What is a “Sticky” Lock?

Locksmiths love it when people call them up, describing a myriad of issues with their locks as being caused by stickiness. I’ve never once found that one of these locks felt sticky to the touch. It would be a strange situation outside of maybe a maple syrup production facility or maybe an apiary or meadery.

Instead when people describe their locks as sticky they mean that it is difficult to turn a key which is miscut or a copy of a copy of a copy, or they may mean that it is difficult to throw the deadbolt because the strike plate isn’t in the right spot or the door is sagging.

I can’t fault people for not having the terminology to describe their problems. If they did then they’d just look up how to fix their problem on the internet. Still, I feel like I know how doctors feel with their patients throwing around medical terminology they saw on reddit or youtube or somewhere. Not that I am conflating locksmithing with the lofty ideals of Medicine; nobody ever made me recite an oath to be a locksmith, though maybe that ought to be a requirement.

Earlier this week the problem of throwing around misunderstood terminology cost one of my customers $150. She asked me to come out and rekey a door. To me, this means I should make a new key work in that door. She didn’t elaborate and I rekeyed the door to a new key. The original pins were casually tossed in my brass recycling box.

A few days later the woman called and demanded to know why the key provided didn’t work in the other doors it was supposed to! To her, to rekey meant that I should recreate the original key that worked in that door. I explained what rekeying was as locksmiths understood it and what recreating a key was and the difference between them and she paid me to come back out and regenerate the key from a different door and I rekeyed the first lock back to the originated key it used to work with. It all would have been cheaper and easier if this customer had told me in plain English exactly what it was that she wanted but I have certainly annoyed some other professional by casually tossing their professional lingo about.

Many times people call me up asking to rekey their vehicle because they lost their key but in this situation I know that they are probably confused about what they want and after learning what rekeying is they invariably say that they want their lost keys replaced rather than having their vehicle rekeyed. It is possible to rekey a vehicle and even a good idea if you lost your key near where you park your vehicle but it is very expensive because it’s often difficult to get the lock cylinders out, especially with older cars that have brittle plastic linkages connecting the lock cylinders to the locks themselves. These pieces of plastic snap easily! Many older American vehicles require that you remove the entire steering column to disassemble the ignition!

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Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.