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Schlage Lock Not Unlocking (8 Solutions)

schlage lock not unlocking
Last Updated on April 28, 2023
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Encountering a Schlage lock that refuses to unlock can be a frustrating experience, particularly when it leaves you locked out. This guide aims to help you determine the cause of this issue and provide step-by-step troubleshooting techniques to restore your lock's functionality swiftly.

Here's a brief overview of the 8 solutions for resolving a Schlage keypad lock that won't unlock:

  1. Verify User Codes
  2. Deactivate Vacation Mode
  3. Turn off Lock Override
  4. Use a Physical Key
  5. Examine Lock Installation
  6. Inspect and Replace Batteries
  7. Perform a Factory Reset
  8. Clean and Assess for Damage

In the following sections, each solution will be elaborated upon to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the steps involved.

Let's get started!

Schlage Lock Not Unlocking: 8 Troubleshooting Steps

1. Confirm the User Code

This might seem too obvious, but it's always best to start with the basics. Make sure you're entering a valid User Code. In the chance the lock got reset, you can also try using the default user codes that come with the lock. These default codes can be found in the manual, or will be inside the lock itself.

If you don't have the manual and don't know your codes, you will have to open the indoor panel to find them. If you are currently locked out, you will have to try other steps first to gain access to the inside.

When your lock seems to have power and the user code flashes normally like it's accepted, see Schlage Lock Blinks Green But Won't Open for more specific help with that issue.

2. Is Vacation Mode Enabled?

Something you can try from the outside is ensuring that Vacation mode is not enabled. When Vacation mode is enabled it doesn't allow the use of the keypad and won't accept your user codes. You will need to know your current programming code in order to check this.

To Enable or Disable Vacation Mode:

  1. Enter the programming code and the Schlage button will blink three times (to indicate it's in programming mode)
  2. Press and release the Schlage button once
  3. Press the number 4, the keypad will light up if it was engaged or disengaged successfully

Keep in mind that the process of enabling and disabling this is the same and there is no real way to tell which state it's in other than your user codes not working. You will want to test user codes after doing this once, and then do it again if the codes are still not working.

If you are seeing no lights, or not getting any response from the keypad at all, the batteries are the most probable cause. Move on to try the key or you will have to find another way in to check the batteries.

3. Unlock with a Physical Key

If the keypad still won't cooperate, resort to a good old-fashioned key. If the key works it can eliminate the possibility of the lock not being installed correctly.

If you were able to unlock it lock it with the key, also try using the inside thumb turn can do the same. When the key or inside turn won't do their normal job, the issue can be narrowed down to an installation issue or damaged hardware.

At this point, if you are still locked out because you have no key, or it's not working, you will need to find another way in. If the key just spins, you have a hardware issue that will require disassembly to repair.

See our ideas for ways to get in a door without a key, or consider calling a locksmith as the next troubleshooting steps require access to the inside.

4. Check that the Lock Override is disengaged

There is a Lock Override feature that must be manually engaged with a flathead screwdriver on the inside panel. You would probably remember if you engaged this, but there is a chance that it got partially engaged from use and needs some attention.

To access the lock override, remove the inside panel's cover on the door. You'll spot the label "LOCK OVERRIDE" and a small hole for a flat-head screwdriver. When the line is horizontal, the override is disengaged, and the keypad should function. If the line is vertical, it's engaged, blocking the keypad's use.

Play around with it a bit. Regardless of the initial position, try engaging and disengaging the lock override several times, ending in the horizontal (unlocked) position. This will ensure it's completely disengaged.

5. Check or Replace the Batteries

Low batteries can cause hiccups, as I am sure you are well aware. When you gain access to the inner door panel, you will want to inspect the batteries for damage or try new ones to see if they are causing trouble.

If this is a smart lock, you can check the level of the battery inside the app. There should also be other warning signs to indicate if the batteries are running low. Some warnings of low batteries on your Schlage lock can include no beeps or lights at all or Extra flashing lights and beeps after a code is entered.

The batteries on all Schlage locks can be accessed by either pulling up on the black cover or taking out a few screws to remove the face of the panel. When replacing them, you will want to disconnect the wire hooked to the battery tray or the 9 Volt, depending on the lock.

If your lock uses a 9-Volt, check the wire connections and try a new battery if you suspect it's low. In the case that your lock has a battery tray with AAs or AAAs, inspect them for damage and use all new ones if you replace them.

Just remember to not combine new and old batteries and to use alkaline batteries, as they work best in Schlage locks.

6. Inspect the Lock Installation

Bad installation might be the culprit, especially if it was just installed and now not working. The steps of trying the key and inside turn will give you an idea if the problem lies in the deadbolt or strike plate.

If the box (the hole where the deadbolt goes into) is too tight, the lock may not have enough strength to retract it. Misalignment or loose parts could also be causing a jam resulting in the same problem.

If this is a fresh install and hasn't been unlocked before, double-check the user manual for proper installation instructions for your model. You can also check that you connected the wires properly.

When the key and inside turn are working correctly, and the lock just won't do it itself, try a hard reset on the lock to try and clear a software malfunction.

7. Reset to Factory Settings

There is one more thing you can try before cracking open the lock to get a deep look, and that's resetting the lock. A factory reset can work wonders to fix those software issues naked to the eye.

You will need to know beforehand that a factory reset erases custom settings, so you'll need to update your Programming Code, delete preset User Codes, and add new ones. Once again, be sure you have located your default codes unique to your lock.

Here's how to change the codes on your Schlage lock if you need a little refresher course.

How to Factory Reset Most Schlage Locks:

To reset your Schlage lock, disconnect the battery from the lock and press and hold the Schlage button while reconnecting the battery pack. Continue holding the Schlage button until the lock beeps and the keypad flashes green. The lock should now be reset to its default settings, allowing you to enter the default user code to unlock the door.

These are the steps that work for most common models, but to see the exact instructions for your model, check out how to reset your Schlage lock.

8. Clean it and Check for Damage

The last thing you can really do if nothing else worked is to take apart the lock and check the internals for obvious damage. When going to the trouble to take it apart, you might as well clean it thoroughly too, because dirt may also be the problem.

Keep in mind that if you have a fancier smart lock, it may be better to contact Schlage Customer Support to get guidance with warranty information. Get your model and serial number handy to make the process a bit easier.

If you choose to take it apart to look for damage, be sure to take pictures of each step or record the entire process to help you reassemble it. You will need to remove it from the door, disconnect the wires, and separate the front and back panels.

If you are not familiar with locks at all, it's also best to have a professional locksmith repair or replace the lock. Here are the current Locksmith prices to get an idea of what you can expect to pay.

Here are some basic tips for identifying hardware issues in your Schlage lock:

  • Check for any loose, bare, or disconnected wires
  • Take the lock fully apart to inspect the lock mechanism
  • Look for parts that have snapped or simply fallen out of place
  • Use a video tutorial for your specific model to help
  • Clean residue build up and dust from the moving parts

When cleaning, only use soap and water on the exterior. For the inside, use a cloth or low-pressure compressed air to remove debris. Applying lubrication to the lock can also help keep things moving nice and smoothly.


The problem of a Schlage lock not unlocking can either be a super quick fix or, unfortunately, require total disassembly of the lock to repair it. While the problems will most commonly come from user error or battery troubles, these solutions should have helped you pinpoint the issue and showed you how to fix it.

If you had to take it apart, you should have some great experience to now fix it yourself when needed. If nothing else, you now know simple solutions that can fix many common issues on Schlage locks.

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