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I'm having trouble with the doorknob on the door that goes from inside my house to the attached garage. I installed a new doorknob (Kwikset brand, exterior) a while ago. It works perfectly if the door is closed gently. But, the door has self-closing hinges, and it tends to slam shut. When it closes too hard, the doorknob sticks and is very hard to turn. My wife and kids sometimes can't open it. I was able to help a bit by adjusting the striker plate, but it's still an issue. (I'm using the striker plate that came with the doorknob.) What should I try next?

Removing the self-closing hinges isn't a good option. I asked a local builder and learned that they're required by code.

Update: I neglected to mention that the house came with some weather stripping all around this door frame. It gets compressed between the door and the frame. I tried to find the right balance in the striker plate position so that I don't have to slam the door to get it to stay closed.

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It could be that the small half cylinder on the bolt is getting into the hole in the striker plate and jamming. This would mean that the striker plate is set too far out in the jamb.

It will be a pain to relocate the striker plate in a little, but you might have to do it. To test this, examine the movement of the small half cylinder as you close the door. You could use a felt marker to put a mark on the end of the half cylinder. The mark should stay visible as the bolt goes into the striker plate.

You could place a thin shim in the doorstop opposite the lock or two shims one above and one below and see if this stops the jamming when you close the door hard. If this stops the jamming you could just leave them in and use it that way

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If, due to the peculiarities of your door, you can't get the striker plate adjusted, you might consider going to a non-locking handle. The non-locking handles have a plastic bearing strip on the side of the bolt so that jamming would not be possible. You would then install a dead bolt lock requiring a key on the garage side.

One problem with the locking door handle on an exterior door is that it is easy to get locked out. After one or two episodes over 20 years we changed to a non-locking door handle and a deadbolt lock (which requires a key for locking) on both the front door and the door into the garage. Some neighbors have given us a key to their house and have had numerous lockouts (front door or rear French doors) in which they come to us for the key. Another neighbor also gave us a key for the same reason.

EDIT

Another possibility is to replace all or part of the weather stripping with some which is stiffer than the present one so that the door is stopped before it goes in far enough to allow the small bolt to enter the striker hole.

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  • I'll try fiddling with the striker plate some more. I don't want to move it too much, or else we'll have to slam the door to compress the weather stripping enough for it to latch closed.
    – mrog
    Sep 21, 2018 at 18:42
  • What are your observations on the movement of the small half cylinder as you gently close the door? Then as you push on the door does the half cylinder move into the hole in the striker plate? This might not be the problem at all. It might be the main bolt is hanging up in the hole in the striker plate or on the striker plate. Is there clearance on the top and the bottom of the striker plate and the wood behind? Sep 21, 2018 at 18:57
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    you could test by shimming the door to be a bit thicker by taping a few layers of card to the front edge. - if this helps the striker needs to be moved in.
    – Jasen
    Sep 22, 2018 at 7:02
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    @JimStewart I checked as you suggested. When the doorknob gets stuck, the half cylinder does indeed move into the hole in the striker plate. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of room to adjust the plate. It's already to the point where I sometimes have to press on the door a bit (compressing the weather stripping) to make it latch closed. But if I press too hard (compressing the weather stripping more), it gets stuck.
    – mrog
    Sep 26, 2018 at 16:40
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    @JimStewart I tried using a screwdriver to bend the tab in the striker plate as you suggested. It worked like magic. Thank you very much!
    – mrog
    Oct 2, 2018 at 16:20

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