Bike locks are wonderful creations that are the last line of defense between some jerk thief and your prized two-wheel possession.
But while locks are essential for the security of your bike, they can sometimes pose their own problems if they end up jamming.
A jammed bike lock can cause you plenty of problems, most of which aren’t exactly quick and easy to fix. As with most annoying situations, the best way to deal with them is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
This guide will teach you how to prevent a jammed lock from happening, and also give you some helpful advice for what to do if it does jam.
Since you should already be using a u-lock or d-lock style bike lock, we’ll mainly focus on how to prevent them from jamming.
First, the lock mechanism itself. Jam prevention falls equally on using the lock properly, and keeping it clean and lubricated, but the quality of lock matters as well.
The first step you can take in preventing jamming is getting a high quality lock. Cheap locks are...cheap. This means that they not only jam and fail easily, they are also easier for a potential thief to break, pry off, or cut. Spending the extra money on a nice lock goes a long way. Just do it.
Don’t just thrust the key in and turn before it’s set. You can damage the mechanism, or even break the key of inside, which is a bad problem to have. Always insert the key with care, and only turn it once it’s all the way in the mechanism.
Keep dirt and grime out of the lock mechanism. You can also use chain oil to keep it lubricated inside. Just a drop or two will do. Don’t use WD-40, it’s not a conventional lubricant, and will have the opposite effect.
The ends of a u-lock or d-lock can end up getting jammed if they corrode, or if the inside of the body gets dirty. Use lubricant on the ends of the body points that go inside the other, and keep them clean as well.
Okay, but what about if it still jams?
WD-40 is your friend here. If the key won’t turn the mechanism, use blasts of WD-40 to flush out dirt and debris that may be inside. If it’s the lock part itself, carefully insert the key while gently turning slightly to reset the lock discs. Take the key in and out several times. Try a little WD-40 too.
If it’s below freezing, the lock could be frozen. Heat the key up before inserting, or try to heat the mechanism up with a lighter, or even your breath.
Aside from brute strength, WD-40 is your friend -- again. Unload on the connect points, and try spraying it inside using that little red straw if you can. This will remove debris and corrosion causing it to stick.
Bike lock jams are annoying, but avoidable. Keep the above tips in mind, and in practice, and you’ll always be sure that your lock works properly.
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.
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