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August 23, 2018

Post Revisited - How To Repair Door Closers

This post originally appeared in May 2009. It has become one of the most widely viewed posts on our website.

Repairing door closers is not too difficult, even if you are only slightly mechanically inclined.

Blogging often involves many labor intense hours of writing and researching, especially if you are composing your own original works.

I try to acknowledge the source of my reference in most if not all articles written here.

This next post is actually by well respected Author and Locksmith Tom Rubenoff and the source of this article is from Hubpages.

Door Closers

This article is primarily about surface mounted door closers, but the ideas herein can be applied to other kinds of door closers as well.
Door closer adjustment is an art that requires knowledge, patience, and an ability to climb up and down a ladder several times, but with these attributes and the appropriate wrench, hex key or screwdriver, you can do it yourself.
Most of the adjustments are implemented through the opening or closing of hydraulic valves. When it comes to turning the screws that operate these valves, a little goes a long way. A turn of 5 degrees can significantly increase or decrease closing speed.
Also, hydraulic fluid will leak out of the closer and make a mess. This will make you unpopular.

A door closer is a mechanical device designed to close a door slowly, but firmly enough to latch. It accomplishes this by using spring tension modulated by hydraulic fluid. As the user opens the door, hydraulic fluid passes from one reservoir to another, and as the spring pushes the door closed again, the hydraulic fluid passes back to the previous reservoir through a series of valves that control the speed.
The illustration at right shows the effects of the common hydraulic adjustment controls available on most commercial grade door closers. Controls for swing speed and latching speed control how fast the door closes, and many closers also feature a hydraulic control for back check that controls the last few inches of the opening the door so as to prevent the door from being slammed into an adjacent wall.
  • Swing speed adjustment controls how fast the door closes from fully open to within about 5 degrees of closed
  • Latching speed adjustment controls how fast the door closes for those last few inches
  • Back check adjustment controls the amount of resistance to opening the door past a selectable point
The illustration below shows the various hydraulic control valves. These might be located in many configurations, but you will usually see the back check control located somewhat away from the latch speed and swing speed controls.
There are also door closers equipped with an additonal valve for Delayed Action. Delayed action closers hold the door open for a longer period of time to allow persons with disabilities more time to get through the door.

Also notice the Spring Tension Adjustment in the illustration above. Spring tension controls the "size" of a closer. The term is misleading, because it does not actually have anything to do with the physical dimensions of the closer. Size is determined by the width of a door. "Sized" closers, that is, closers that have a factory pre-determined spring tension for a particular door width, have no spring tension adjustment. Many door closers today are "non-sized", indicating that spring tension can be field adjusted to fit the size of the door.
It is tempting to use the spring tension adjustment to solve problems, for example, in positive pressure situations where air flow is preventing the door from closing properly. However, the tighter you make the spring, the harder it will be to open the door. It is possible to tighten the spring tension to the point that some people will not be able to open the door.

Adjusting the Door Closer

To adjust the door closer, bring a step ladder tall enough so that you can easily reach the door closer from the second or third highest step. Climb the ladder and examine the closer. If you can't see adjustment screws, chances are the closer has a cover. Usually the cover is plastic, but it could also be metal. If you see no fasteners holding the cover on, that means the cover is held on by tension. Pull it off. If you do see fasteners, usually you can loosen, but not remove, the fasteners and the cover will slide off.
If you find that there is oil in the cover or oil on or leaking from the closer body, you can stop right now. You need a new door closer. If, however, it is not leaking, you can proceed.
Now that you have the cover off, you should be able to see the adjustment screws. If you are lucky, they will be marked on the closer body as to what they are or there will be a diagram inside the cover. If not, you may have to experiment a little to see which is which. Remember, when it comes to turning door closer adjustment screws, a little goes a long way. Start with no more than 1/8 of a turn. Turn the adjustment screw clockwise to slow the door closer down, counter-clockwise to speed it up. then get down off the ladder and observe the effect.
Open the door and watch it close. If it closes right the first time, check it 10 more times. If it closes correctly every time, you're done. If not, go back up the ladder and make another adjustment, etc., until the closer is doing what you want it to do. When it closes the way you want it to 10 times in a row, it will probably continue to do so.
Ideally a non-delayed action door closer will close and latch the door in 7 to 8 seconds.


If you expect a door closer to consistantly close the door, as a prerequisite the door must close properly. If there is a hinge problem, a warped door, or the door must swing uphill to close, a door closer will only go so far in solving the problem. Sometimes a door must be repaired before it will close and lock automatically with a door closer.
In vestibule conditions, where you have an exterior door, a small space, and then an interior door, the trapped air between the inside and outside door can be a factor. You may have to adjust both closers to get both to work correctly. Wherever air pressure is a factor, including negative or positive pressure situations, I have have gotten door closers to close and latch the door consistantly by adjusting them to a slow swing speed and a somewhat fast latch speed. The slow swing speed seems to give the air a chance to get out of the way and the fast latch speed gives it a very slight slam at the end to make sure it latches.

Trouble Shooting

  • If oil is leaking from your door closer, throw it away and buy a new one.
  • If your door closer is slamming the door and cannot be adjusted to do otherwise, either the fluid has leaked out or the valve seals are worn out. Either way, your best option is to replace it.
  • If the closer stops closing the door before it's closed all the way, or actually spings back when you try to manually shut the door, the arm is probably installed on the shaft incorrectly. Download the instructions from the door closer manufacturer's web site and see if it is installed correctly.
  • If the arm makes noise and bounces up and down while the door is in motion, tighten the fasteners that hold the arm to the closer, to the header, and at the knuckle that holds the two parts of the arm together.
  • If the door closer has no spring tension and the spring tension adustment turns round and round with no effect, the spring is broken the door closer must be replaced.

Kwikset Smartkey Problems.... (Update)

8/23/2018 UPDATE: We just updated the video above to a better video from our colleague Terry Whin-Yates.

The original post, including many comments from viewers can be found here.

The post in the link above is by far, the most popular and frequently viewed post on this website.

Came across an interesting blogpost today that has several comments by product users, all complaining about similar problems shortly after installing Kwikset Smartkey locks.

One such comment by a poster....

"Our smartkey failed this evening. We locked both deadbolt and door as we left, came home to locked out. I called kwikset and after working with them on the phone trying to wiggle the key to the 1/4 turn position to try and get it to the learn position – nothing worked. The customer support person said since we had keys duplicated using the grinding method instead of having a locksmith stamp them out the keys had made the cams in the lock out of alignment. I asked CS how we will get in if we are on the OUTSIDE wanting in and he said we would have to either find another way in or drill out the cylinder. They are sending a replacement cylinder. No thanks – I don’t want to take the chance."


"My husband just bought this and installed it yesterday. While “rekeying” to our key, it stopped working! Now both the key that came with it doesn’t open the door nor the new key. I was looking for the company’s website for troubleshooting the problem and found this! Glad we kept the receipt as this installation is not continuing! Thank you all for commenting! You are saving more people from getting ripped off with this lock!"

"What a nightmare.My baby boy moves out to his first house and buys the kwikset smartkey to assure his security.comes home one night,pouring down rain and 28 degrees outside cant get in the house the key doesnt fit the lock .He has to sleep out in the car all night long.what a nightmare.never again will a smartkey be bought especially $80.00.there needs to be a recall on the kwikset smartkey.what a let down."

"What a joke, installed YESTERDAY, worked perfectly fine until coming home today with groceries and a 6 month old, to find out our key no longer worked. Was told by customer service that this is NOT an issue and people do not have this problem (Obviously I told him to check this website, because he was wrong)

Option one, I can take the deadbolt off my front door to bring to Home Depot and have them fix the lock, which would leave my house unsecure as there would be NO lock on my door. The other option is to wait 5-7 days for a new lock from them. He said the new lock they will send me is more efficient then the one month old lock already installed and he guarantees it will not have this problem.
In the meantime, how the heck am I supposed to get in and out of my house if my lock doesn’t work?
WHAT A JOKE! Take these stupid things offffff the market"
" I received the new smart key cylinder from
Kwieset and installed it on the front door. From the get-go I had problems, only some of the existing keys worked. Bought new keys and they seemed to work better for a short time. Now they are giving me problems. I have to jiggle them inside the lock to unlock the door and even now they are giving me problems. Finally I had enough: no trust in the lock and never knew when I would be locked out again. I took the smart key cylinder out and installed the old lock, which is a non smart key. At least now I have peace of mind that it will always work. I am keeping the old smart key locks, because I know with all the problems that everybody is having, there has to be a recall and maybe I can get my money back, but I will not hold my breath. Keep complaining to Kwikset about the so called smart key. I wasn’t very smart to buy it in the first place."

Many people seem to think that locksmith services are too expensive. In fact locksmith services are often cheaper than purchasing the DIY products from the big box hardware stores, because locksmiths have taken the time and training to master their product lines. Installation, service, maintenance all taken care of by a true technician with experience in the field.

I understand the perception that DIY is often cheaper, but realistically the locksmith (one of the oldest professions) has deliberately trained to service, advise and protect consumers from the poor advice and suggestions often received at the big box stores from untrained, unknowing part time sales assistants.

I regularly see both Kwikset Smartkey and Schlage Securekey products in the field. Often they are purchased by consumers at the big box hardware stores because most locksmiths refuse to stock them.
I can easily reset the tumblers for clients, often because they have lost the reset tool for the Kwikset or are simply unaware that the process is uncomplicated. The Schlage Securekey is a little more complicated process to re-key, but this is because many customers no longer have access to the blue reset key.

For the better (and often cheaper) products, visit your local locksmith today and find out the why's and how's behind purchasing suitable functional and correct locking systems and products.

Lockwood 7444 Keyed Pocket Door Lock - Inventory Dwindling

Perhaps our best selling product of the last 8 years, the Lockwood 7444 Keyed Pocket Door Lock and it's siblings, the 7410, 7400 and 7450, Privacy, Passage and Passage Latching versions continue as an in-demand and sought after offering that is easily installed and aesthetically pleasing.

The simplistic design allows for easy modification of a standard 2-3/8" (60mm) backset prep, with a standard 2-1/8" (52mm) cross bore hole.

The two connecting screws are stainless steel self-tapping screws that carve the threads in the outer casing for a solid/tight fit, requiring little to no maintenance over time.

As with any hardware product you install, natural movement of your house will effect how your doors move and lock/operate. It is important to periodically maintain your products to ensure continuous normal operations.

Take a look at the animated installation video and a marketing video that explain the products and the simple installation procedure, at our sister site locksmiths-st-louis.

Competitively priced and fast shipping ensure you receive product quickly.

Click on the picture at top left of this page to purchase and/or learn more.

August 22, 2018

Sinji - A Competitive Option To Ring

Sinji Wireless Doorbell and Camera System offers alternative to the Ring doorbell system.

This inexpensive alternative differs from Ring because it is not taking video and consuming significant storage.

We have reported about Ring products a number of times in recent years

This product is quite different in that it takes a snapshot of the door bell ringer and sends it over your home wifi system to users of an app.

Storage of pictures occupies significantly less storage than you need using the Ring product, yet offers similar security, albeit for much more competitive prices.

  • Keep tabs on who comes to your door straight from your smartphone via app
  • Easily install w/ zero wiring or professional installation required
  • Monitor visitors at all hours w/ night vision support
  • Anti-theft device alerts you if the doorbell is tampered with
  • Dimensions: 3.3"H x 2.2"L 0.5"W
  • Infrared night vision
  • Snapshot function when bell is pressed
  • Fully wireless
  • Easy-install
  • Resolution: 408 x 320
  • Transmission distance: 98'
  • Image sensor: 1/4 CMOS
  • Lens: 80°, F2.8 aperture
  • Power supply outdoor unit: 2 x AAA battery
  • Power supply indoor unit: EU plug 100V-240V AC
  • Outdoor transmission: 2.4G RF
  • Indoor transmission: RF + WiFi
  • Works with various IP camera apps, including Eye4 and EyeCloud
  • Eye4 app requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android: varies with device
  • EyeCloud app requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.4 or later
  • Outdoor unit
  • Indoor unit
  • User manual
  • Ships To Contiguous US
  • Expected Delivery: Sep 13 - Sep 16

Yale Confirms Connectivity Agreement With Comcast Xfinity Home

Yale Assure Locks with Wifi, Zigbee or Z-wave are now able to use the Xfinity Home Connectivity Service provided by leading communications provider Comcast.

Yale are well known across the globe for their longevity in the lock manufacturing industry.
their products are found in just about every country in the world.

The booming digital technology security products market continues to see massive growth and big players like Yale have not made their intentions secret. The number of products they make that already communicate with your home communications networks continues to amaze.

In such a crowded market, having a name like Yale is sure to be a game changer and finding competitive value remains a challenge. At least you can be assured that Yale continues to bring to market quality products at competitive prices, based on their 150+ years of continuous operations.


Tariffs On Chinese Steel Cause USA Based Safe Manufacturer To Close Shop And Move To Mexico

Stack-On Safes, a Chicago based manufacturer of high quality safe and storage solutions, that has been offered through locksmiths for many years, has decided to close it's two local manufacturing facilities. The closures will eliminate almost 150 local jobs and move the companies manufacturing operations to Mexico.

The decision has not come lightly for Las Vegas based parent company Alpha Guardian, who believe that the recent introduction of tariffs on Chinese metals is a large contributing factor to the decision.

The tariffs announced in June, are making local USA based metal products manufacturers at odds with the federal government, who are attempting to bring back local metal manufacturing to this country.

Unfortunately, local based metals manufacturers cannot produce the quantities of metals, at sufficient cost points, to enable companies like Stack-On to continue to be competitive in the marketplace.

 Stack-On produce some innovative and high quality safe and storage products that are recommended and demanded by swathes of local locksmith companies, sporting goods suppliers, gun clubs, among others in the wider marketplace.

Critical to their business model is the cost of raw materials, chiefly steel. The recent introduction of 25% tariffs has turned their business model from a profitable venture into a loss.

Whatever your chosen political affiliation, it is important to understand the pros and cons of tariff applications and be aware that many countries can be economically affected by ignorant policies that cause upheaval to businesses, communities, employment and consumers.


August 17, 2018

Identity Theft Continues To Be A Real Problem. How Would You Protect Yourself?

Identity theft continues to be a big problem affecting many people across a wide range of society.

You already like to protect your homes and families from unwanted intruders by installing quality (hopefully) security products and getting them installed by trained and qualified locksmith technicians.

But what do you do to better secure yourself from identity theft?

An article in Readers Digest recently appeared that discusses 26 Secrets An Identity Thief Doesnt Want You To Know.

Essentially, there are many little things you can be doing to minimize the chances that these opportunists attempt, to interrupt and destroy your peace of mind, your security, your financial security and those of your family and friends.

Being aware of these secrets might help (in some small way) to better protect you as you move forward.


Controversial Opinion In New Article Suggests Why NOT To Recommend Or Buy An Amazon Echo Smart Speaker

A new article has appeared that discusses the authors reasoning about why you should think twice before purchasing an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

A group of hackers at the recent hacker convention Defcon Security Conference in Las Vegas, presented a discussion about the ease in hacking the Amazon Echo and using it to "listen" (spy) on anyone speaking within it's vicinity.

Apparently (and reasonably), the researchers informed Amazon in advance about their findings, prior to making the presentation at the conference.

Amazon had implemented a patch for their top selling product after being informed and a spokesperson for Amazon advised that the vulnerability required physical access to the product, to enable the hack. The security patch was released in July.

Of concern, is the fact that the researchers DID NOT have physical access to the devices in question. They only had access to the LAN (Local Area Network).

The article appears in the source below.

The reason we include this article in our site, is because Amazon Echo devices and other smart speakers are increasingly being used to operate smart home product including (but not limited to) electronic door security products, deadbolts, alarm systems, cameras.

Personally, I feel that the article should have been worded differently and that authors should think hard before directly vilifying another company's product offering.


Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic) Testimonials And Sites That Recommend Us

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Danny was very professional and friendly at the same time. He not only gave me the quote and fixed the exterior door and explained his work. He was prompt and upfront about the work and did the work. He came in time took care of it on the same day. (Sasheethn K St Louis MO) June 2018d out problems but assured not urgent. Please feel free to have Danny pass out my number for my total experience review 314-351-5553

Charlie M. (St Louis, MO) November 2015

Danny was pleasure to meet and was very knowledgable. He explained several lock replacement options but I decided none of them were a good fit for a storm door, however, I did replace a lock on my entry door with a type of lock I had never seen before. I would highly recommend this company.
Patricia J (Bridgeton, MO) March 2014
They were prompt and showed up when he said he would show up. He knew his stuff. I had ordered new handles and he was honest enough to say that we don't need them that he can fix the doors and he did. Made me lock and unlock my doors to his satisfaction so that I knew what to do. Am very, very pleased with the service and cost.
Joyce K (Glencoe, MO) May 2015

Showed up on time for appointment. Was very knowledgeable about the project and offered a solution beyond what I asked to be done.
Stephen G (Chesterfield, MO) May 2015

Daniel was right on time, assessed the problems I had with two doors, made the repairs, and explained what caused the problems to begin with .... He is a "door expert" and a true professional. I highly recommend him.

Vince V (St. Louis MO) May, 2015

Danny was fabulous! He went over my concerns and he provided me with more than a fair quote. He was there when he said he was going to be there. I would highly recommend Danny. Cheers!
Denise S (Imperial, MO) May 8, 2014

Hired Danny to re-key locks on "new" house purchase. He advised to replace with new deadbolts & door knobs on 3 entry doors instead which I agreed with. All doors have 1 matching key & the safety of excellent quality product & workmanship. He also added new strike plate to door frame to complete project.. I recommend as your 1st & only call to a Locksmith.

Denise F (St. Louis, MO) April 3, 2014

Danny was very helpful in solving a pretty complex problem involving many lock.
Scott C (Eureka, MO) March 27, 2014

Needed patio door track to run smoothly. Arrived early, fixed door and explained what he was doing during repair. Quick and easy. Door works great, my wife will now speak to me, and I've become a better dancer.

Mike W. (Arnold/Oakville MO) July 2013

The owner spent a longtime with me on the phone helping diagnosis the problem. He was on-time, friendly and helped resolve my issue. I will definitely use him again!

Chris C (Lake St Louis, MO) July 2013

I had a very pleasant experience with Master Key Systems. They came out, did the job (which took longer than expected) and they did not change the price they quoted me. Now, I am not certain that it was a great value for the money because I don't have a comparison, but they did what they said, when they said, for the price they said. Enough said!!!

Antonio B (Saint Louis, Missouri) March 2013

Professional.. Upfront about charges. Fixed the sticky door within 20 minutes. I will recommend Master Key for exterior door issues.
Muthu R (Ballwin, MO) July 2012

Danny was a master craftsman, knowledgable and professional. I will be calling on him again in the future as well as passing on his services to friends and family.

Marsha L (Saint Louis, MO) July 2012

Danny was excellent! I called him on a Monday to fix a sliding glass door. He happened to have the exact part we needed (and it was not an easy find - we had looked everywhere) and he came over Tuesday evening. He stayed until 8:00 until the job was done, and cleaned up afterwards. He was courteous, professional, and efficient! I could not be happier!

Rachel P Maryland Heights, MO (July 2012)

He did an excellent job. Got there on time and quickly solved the issue. Was very pleasant and explained the situation and how to keep the door from sticking in the future. Would definitely use Master Key LLC again!

Neil F. (Saint Louis, MO) April 2012

Danny was very friendly and knowledgeable, although his apprentice seemed to do most of the work, Danny kept an eye on him to make sure it was done right. He had very reasonable pricing for re-keying.
Greg D (St Louis, MO) October 2011

He was extrememly fabulous and helpful and did a wonderful job. He was very professional.
Shannon M. (Arnold, MO) October 2011

Growing up spending so much of my time in Italy, the uniqueness of the Nova Classico left quite an impression on me. To be able to have and enjoy them in my own home here in the states is a nostalgic indulgence I'm enjoying beyond words. Thank you Danny for coordinating this transaction.

Joseph M (Chicago, IL) September 2011

great job. hired on the spot and he did job right then at great price

Ron B (Arnold, MO) July 2011

I searched the internet and found your services. I received three phone calls within several days. A service call was scheduled. Two gentlemen arrived promptly, analyzed the problem and fixed it.
James & Florenc M Saint Louis, MO July 2011

The repairman was on time and did an excellent job of fixing a very stubborn door lock. He was persistent and cleaned up the work area afterwards. I would use this service again.

Brenda F (Saint Peters, MO) June 2011

Danny at Master Key Systems has succeeded in making the purchasing of our Meroni door locks, from Italy, an absolute breeze. Even though I live in Australia with a 16hr time difference and was ordering door knobs from Italy that weren't in stock, the whole process was faultless. Danny was prompt and efficient with all his emails and made sure we had covered every possible variable so that the product I received was exactly as required. I would have no hesitation in recommending Danny for your next purchase.
Patrick Carr (Canberra, Australia)

Your product really helped because I needed to secure a nurse's station adjacent to a waiting room and needed a pocket door. Unfortunately, no real options were available to lock a pocket door effectively that would keep me compliant with HIPAA and secure an area that stores medical supplies. This was vitally important as this particular waiting room was for "waiting detox patients". Thank you very much.
Randall R The Fritz Clinic (Birmingham, Al) March 2011

Danny was very polite and knew what the problem was and how to fix it. He also gave me some information about other issues that could arise with my door and locks. Will hire again if I ever need that type of work done.
Jason M Imperial, MO March 2011

I had an exterior basement door that dragged when opening and closing. The hinges were not fitting properly and the door frame had shifted, probably due to the age of the house.The screwswould not go far enough into the wall without hitting stone...even using a special drill bit. Dan worked a long time drilling and sanding to shore up the door as best as possible. I know it will never be perfect. He could have easily sold me a new door and the same issue would happen. He was honest, thorough, and did an excellent job without charging me a fortune. I'm satisfied with the door now. If you want an honest, experienced man, Then Dan is the man

Roger M Saint Louis, MO March 2011

I purchased the Cowdroy P697 Pocket door lock with key over the internet. I emailed questions before my purchase and was provided with the answers quickly by return email. The purchase was quick and easy and the lock was shipped immediatly. Installation is quick and easy. But you do need to convert millimeters to inches (use the internet) in the installation instructions. And the lock looks great and works great. I will do business with them again. THANK YOU

Ed D (February, 2011)

Who Are We?

Welcome to Locks210.com.
This site is to inform about historical and modern approaches to Keys and Physical Security products and services.
Locks210.com, established in 2006, offers residents and businesses of St Louis Locksmith premium quality products and services. As the Premier Bilock Extreme Security Dealer in The Mid-West,
Our conveniently located workshop and service vehicles are uniquely designed to offer trade qualified, bonded, insured tradespeople with knowledge and experience spanning multiple countries and product lines.

Shipping and Returns

All products are sent in manufacturers condition.
All products are subject to sales tax where applicable.
All products are dispatched within 10 business days of remittance.
All products are subject to manufacturers warranties.
All products returned within 30 days, will be 95% refunded less shipping.
Prices are subject to change without notice.
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