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Cylinder Locks and How They Work

Unfortunately, as many as 25% of all recorded burglaries in the US are initiated using lock bumping, cylinder screwing, or drilling techniques. This is why it is critical to ensure that your property benefits from the highest level of security.  Top cylinder locks are a good solution, and today we are going to help you get a deeper understanding of exactly what is a cylinder lock, how a cylinder lock works, and what are the different cylinder lock types, and more.

What Is a Cylinder Lock?cylinder locks

Cylinder locks are also called pin tumbler locks and they are special types of locks that feature a locking mechanism that relies on a number of pins of different lengths. the pins closely follow the key's serrated edges. A door will only unlock when the right key is used. 

How Does a Cylinder Lock Work?

The outer casing of cylinder locks has a cylindrical hole inside that is used for storing the plug. In order for the cylinder lock to open, the respective plug needs to initiate a rotation move. At one of the ends, the plug features the keyway, which is a slot that is straight in shape. The keyway enables the key to make its way inside the plug. On the opposite end of the plug, there is usually a lever or a cam that will trigger a special retraction mechanism. In turn, this mechanism will activate the locking bolt.

Key Pins

In most cases, the ledges of the keyways are protruding in order to stop the pins of the key from falling into the plug, thus make it more difficult for a burglar to pick the lock without actually using the correct key. An average of 5 holes will be drilled into the plug, on the vertical, and they will host round pins of different lengths that will allow the correct to smoothly slide over.

Driver Pins and Spacer Pins

The area above the pins is dedicated to sets of spring-loaded driver pins. A simple lock model will only normally feature a single driver pin corresponding to a key pin. However, groups of locks that rely on master keys will usually feature additional driver pins called spacer pins.  The exterior casing is made from a number of vertical shafts, each of them responsible for holding the pins that are loaded by the springs in place.cylinder lock

Shear Point

Once the outer casing and plug have been properly assembled, the pins will be pushed down inside the plug with the help of the springs. The intersection of the cylinder and the plug is named a shear point.  When the rightful key is placed inside the groove located on the plug's end, the following will occur: the pins will go up and perfectly align at the previously mentioned shear point. Subsequently, this will trigger the rotation of and the easy opening of the lock. Once the correct key is removed from the lock, the key pins will initiate the straddling of the shear point, stopping the rotation of the plug.

Different Types Of Cylinder Locks

Mortise Cylinder Locks

These types of cylinders feature round threads that screw into the body of the lock. At times, spaces need to be fitted in order to help the cylinder flush simultaneously with the lock. The cylinder's depth will determine whether these spacers are necessary. Mortise cylinders are sold in their standard form, and you can also find models with cores that can be replaced.

Rim Cylinder Locks

Rim cylinders are usually used for exit doors and other similar devices, and while their design might resemble mortise cylinder locks, their long tailpiece found on their end separates them from the mortise model. Almost without an exception, an exit door controlled with a key from the outside will be based on a rim cylinder. Rim cylinders also come in their standard form, and they are sold as interchangeable core models as well.

Key in Knob Cylinders

Lever or key in knob cylinders are part of standard lever sets or locks featuring knobs. The cylinder is what keeps the part of the lock where the key is slid into place. The lever's depth will establish the depth of the cylinder, while the end will be determined by the manner in which the cylinder engages the lever's mechanism used for locking.  For enhanced security, these cylinders should be used together with metal door knobs or handles or else you will potential burglars break them off with ease. Nonetheless, fitting key in knob cylinders in a metal door knob is rather complex and failure could lead to not being able to use the key to operate the lock.

Deadbolt Cylinder Locks

Deadbolt cylinders are some of the most popular types of cylinders that the majority of people make use of every day, on their main exit and entry doors at their homes. In order for the deadbolt to retract, a key needs to be used from the outside of the door, to trigger the cylinder's rotation. The interior of a deadbolt can either rely on a key or a thumb turn.

Euro Cylinder Locks

These are the most popular cylinder types sold in a variety of sizes, from dozens of brands. They basically rely on one of the following locking alternatives:

  • single cylinders, lockable from just one side of the door
  • double-ended cylinders, lockable from either the inside or outside
  • key and thumb turn cylinders, lockable using keys on the exterior and thumb turns on the interior

These locks are sold in different lengths, so make sure they match the exact thickness of your door before making a new purchase. Opting for the standard model your door will be more vulnerable to break-in attempts. This usually occurs when the cylinder is protruding from the door. The cylinder's end should be either sunken or it should be smoothly flushing to provide extra security.  Also, keep in mind standard locks can easily snap in the middle and this can be used by burglars to make their quick way into your home. The problem can be fixed by using high-security locks with anti-snapping features that will allow them to change the position of where the snapping will occur (at the end, instead of the middle). This means the middle of the barrel should remain in one piece and stop further manipulation attempts.

Whether you are ready to order some new door lock parts or you need to upgrade the security on your home and you are considering cylinder locks, make sure you use a cylinder lock repairs near me services like ours.  Give us a call and let our experts provide you with the advice you need or handle everything for you instead. We know exactly how cylinder locks work and how to install them for a higher level of security on your home, and we work fast and affordable, so we guarantee you are going to resume your regular activities in no time!