The Anatomy of Door Locks

October 31, 2019

When you think of locks, traditional door locks are probably what comes to mind. These locks have a keyhole and a manual latch. This description makes door locks seem simple and plain, but they are actually much more complex than what meets the eye. A little research to better understand how each part works can help you fix lock problems on your own and reduce calls to your local emergency locksmith in Houston, TX. Below is an overview of the parts of a door lock and how they work.

Traditional and electronic locks

Many homes, apartments, schools, libraries, small commercial buildings and other similar spaces still use traditional key-and-doorknob locks for both interior and exterior doors. Traditional locks, also known as mechanical locks, while still popular today, are not the only type of lock available. Homeowners and business owners can also choose from different types of electronic locks, many of which are widely available and affordable. These types of locks use electricity and small motorized components instead of the parts found inside traditional locks.

Recently, lock manufacturers have taken to incorporating smart technology into their electronic locks. Smartphone use or voice control are more advanced ways of opening a door that omit the need for a key.

The anatomy of a lock

Although electronic locks are technologically advanced, it may surprise you to learn that the anatomy of mechanical locks and electronic locks are remarkably similar. Traditional doorknobs have keyholes and manual latches, while electronic door locks have external scanners and keypads. Inside, parts are composed of an organized network of locking mechanisms.

The shape and style of the external components will vary depending on the type of knob and the method you use to lock or unlock the door (traditional metal key, key card, fingerprint). The internal components of any lock will always involve a deadbolt or spring latch secured with a box and strike plate. Both latches or bolts are extended and retracted by the mechanisms in the body of the lock:

  • Lock body: The lock body, or lock cylinder, is the core of a lock. A key or electronic command is used to lock or unlock bolts or latches. A traditional lock body uses a series of spring-loaded pins, each unique to match the lock body to the grooves of the door key. Electronic locks may not use keys—instead, a code or wireless signal to lock and unlock is required.
  • Bolt or latch: This part is connected to and controlled by the lock body. It holds the door in place when it’s locked and releases it to swing open. A deadbolt is a piece of metal that extends when turned, while a spring latch uses a spring clip to automatically lock a door whenever it closes.
  • Boxes and strike plates: These parts are on the inside of the door frame, where the bolt or latch goes to keep the door secure and shut. The door cannot be easily opened once the lock is in place.

If you ever find yourself in need of an emergency locksmith in Houston, TX, call Express Locksmith!

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