Fixing locks that seem to have broken down or that aren't working right in your home's door isn't always as simple as you might think. You may have seen movies where someone picks a lock within seconds or may assume that you can easily fix a lock if you're a bit handy and mechanically inclined, but you might actually wind up doing more damage to the lock itself. You could also damage your home's door. Note a few of the following supposedly simple tricks for fixing locks that you actually want to avoid when you're locked out or notice a lock that is acting up.

1. Spray WD40 on sticky locks

When your key just won't turn the lock or the deadbolt any longer, you might try a quick spray of WD40 in the lock. This can clear up any dirt, dust, and other debris that is causing the lock to jam or get sticky. 

However, you don't want to put something into the lock or try to take it apart to see if you can fix it or remove any other debris. Note that locks usually work with a set of pins or tumblers that can be very delicate and which can be damaged very easily. These pins or tumblers need to line up according to the cut of the key to the lock and if you were to push one down or otherwise move it out of position, your key won't work at all. If WD40 doesn't work to keep the lock operating smoothly, call a locksmith to repair or replace the lock.

2. Force the deadbolt

If your front door's deadbolt doesn't seem to slide easily into the doorframe, you do not want to just force it or try to sand a larger hole into the doorjamb. Forcing the deadbolt can cause it to become jammed in the opening in the doorframe.

You may also be overlooking the cause of the problem, which is often the door itself hanging unevenly. The wood of the door may have expanded or contracted over the years, or your home's foundation may have actually settled so that the door doesn't hang evenly in the frame. A quick fix like sanding around the bolt slot may not address the problem long-term. Instead, it's in your best interest to have a locksmith or contractor check the door and the bolt itself for a more permanent fix.