Being able to use a door to enter or exit a room is essential for the function of a home, so when a door knob starts to become loose, wobbly, or it spins freely on the spindle it's important to fix the problem as soon as possible.
In most cases, this issue can be resolved with nothing more than a screwdriver and an Allen wrench, though if the screws are stripped, warped, or worn, then you may need to get new screws to complete the repair. Learn how to tighten a loose door knob by following the simple steps below and regain the convenience and security a functioning door knob provides.
Equipment / Tools
- Allen wrench
- Door handle screws
- Threadlocker adhesive
Locate the Screws
When a door knob feels loose, wobbly, or it spins freely on the spindle, the problem is typically caused by a set screw that has come loose from the spindle or the internal screws that secure one side of the door knob to the other side through the door.
The location of the screws can vary, depending on the type of door knob, so you may be able to find the screws by simply looking at the faceplate, but if the door knob doesn't have visible screws, then you will need to find the detent hole or pin.
The detent hole or pin is usually on the side of the door knob, while you can find the set screw on the bottom of the door knob. Loosen the set screw and insert a flathead screwdriver or the end of a small Allen wrench into the detent hole to push down on the pin and release the door handle. Use a screwdriver to pry up the base to reveal the screws.
Inspect the Screws
If the screws are installed directly through the faceplate of the door, then removing them and inspecting each screw should be relatively easy. Simply loosen the screws and take them out of the door so that you can inspect the shank, thread, and tip for any defects. Just make sure that you keep a hand on the door knob to prevent it from falling to the ground when the screws are removed.
For screws that were concealed behind the faceplate, it will take a little extra effort to remove the door knob and base in order to access the screws, but once the screws are exposed, the basic steps in the installation process are the same.
Loosen the screws so that you can inspect each part, including the shank, threads, and tip. Look for dents, warping, damaged threads, or signs of rust or corrosion that could indicate the screws need to be replaced.
If necessary, head to a local home improvement store to pick up replacement screws. It's recommended to take the old screws with you to ensure that you find the right size and length for your door knob.
Realign the Door Knob
When you have removed the door knob from the door, this will leave the hole in the door exposed, allowing you to inspect the door and door knob in order to identify any problems with the current assembly. A common issue that can cause the door knob to loosen over time and increase the wear and tear on the screws is a simple misalignment problem.
If the door knob assembly has been installed at a slight angle, causing uneven wear on the door and on the door knob. Adjust the angle so that the door knob assembly is level and properly aligned with the door and faceplate.
Tighten and Replace the Screws
Once you have verified that the screws are in good condition or you have purchased replacement screws for the door knob, you can go ahead and reinstall the screws.
For screws that pass through the faceplate and into the door, you will need to align and reinstall the two sides of the door knob assembly at the same time as you install the screws. Tighten the screws while making sure that the door knob remains properly aligned on both sides as you work.
If you are dealing with concealed screws, then you can set the door knob to the side for now. Consider applying a threadlocker adhesive solution to the screw threads in order to improve the grip and prevent the screws from loosening from regular use, then reinsert the screws.
Reinstall the Door Knob
With the screws in place and securely tightened, you can reinstall the door knob base over the screws by applying firm pressure or gently tapping it until it's firmly set in place. Next, slide the door knob over the detent pin and reinstall the set screw to lock the door knob in place. Use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to tighten the set screw and ensure that the door knob doesn't spin freely on the spindle. If the set screw is damaged or worn, replace it with a new set screw.
Test the door knob to ensure that it is working properly. Make sure to tighten loose door knobs as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on the screws and door knob assembly.