By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We’ve been RVing for nearly 35 years and we still fall into the “Learn something new every day” category. Sometimes it’s nearly an embarrassment to recognize how little you know. We’re sharing a “new thing” for us, and maybe it’ll be new for you. This “new to us” may spare you a bit of humbling, or it could actually spare a life.
The other day, the beautiful one of this team was snoozing. The other side had to run out on an errand. Wanting to ensure her security, he decided to lock the door. Outside, with the door closed, he put the key in the deadbolt keyhole. He flipped the key (as normal) to the left – to lock. He then simply pulled the key out of the lock (not normal). Off he went on his merry way. On return, he got involved in some sort of outdoor project, and paid no notice to the rig. That was until a banging and shouting sound came from within.
The beautiful one was inside, in a small amount of distress, as she couldn’t get the door unlocked.
If you’re experienced, you’ve likely already figured out the problem. When the mister went out the door and locked it, he didn’t return the key to the “center” position before removing the key. Instead, he flipped the key left, in this case to “locked,” and then pulled the key straight out of the keyhole. Doing so, he set the deadbolt to not respond to anything but the key. Attempting to flip the deadbolt lever from inside yielded nothing. In the photo, the lock at the left had the key removed while “locked.” This ensured nobody could unlock the deadbolt from inside. With the key removed while at center position, the deadbolt is locked, but from inside the door can be opened by flipping the deadbolt.
Happily this “lightbulb” experience didn’t come to grief. If in his absence something bad happened – a fire for example – the only way out of the rig would have been through an emergency exit. A serious situation, indeed.
We’re excusing this sudden flash of “new light” to inexperience. Yes, 30-some years of RVing, a good bit of it as full-timers, should have wised us up. But for 30-plus of those years, we’ve never owned an RV with this type of door lock system. The rig came to us preowned, and no manual covering door locks came with it.
After head-scratching on this for a while, it finally seemed to dawn as to why this type of “paddle” door lock works this way. Brain reasoned: If you’re in-and-out, or someone is in the rig, locking the deadbolt, then returning the key to the center position before removing it allows the dead bolt to be actuated from inside. Good for safety of occupants. If leaving the rig unattended, lock the deadbolt from outside, and pull they key without turning it back to center. The deadbolt is decidedly secure, and if some bad guy breaks out the door relight, they can reach inside but won’t be able to flip the deadbolt open – adding a bit of additional security to your rolling castle.
But, here we go with “Learn something new every day – TAKE TWO.” A sharp-eyed reader spotted this story a few hours after it went live. John told me, very politely, that no, this isn’t the way your lock is supposed work. Rather, it sounded to him as if we had a lock set that was under recall. Sure enough! Some lock sets from several years’ worth of products from Fastec Industrial apparently had a glitch. It was NOT the intent that the deadbolt latch should ever not be able to be opened from the inside. The folks at Fastec are sending us a recall kit, which we’re told will take about five minutes to make our lock system safe for occupants.
Take a minute. Take out your keys. Go and check your door lock system to ensure you don’t have a defective and unsafe lock. If you find that you can remove your key from the lock in the 9:00 position, follow this link to the recall notice and full information on how to put yourself to right. And thanks, John, for “unlocking” more possibilities!