Tubular Lock Stuck Halfway; Quick Fixes!

tubular lock stuck halfway

A tubular lock is considered to be a safe choice in comparison with regular locks. However, tubular locks can face a few problems. Among them, the tubular lock getting stuck halfway can be a really painful issue!

So, what to do when the tubular lock stuck halfway?

Firstly, a misaligned tubular lock can cause this problem. For the solution, you’ll need to file the notch of the tubular key. Secondly, the worn-out key of a tubular lock can cause it to get stuck halfway. Knocking the tab off the key and lubricating the lock can get rid of this issue. Finally, rusty lock mechanisms can be a reason. To solve it, lockpicking and wiggling the lock are two options. 

That’s only a summed-up version. For all the critical details, please read the entire article.

Tubular Lock Is Stuck Halfway; Reasons and Solution

A tubular lock can get stuck halfway for many reasons. The table below states all the reasons, symptoms, and solutions behind this issue. Have a look to match your situation with the chart-

Misaligned Tubular LockOuter Ring Notches are at 180° and 270°And Inner Ring Notch at 270°File the Notch of the Tubular Key
Worn KeyKey Stuck MidwayKnock the Tab off the Key
Lubricate the Lock 
Rusty Lock MechanismDifficulties in Key Insertion and Removal
Rust inside the Lock and on the Key
Try to Lockpick the Tubular Lock
Wiggle the Lock

Now that you’ve had a quick glance, you’re ready for the fix. In the next segment, the reasons and solutions have been elaborated on. Keep reading!

Reason 1: Misaligned Tubular Lock

Sometimes, the tubular lock’s key is pulled out before the inner cylinder’s put back in its resting position. This can create a misaligned tubular lock. 

When the cylinders of the tubular lock are misaligned, it prevents the key from getting in properly. This causes the lock to be stuck halfway.


To solve this problem, you will need to do some modifications to the key itself. By using a metal file, you need to file the notch of the key. This notch allows the key to go in when the lock is properly aligned.

Misaligned Tubular Lock
Source: youtube.com

Without the notch, the key can work for misaligned tubular locks as well. After filing the key, insert the key into the tubular lock. Then, rotate the key back and forth and the lock should go all way the way and unlock!

For a detailed process, you can take help from the video here: Misaligned tubular lock fix hack

Reason 2: Worn Key

For every lock, there’s a corresponding key. The key needs to be in good condition to unlock the lock precisely. Worn-out or rusty keys may cause problems with the lock. In fact, the tubular lock can get stuck halfway because of worn-out keys. 

Apart from these risks, worn-out keys can also break inside the lock. It can be a hassle to remove the broken key from the lock!


This issue has two solutions. The first solution is to knock the tab off the key. There are internal and external tabs of a tubular key. This will allow you to take out the key, even if the key is withdrawn in the wrong position. 

In such situations, you can also try rekeying the lock. Many locks such as Schlage, Tubular, and Emtek locks can be rekeyed to get a new pair of keys!

The second solution is to lubricate the lock. By applying some silicone-based lubricant inside the lock, you can get the key out. The lubricant will help reduce friction between the worn-out key and the locking mechanism.

Reason 3: Rusty Lock Mechanism

Each lock has a mechanism inside it, which is mostly made of metal. This mechanism provides the lock with different features of security. However, if the mechanism fails to work, the lock can get stuck midway.

This can happen over time if the lock is not properly maintained. Rust is a slow killer for the lock mechanism and can cause a lot of problems. For instance, rusty mechanisms can compromise the safety of smart front door locks.


Solving this issue is quite easy. It consists of two approaches. The first approach is to lockpick the tubular lock. Since the tubular lock is stuck halfway, it can be lockpicked.

Here are the steps for lockpicking a tubular lock:Firstly, get your hands on a tubular lock impression tool. This can mimic the tubular key.

Rusty Lock Mechanism
Source: youtube.com
  • Then, slide the pins of the impression tool on a flat surface. The pins have to be on the same level, to be inserted.
  • Next, insert the tool and start rotating it back and forth. The rotation will let the tool recognize the pattern of the tubular lock.
  • Finally, when the tool is firm with the locking mechanism, unlock the tubular lock. This will take the lock from halfway to all the way and resolve this issue.

You can tighten the locking collar, as it can be used as the key for your tubular lock. For the second solution, you may try wiggling the tubular lock. There’s a chance that the locking mechanism comes back to life by the wiggle.

Spray some lock lubricant inside the tubular lock and put the key in and out. Also, rotate the key back and forth. 

Change the orientation of the lock after a few tries, so that the lock lubricant gets everywhere. Hold the tubular lock and keep wiggling it throughout the process. The solution is also applicable in situations where a Thule key is stuck.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Are all tubular locks the same?

No, all tubular locks aren’t the same. There are 3 different categories based on the pin number of the lock. There are 7-pin, 8-pin, and 10-pin tubular locks. The 7-pin tubular lock is the most common lock and the rarest lock is the 10-pin tubular lock.

What is the difference between tubular and mortise locks?

The main difference between a tubular and a mortise lock is the body and shape. The tubular lock has two cylindrical-sized pieces that contain the bored keyholes. On the contrary, the mortise lock only consists of one rectangular lock body, which is quite long.

How do you fix a broken half key?

Broken half keys cannot be fixed. The only solution is to replace the key by making a duplicate. You may try supergluing the key together, but the key can cause more problems. The key may get stuck inside a lock, or break again.


This is the final reach of this article. Hopefully, now you know the necessary steps to follow when your tubular lock stuck halfway

Hiring a professional locksmith can be the best option here if you don’t wanna get your hands dirty. These locksmiths can solve these problems in a jiffy!

Have a great day.

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