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Schlage Lock Not Locking From Outside (7 Solutions)

Schlage Lock Not Locking From Outside - Troublehooting and Solutions
Last Updated on April 15, 2023
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When it comes to home security, a reliable lock is the first line of defense. If you're experiencing issues with your Schlage lock not locking from the outside, this article will give you some troubleshooting tips to address this frustrating issue quickly.

There could be several reasons why your Schlage lock is not locking from the outside:

  • Misaligned Door Latch
  • Low or Dead Batteries
  • Disabled Schlage Turn Lock
  • Engaged Lock Override
  • Dirt or Grime Build Up
  • Invalid User Code
  • Damaged Hardware

Within this article, we will explore each of these potential causes by providing you with clear instructions on what to check to diagnose and resolve the problem as efficiently as possible.

7 Solutions For Schlage Lock is Not Locking From the Outside

1. Check the Alignment of the Latch

One thing to quickly check is if the latch is properly aligned. This may be the cause if it was just installed or if wear and tear caused it to be off just enough to keep it from locking. You also will want to check that there is no dirt or foreign object blocking the hole.

Inspecting the Latch Alignment

Before you can adjust the latch alignment, it's important to identify which way it is off.

Follow these steps to check the current alignment of your Schlage smart lock:

  1. Look at the strike plate on the door frame, and check the screws are securely fastened. The strike plate should be flush with the door frame, and the latch should smoothly make it into the hole when the door is closed.
  2. Check for grime or dirt build-up that could affect the movement of the bolt; clean the lock if you feel it's necessary.
  3. With the door open, see if the latch bolt extends fully by turning the thumb turn or by entering a valid user code. If it feels tough to turn, it may be misaligned.
  4. Close the door and watch through the crack to see how the latch bolt fits into the plate. If there is any resistance or it is off just a bit, it can make it harder to lock.

Adjusting the Latch Alignment

If you suspect the latch may have some alignment issues, you will want to adjust it.

  1. Carefully loosen the screws on the strike plate so that you can make small changes to its position.
  2. Move the plate up, down, or side to side to test. Keep in mind that it's important to make small adjustments to ensure accuracy.
  3. Close the door and watch if the bolt hits the strike plate. If the latch bolt slides smoothly into the hole and the door locks and unlocks without any trouble, if not, continue adjusting until you find the sweet spot.

2. Check the Turn Lock Feature is Enabled

For Schlage smart locks, the turn lock feature can be deactivated, preventing the exterior thumb turn from manually locking and unlocking the door without inputting a code on the keypad. When active, the thumb turn enables quick locking or unlocking of your door with a simple twist.

It's possible that someone else disabled this feature, but unlikely that it was unintentionally deactivated.

Enabling or Disabling the Turn Lock Feature

To enable or disable the turn lock feature on your Schlage smart lock:

  1. Press the Schlage button on the keypad, followed by your unique six-digit programming code. Three orange light flashes and beeps will validate you are in programming mode.
  2. After entering programming mode, press the "7" key on the keypad. You should hear a beep and see a green light flash.
  3. Press the Schlage button to exit programming mode and revert to regular operation.

If you are having trouble with this feature, visit my turn lock feature troubleshooting guide for additional help.

On some newer locks like the Encode, you can also adjust the auto-lock with a delay of up to 4 minutes after the door unlocks. Check the settings in your app if you're using a smart lock, or check out auto-lock feature not working for more info.

3. Check or Replace The Batteries

It could come down to something as simple as the batteries being low and causing glitches or them not having enough power to operate the lock.

If you're experiencing delays or sluggishness when using your Schlage lock, it could be a sign that the batteries are running low. If, while testing the lock by entering your user code or using your smart device to lock, it is slow to respond, it may be time to replace the batteries.

 Low Battery Indicators

Modern technology has blessed us with the ability to receive notifications about nearly everything, and your Schlage lock is no exception. Keep an eye out for low battery indicators, such as a flashing light or an audible alert, that signal it's time to replace the batteries. Blinking red lights on your Schlage lock indicate an invalid code was entered or that it has low batteries.

Inspect or Change the Batteries

To check the batteries in your Schlage lock, you'll need to remove the lock's cover. Loosening the screws holding it in place may be required, or just you can just pull off the cover. Examine the batteries for any signs of damage, and be sure the are installed correctly. Even if the batteries seem to be in good condition, it's a good idea to replace them if they've been in use for an extended period.

4. Confirm Your User Code

Schlage locks will usually lock automatically without having to enter a user code, but if you choose to have the turn lock feature disabled, you will need a valid code to lock it. To check that it's not a simple mistake, let's be sure you're entering the correct user code. Double-check the user code you've been using, and compare it with the user code you initially set or the default code provided by Schlage.

Do you have multiple user codes? If you have multiple user codes programmed into your Schlage lock, test each of them individually to determine if it's a singular code issue or a broader problem.

If only one user code isn't working, you may need to reprogram that specific code. If none of the user codes work, the lock may have been reset or reprogrammed.

If you suspect the programming has been tampered with, try programming a new user code on your Schlage to see if your current programming code is still working or if the default one does. If neither works, you will want to reset the lock and change the programming code.

Does the lock unlock from the outside? Identify if the lock is just having trouble locking or if it is also not unlocking either. If nothing is working, you aren't seeing lights or getting any response to move on to check the batteries or reset the lock.

5. See if the Lock Override is Enabled

If you are trying to get your Schlage lock to lock using the keypad, the Lock Override could be enabled or may just need some maintenance. You can first check if the keypad works to open the lock because if it does, then it is probably not enabled.

This is not something you would have done accidentally unless you recently opened up the lock for some other kind of maintenance. It can be worth checking if the lock is older or if someone has recently done something inside the lock.

Access the Lock Override

First things first, you'll need to locate the Lock Override. First, remove the cover from the panel inside the door. Once the cover is off, you'll find a label marked "LOCK OVERRIDE," accompanied by a small hole designed for a flat-head screwdriver.

Check the Override Position

Now that you've found the Lock Override, it's time to determine its position. When the line inside the hole is horizontal, the override is disengaged, and the keypad should work correctly. If the line is vertical, the override is engaged, and the keypad's functionality is blocked.

Engage and Disengage the Lock Override

To make sure the Lock Override is fully disengaged, engage and disengage it several times using a flat-head screwdriver. End in the horizontal (unlocked) position. This exercise is like jiggling a stubborn key in a lock—sometimes, a little movement is all it takes to get things working smoothly again.

Test that the keypad works to both lock and unlock your lock.

6. Factory Reset Your Lock

In certain situations, performing a factory reset on your Schlage lock may be necessary. A factory reset erases all previous configurations and codes. A reset can fix software glitches and reset programming errors that may have occurred.

When the lock is reset, you'll need to reprogram your Schlage lock. This means you will have to create new user codes and change the programming code.

Here is how to reset most Schlage locks:

1: Disconnect the Battery

Begin by locating the lock's interior panel. Open the cover and disconnect the battery.

2: Press the Schlage Button

Press the Schlage button once on the keypad. This initiates the reset sequence.

3: Reconnect the Battery

Reconnect the battery on the interior side of the lock.

4: Press and Hold the Schlage Button

Quickly press and hold the Schlage button shortly after reconnecting the battery and keep holding the button until it turns green. This indicates that the factory reset has been successful.

See my detailed Schlage lock reset guide for some slightly different reset steps if you have the Encode or Connect models.

7. Check For Internal Damage

Last but not least, when you have checked off all the other boxes, you might have a damaged lock. If the lock is making a noise and can't lock, or you are manually trying to lock it, and it won't, you could have a damaged lock mechanism.

At this point, you can call Schlage Customer Support, knowing you have tried pretty much everything, or you could open up the lock and take a look inside. However, if you have a new smart lock, it is probably best to call support first.

Here are some ideas of how you can quickly check your Schlage lock damage:

  • Insert the key and turn it to test the lock's smoothness. Difficulty or stiffness may indicate internal issues if misalignment has already been ruled out.
  • Take the inside cover off to inspect for obvious loose parts or damaged wires.

If you decide you want to take a look inside, here's how to inspect the Schlage lock's internals:

  • Take some pictures as you take it apart to that you can properly reassemble it.
  • Unscrew the mounting screws on the inside of the door and take it off the door.
  • Slowly take it apart while keeping track of each piece.
  • Inspect small parts for wear or corrosion. Consider lubricating your lock to get it working smoothly.
  • Check all the wiring on the circuit board and battery connections.

If it still doesn't work after putting it back together, consult the user manual or Schlage customer support if you haven't. When your Schlage lock is just spinning, here's how to fix it.


I assembled these troubleshooting steps in order of the most common and easier things to check to the harder steps to perform. If your lock suddenly stops locking from the outside, it is usually a setting that has been disabled or due to low batteries if it locks on its own.

Of course, over time, wear and tear can cause misalignment, and something wild could have happened, like your kids sticking something inside that prevents it from locking. Whatever the issue was, I hope you now know how to quickly fix locking problems with your Schlage lock.

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