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How to Fix an Exterior Door Lock That Has Shifted

Your exterior door lock sets get a lot of wear over time. Eventually the door lock becomes loose and begins to shift from side to side. This is due to the mounting screws that may or may not be visible. The mounting screws secure the outside and inside portion of the door lock together. Fixing an exterior door lock that has shifted might require some disassembly of the lock if the screws are not visible.

  1. Find the screws on the inside door handle that secure the lock set to the door. Most exterior doors have the screws visible on the inside mounting plate. Shift the door lock back into position, and tighten the screws with a Phillips-head screwdriver. You can see where the door lock shifted on the door because of the ring left on the door by the lock set mounting plate.

  2. Locate the small slot or hole on the neck of the inner door lock if the securing screws are not visible. Stick a large straightened paper clip into the hole if your door lock has a hole on the neck. If you have a slot, insert a small flat-head screwdriver into the slot.

  3. Press inward with the screwdriver or paper clip while pulling the inner door lock handle away from the door. Find the small notch between the decorative mounting plate and the door. Insert the flat-head screwdriver into the notch, and pry the plate off the mounting plate and away from the door.

  4. Tighten the loose screws on the mounting plate with the Phillips-head screwdriver. Push the mounting plate over the inner door lock stem, and over the mounting plate until it locks into position. Push the inner door lock knob over the stem. Continue pushing until the locking pin in the neck secures the handle.

About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.