The Key to Cylinders – Cylinder Care 101

Routine maintenance checks and repairs on door lock cylinders are important for keeping your facility secure. Here are a few things to watch for during your maintenance check.



Cylinder Maintenance Checklist:

  • Check to see if the cylinder is properly installed.
  • A correctly installed standard cylinder should be positioned so that the key has the cut edge facing up when it is inserted.
  • A correctly installed lever handled cylinder should be installed so the cut edge of the key is pointed toward the lever handle.
  • To ensure a long life for your cylinders and locks, do no use the key to pull the door open. It will cause damage to the key, pins and cylinders.
  • If you experience one of the following three symptoms, the cylinder may be worn out or installed incorrectly.
  1. The cylinder will become difficult to turn.
  2. Insertion or retraction of the key becomes difficult.
  3. When turning the key there is a catching sensation.
  • Check to ensure keys can be fully inserted into the cylinder.  If not, check to see if there is an obstruction in the keyway hole. If an obstruction is visible, try to dislodge it with a tweezers or racking tool. If this fails, you may need to have a locksmith remove the cylinder, take it apart and remove the object.
  • Check for sticking or difficult to use cylinders. These cylinders may require cleaning.

To clean a cylinder, follow these steps…

  1. A quick and easy solution is to use a spray cleaner that can be sprayed directly into the keyway hole.
  2. Do not use WD-40 or other spray lubricants – they will attract and hold dirt in the cylinder mechanism.
  3. Use a good quality spray solvent that will dry quickly.
  4. Use compressed air to blow out the solvent and any debris the solvent may dislodge.
  5. Lubricate the cylinder or lock using a lubricant specifically made for use on locks and cylinders.
  6. This may need to be repeated several times if the lock has been operational for many years without being serviced.
  7. If the lock is still difficult to operate, it may be time to have a locksmith remove the cylinder and re-pin it or replace the pins and springs that may just be worn past their useful life.

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