How to Fix a Schlage Door Bolt/Latch That Won’t Retract

by Michael on September 30, 2012 · 7 comments

Today I discovered that the latch on the door from our house into the garage wouldn’t retract (spring back) when it hit the strike plate. When I swung it shut, the latch banged off the strike plate. Thus, I had to turn the knob to close the door.


Bummer. The door locks and handlesets in our house are all Schlage, and they’re not particularly cheap. Thus, I wasn’t crazy about the prospect of buying a new one.

I started by removing the two screws from the flange under the inside knob. This allowed me to pull the two knobs apart and expose the latch mechanism inside.

I then removed the two screws from the plate surrounding the latch (on the edge of the door) which allowed me to pull the latch out. After playing with it for awhile, soaking it down with WD-40, etc. but I couldn’t get it to work.

Frustrated, I headed to the hardware store.

Fortunately, I found that you can buy new latch mechanisms for Schlage (and Kwikset, etc.) handlesets. Thus, I was able to pick up the necessary part for around ten bucks.

The part in question was a “Schlage Triple Option Deadlatch.”

The only (minor) issue was that the plate around the replacement latch bolt was brass and our handlesets are brushed nickel. But much to my relief, you can pop the plates off (with a flathead screwdriver) and switch them around.

I would’ve augmented this post with pictures (as I’ve done for other repairs in the past) but the entire process was so easy that I was able to complete the job in less time than it would take to snap some photos and post them.

The hardest part was driving to the store to buy the new latch.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry October 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I had exactly the same problem. I tried exactly the same steps you tried — took it apart, sprayed with WD-40 — and it didn’t work. Schlage offers lifetime warranty. I called their 800 number. They sent me a new latch. Saved $13.

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Michael October 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

Doh! I didn’t even think to call for a free part. Oh well, I was able to fix it right away instead of waiting around for the replacement part. I guess that’s worth something…

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Taylor July 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for the tip. I bought it through your link, 2 cents well earned. 🙂

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alex July 26, 2014 at 5:08 pm

not a fix it story. replacement story. damnit.

but… i did learn my lockset had a warranty. so yay!!!

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Axter March 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Thank you for saving me the cost of buying new schlage latches. Called the toll-free # and they are sending replacements. Bravo!

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Chris January 15, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Wanted to thank you as well. It’s 2018, and this is still great advice!

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JJ July 3, 2018 at 10:00 am

Thank you for this. We also had the exact same problem, and also called Schlage, and they are sending a replacement latch for our keyed exterior door set, no charge (they said to arrive in up to two weeks).

Given that it is now 2018 and your post was written in 2012, one has to wonder why Schlage has not fixed the flaw in their door latches (ours broke after only about 7 months of normal use). Yours is not the only post on the Internet about this problem. There are many.

We bought the Schlage in late 2017 to replace a Kwikset that failed in a worse way (in about the same time).

When the Kwikset failed the door could not be opened. I was locked in a shed with only one door, without a screwdriver to remove the handset, and had to wait until my wife came home so she could pass a screwdriver through a small window so I could remove the door knob and free myself.

So, Schlage wins, due to the better failure mode of its defective products.

I remember entire homes of door sets working for decades without failure. Looks like those days are gone.

To my mind these companies both represent the decline in quality of American brands. Sad.

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