Multi-Point Locking System Problems
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Multi-Point Locking System Problems

The multi-point locking system has gained popularity among entry doors for one primary reason. This system comes with the traditional deadbolt and up to seven separate locking points, providing an extra layer of security.

However, a multi-point locking system is prone to sticking, sagging, and failure to close or lock properly. These issues arise when the door is not installed properly or if there are any structural defects including shifting foundations. 

Read on to learn how multi-point locking systems work and the solutions to common problems your door may face. 

How Do Multi-Point Locking Systems Work?

A multi-point locking system comprises three main components; the lock case, the hooks and the deadbolt. The lock case is mounted on the edge of the door, inside the frame. Hooks are attached to the top and bottom of this case while a deadbolt is mounted in the center.

When you turn the knob to activate the system, all these three components engage at once to lock into the frame or strike plate, securing your door. You can operate a multi-point locking system using either:

1. The exterior handle

The exterior handle applies when you want to open or close your door from the outside. It's attached to a spindle, extending through a gearbox that operates the hooks and latches. You can operate the exterior handle using either a lever or key. A key-operated handle comes with an escutcheon for protection against weather elements and tampering.

2. The interior handle

This handle allows access from inside and connects to an operating lever via another spindle. It also connects to a plastic or metallic follower that moves along the operating lever into the gearbox.

While most multi-point locking systems have three points that engage simultaneously, some have up to seven or more. Your door's security, energy efficiency, and stability increase with more locking points.

Common Multi-Point Locking System Problems 

There are several reasons why a multi-point locking system can break. Here are the most common ones:


Gearbox misalignment is one of the most common problems in lever locks, particularly in multi-lock doors with no adjustable hooks and rollers.

While the lock is locked, the gearbox can rotate freely. If the gearbox is misaligned in any way, it won't be able to align itself with the lock's inner pin. The result: you get no unlocking torque and no unlocking force when you tap the lever.

To prevent this, ensure your gearboxes are well-aligned and not misaligned by more than 0.1 mm (0.0039"). Verify this alignment using a dial indicator or a micrometer.

Lock jammed

The latch or the deadbolt may stick in the door frame, preventing it from opening or closing properly. The reason for this can be a misalignment due to wear and tear or damage to the lock cylinder itself. A lock jam can happen anytime, whether you're closing the door or opening it.

To fix this problem, you need to check that all handles are in the locked position and then activate the central locking button. Doing so should release the top shoot bolt and allow you to open the door.

It may be necessary to use a screwdriver to gently release any jamming of the shoot bolts at either end of the door frame. Then try locking and unlocking it again. 

Broken gearbox

A broken gearbox can result from unnecessary strain on the gearbox whenever you turn the latch without moving it. When unlocking the door, you should push the key all the way into the lock and turn it. Then, pull the handle up and push or pull your door open. Doing this will help release the pressure from the system's latch mechanism and prevent damage to the gearbox.

You can know a broken gearbox if the handles from the outside and inside feel either loose or stiffer than usual. Also, if you hear grinding or scraping noises when turning the key or rotating the handle, the gearbox is undoubtedly broken.

You can fix a broken gearbox by either replacing the entire multi-point lock or the gearbox. The cost difference between replacing both is minimal, so it's more beneficial to replace both parts as they will wear at different rates.


The whole point of a lock system is to ensure that only people who have the key can get into your home and use it. Multi-point lock systems are completely invisible, sturdy, and with a quite impressive activation. Stuck at getting one? Contact us at Brennan Corp, and we will help you find an expert to take you through the installation process in a jiff.

March 29, 2022


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