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This just started today. I have to turn the knob in order for the latch to retract. Before, I could just push to door shut and the latch would retract when it hit the plate on the door frame. But now it just hits hard against it. Other than that, the door knob works perfect.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is going to drive me nuts because I can't think of what the proper name for this is, but your door latch probably has an extra piece (I'll call it a pin) that sticks out. When the door is open, this pin and the latch should move together if you push the latch in or turn the knob. However, when the door is closed, the door latch goes into the striker plate but the pin remains retracted. What this does is disables the spring loaded mechanism to retract the latch, preventing someone from using the credit card trick to open the door from the outside, so the only way to open the door is by unlocking it and turning the knob. In other words, it's for security.

My guess, assuming this is an external locking door, is that this pin is either jammed or some of the internal mechanisms that it activates have jammed. You can unscrew the door knob and remove both sides, then unscrew the latch and pull it out of the door. From there, try some lubricant (silicone spray and graphite powder are my preferred lubricants for locks, WD-40 will quickly dry and attract dirt). And if it still doesn't work, it's probably time to go to the store to pickup a new doorknob.

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Come to find out, some internal mechanism broke and is jamming it. My solution was to switch the latch with a door I don't use that much. –  user2555 Jun 10 '11 at 17:20

The answer provided by @BMitch is good, but here's another suggestion:

Check to see that the plate on the door frame is actually making contact with the angled part of the latch.

It's possible that due to thermal expansion or contraction of the door or frame, the plate is now striking the latch on the non-angled part causing it not to retract.

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The exact same thing happened to us last week. We called Schlage, the manufacturer, and they said that part of the internal mechanism was broken. Because they warranty the mechanism for life, they sent us a new mechanism with instructions on how to install it. It arrived just a few days later, and installing it was a simple task. Now we can just push the door shut again without having to turn the knob.

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The part you are refering to is a hardened pin designed to prevent someone from cutting the latch with a hacksaw to gain entry. It is a part of the backset mechanisim. The backset will need to be replaced. Most are lifetime guaranteed for mechanical defect, and commonly replaced by the manufacturer, or purchased at most building supply stores. I work in such a place on Vancouver Island in Canada. This is a very common problem, with a very easy remedy.

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