. That’s because they're hidden away in the handle, so it’s a little tricky to grip them. Nonetheless, it's not a big deal when you've gotten used to it.
The Maintenance of the Swiss Army Fieldmaster Pocket Knife
Like any tool, you must properly maintain a pocket knife to function at its best. So here are a few tips on how to take care of your Fieldmaster:
- Don't overtighten the screws: Be careful not to overtighten the screws that hold the knife pieces together. These screws are designed to be properly snug. Tightening them might strip the threads excessively, making them harder to remove afterward.
- Store your pocket knife: Don’t keep it out in the open, where it can be damaged or lost. In this case, stowing it away in a drawer or cabinet will suffice to prevent steel corrosion.
- Keep the blade lubricated: A dry blade is more likely to break or damage during use. Use light oil on the blade periodically to keep it well-lubricated.
- Don't let the blade get dull: A sharp blade is safe, so it's important to keep yours in good condition. You can use a sharpening stone as your pocket knife sharpener or take it to a professional bladesmith for sharpening.
- Always keep the blade clean: Wipe down the blade after using it with a clean cloth or alcohol swab to prevent it from becoming less effective and more dangerous.
- Be careful not to lose any of the small parts: The Fieldmaster is made up of many tiny parts that work together to make it function properly. If one of these parts is lost, the entire knife is useless.
Following these simple instructions ensures that your Swiss pocket knife will be there for you when you need it most.
Door latches are inconvenient when they stick and won't budge. But before reaching for the sledgehammer, try some of the tips mentioned above to fix your stuck door latch.
If all else fails, pull out the best pocket knife for the job: the Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Fieldmaster. This small folding knife has all the features you need to unjam the door latch. It’s also easy to care for, so you'll be able to keep it sharp and ready for action when those pesky latches give you trouble again.
Need more help in the quest for the right knife? Read our buying guides and learn more about the best pocket knives and other helpful tools.