Door Handle Only Works On One Side (How to Fix)

Having a door handle that only works on one side can be frustrating and inconvenient. Misaligned door latches, damaged components, loose or broken screws, internal mechanism jams, and improper installation are some common possible causes. It can prevent easy access from both sides of the door and disrupt the functionality of the door.

In this article, we will explore the possible causes of this issue and provide practical solutions to fix a door handle that only works on one side.

Door Handle Only Works On One Side

Why The Door Handle Is Not Working On Both Sides?

Before jumping into the fixes, it is important to understand the possible reasons why a door handle only works on one side. This can be due to several factors such as a misaligned latch, a broken internal mechanism, or loose screws. For that, first, you have to get a clear idea of how door handles work. You can watch the following video to get a clear knowledge of how a door handle works: How does a Door Handle work?

Understanding the underlying causes will help you troubleshoot the issue and restore the functionality of your door handle.

  1. Misaligned Door Latch: One of the primary reasons for a door handle only working from one side is a misaligned door latch. If the latch doesn’t properly engage with the strike plate on the door frame, it can prevent the handle from operating smoothly. 
  2. Damaged or Worn Components: Over time, the internal components of a door handle, such as the spindle or mechanism, can become damaged or worn out. This can result in the handle only working from one side. In such cases, replacing the faulty components with new ones is often the most effective solution. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance to ensure you choose the correct replacement parts.
  3. Loose or Broken Screws: Loose or broken screws can also cause a door handle to malfunction. Check all the screws that secure the handle to the door and ensure they are tight and intact. If any screws are loose or broken, replace them with new ones of the appropriate size and length. This will help ensure the handle is securely attached and operates smoothly from both sides.
  4. Internal Mechanism Jam: Sometimes, the internal mechanism of the door handle can get jammed, preventing it from functioning properly. This can occur due to dirt, debris, or even a foreign object lodged inside. Try cleaning the internal components of the handle with a soft cloth and remove any obstructions. Applying a lubricant designed for door hardware can also help restore smooth operation.
  5. Improper Installation: If the door handle was recently installed or replaced, there is a possibility of incorrect installation. Double-check the installation instructions and ensure that all components are correctly aligned and securely attached. Improper installation can cause the handle to work only from one side. If necessary, reinstall the handle following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Troubleshooting Steps to fix the Door Handle Problem

Dealing with a jammed door handle that won’t work on one side can be frustrating, but with this step-by-step guide, you can troubleshoot and fix the problem. 

  1. Remove the Door Handle: To access the internal components, you’ll need to remove the door handle. Look for screws or bolts holding the handle in place and use a screwdriver or an appropriate tool to unscrew them. Gently detach the handle from the door.
  2. Inspect the Latch Mechanism: With the door handle removed, closely inspect the latch mechanism. Look for any visible signs of damage, wear, or misalignment. Check if the latch is extending and retracting smoothly. Adjust the Latch Plate If the latch plate is misaligned, it can prevent the door handle from operating properly. Loosen the screws holding the latch plate in place and adjust its position slightly to align it with the strike plate on the door frame. Tighten the screws securely once the adjustment is made. here’s a tutorial on how to fix your damaged latch: How To repair a faulty broken Door Handle Latch
  3. Lubricate the Mechanism: Apply a lubricant specifically designed for door hardware, such as graphite powder or silicone spray, to the internal components of the latch mechanism. This will help reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the lubricant.
  4. Check for Loose Screws: Loose screws can affect the stability and functionality of the door handle. Inspect all the screws, including those on the latch mechanism, strike plate, and door handle, and tighten them as necessary. Ensure they are securely fastened but avoid overtightening, as it can strip the screw holes.
  5. Test the Door Handle: Once you have completed the necessary adjustments and lubrication, reattach the door handle and test its functionality. Turn the handle on both sides to ensure it operates smoothly and effectively. Verify that the latch extends and retracts properly when the handle is turned.
  6. Seek Professional Assistance: if Needed If you have followed the above steps and the door handle still only works on one side, or if you encounter complex issues during the process, it may be best to seek professional assistance. A locksmith or door hardware specialist can provide expertise and ensure that the problem is resolved effectively.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions and Answers)

Can a faulty door handle be repaired?

Yes, many faulty door handles can be repaired by addressing the underlying cause, such as misalignment or damaged components. However, if the handle is extensively damaged, it may need to be replaced.

What should I do if tightening the screws doesn’t fix the problem? 

If tightening the screws on the door handle doesn’t resolve the issue, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance from a locksmith or door hardware technician.

How often should I clean and lubricate my door handle? 

It’s recommended to clean and lubricate your door handle once or twice a year. However, if you experience stiffness or difficulty turning the handle, more frequent maintenance may be necessary.

Can I fix a jammed door handle myself?  

Fixing a jammed door handle yourself is possible in some cases, but if you’re unsure or lack experience, it’s advisable to consult a professional to avoid causing further damage or compromising security.


A door handle that only works from one side can be frustrating, but understanding the common reasons behind this issue can help you troubleshoot and resolve it. By following the suggested solutions, such as adjusting the strike plate, replacing damaged components, tightening screws, cleaning the handle, and ensuring proper installation, you can restore the functionality of your door handle and enjoy convenient access from both sides.

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