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How to Fix a Loose Lever Door Handle? – A Detailed Guide

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to fix a loose lever door handle

Lever handles have moving parts inside, making it easy and convenient for people to access their doors. However, sooner or later, they can become loose on one side due to wear and tear or accidents.

When you have a loose lever handle, it might not work how it should. It can’t open your door, or it sticks or slips, or worse, it keeps falling off.

Here’s how to fix a loose lever door handle quickly with easy steps that everyone can do.

Steps to Fix a Loose Lever Handle


If you are going to tighten a loose lever-style door handle by yourself, you will need some tools. Here are the things that you should prepare:

  • Thin Allen wrench
  • 3/64 flathead screwdriver

Follow the steps below to fix a loose lever handle on any door quickly.

Step 1: Locate & inspect the screws


Before fixing a loose lever handle, you might want to identify first to see whether the doorknob comes with or without visible screws.

Sometimes, you can easily find the screws right on the faceplate. However, certain types of door handles, like when a Schlage lever door handle is loose, may use a detent access pin or sometimes a hole, usually found hidden on the side.

Then, see if you can find a set screw on the bottom. It’s a mechanism that holds the door handle in place, preventing it from opening up or coming off the door.

Step 2: Unscrew the handle


  • If the screws were installed through the faceplate of the door handle, simply remove them using a screwdriver.
  • Can’t find any visible screws or pins? Then, you must remove the base plate first to get to the part with hidden screws.

Remember the access hole? Insert a flathead or anything small enough into the hole and press the metallic detent pin. If the pin is exposed, push it. This will release the door handle.

Then, slowly detach the lever handle from the door and release the pin simultaneously. That should remove the handle, allowing access to the ring on the base. Pry the bottom off and access the screws.

Note: There could be two access holes on both sides, be sure to remove them to loosen the base.

Step 3: Inspect the components


Once all the screws are removed, you can access the parts inside of a door knob. Scrutinize each component to determine which causes the problem.

In most cases, it’s the screws or some misaligned parts. However, broken or worn-out components could also be the cause.

Look closely at your screws and check for any defects on the screws’ tip, thread, or shank that affect their ability to tighten appropriately.

Step 4: Realign or replace parts


Depending on the problems you find, resort to the most viable solutions. Defected screws or parts should be replaced. A tip? A loose spindle could be the case.

Another common cause of loose lever door handles is misalignment. In this case, open and realign the components on both sides to relieve tension within the handle assembly. That’s how you fix a loose lever with no screws.

Step 5: Reinstall and tighten the lever handle on both sides


Once all parts are fixed, reinstall the faceplate. Don’t want the faceplate loose? Remember to screw it tightly. Make sure that the levers are correctly aligned on both sides.

Insert the screws, the base, and the handle, respectively. If you need to remove the base plate to access the screws, revert to the instruction in step 2 but reverse it. Lastly, reinstall the set screw that locks the handle in place.

Give your handles a few turns on both sides to ensure they’re correctly fixed.

What Causes Lever Handle to Loosen?


It’s important to know why you need to secure a lever door handle that is loose, as it will help you fix it. Here are four of the causes that make your lever handle loose:

  • Loose screws: If you’re wondering “Why has my door handle gone floppy?” Your answer can be found on the loose screws of your lever door handle.
  • Worn-out parts: If you are moving to an old house, expect that some of the door handles of the house are due for a doorknob repair, especially if it becomes loose.
  • Misaligned components: If one side of your door knob fell off, it might be caused by misaligned door handle components, which can happen during installation.
  • Damaged assembly: After a break-in attempt, your lever door handle might not work as it is supposed to since some of the parts of your door knob or handle have been broken.
  • Accumulated Dirt: If your Schlage lever door handle is loose, it might be caused by dirt accumulating inside your door handle, making it difficult for moving parts to move.

Tips to Avoid Loose Door Handles in the Future


A loose front door handle can become a hassle, especially if it affects your convenience. Here are some tips you want to follow to avoid having to repair a door handle that is loose in the future:

  • Regularly clean the exterior and interior door handle to remove accumulated dirt.
  • Lubricate the moving parts of your door handle with oil or graphite spray regularly.
  • Do maintenance on your door handle to prevent one side of the door knob to fall off.
  • Find replacement on door handles if your door handle already exceeds 25 years or more. In that case, don’t try to fix a floppy door handle.
  • Tighten the screws to make sure your door knob or lever handle won’t come off.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I Fix a Loose Lever Handle by Myself?

Instead of calling a repairman or locksmith, you can fix a loose lever handle that fell off. As long as you have the right materials and tools, you can tighten door handles without professional help.

If it’s your first time fixing a loose lever handle by yourself, you might want to read a guide just like this one so that you will not mess up the repairing process. You can also look at your door’s parts diagram to know which part goes in first.

Related: Price Range of Locksmiths

How Often Should I Maintain My Door Handle?

Door handles should be maintained once every six months to avoid having a loose door handle. Outdoor door handles should be maintained more often than indoor door handles.

To clean a door handle, use soap, water, and cloth to wipe off the dirt first and rinse it with water after. For the inner mechanism of your door handle, properly lubricate it with graphite spray or oil, which should be done once a month.


It’s important to be cautious and observant in looking for loopholes and inconsistencies in your home or business entry points, such as door assembly. These inconsistencies might get taken advantage of by people with evil intentions, threatening the security of you, your family, and your valuables.

Knowing how to fix a loose lever door handle lets you repair malfunctioning lever handles yourself. It not only saves you money from hiring a repairman, but it will also improve your handiness skills.

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