Interior laundry room door leading into garage. Keyed door lock will NOT retract no matter what I do. Can't take door off hinges b/c middle hinge is one of those spring loaded kind that doesn't have a pin. Stopped by a locksmith this morning who said for $125 he would come out and take a Dremel to cut the back side off the cylinder that holds the latch bolt. this would allow him to retract the latch bolt, open the door, then solve the problem that he thinks has something to do with the strike plate. I didn't follow his explanation totally as he spoke fast and didn't want me to just do it myself. But that is what I want to do and save $125. Or bust the lock (without messing up the door) and just install a new lock for $50 or so. Can anyone suggest how I do either? Note: however if I have him out he could fix a problem with another lock I have. :)

I also can't figure out why I can't pull off the other side of the door knob. Anyone tell me what is holding it on?

Pic below.

Thanks for any suggestions.enter image description here

  • 2
    There isn't enough information here for people to understand what is going on that is preventing the lock from working.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 6:22
  • You can't rotate the actuator shaft, or it spins freely?
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 13:32
  • Is the door sagging away from the top hinge? Put a prybar under the strike side of the door, lift it up and see if that frees the latch.
    – User95050
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Some modern inexpensive locks have an Allen screw holding the handle to the shaft. You would think that the Allen screw would be only on one side of the lock, the "inside", but in our locks it is on both sides, but the "inside" is what will give you access to the innards of the lock to release it. Loosen this Allen screw to release the handle or knob, then pry off the bezel to expose the innards of the lock.

On our Kwitset locks these Allen screws are loosened by turning CCW as you would expect, but the screws themselves are "left-handed". When the screws are turned CCW they screw into the shaft to clear the handle it and release it.

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