March 27, 2020 | HFerris | Blog

How to Fix a Loose Door Handle


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Unfortunately, loose door handles and doorknobs is an often occurrence with all the wear and tear that is daily put upon these household items. Whenever the handle pulls away, jiggles, or just keeps turning with no purpose, you know it’s only a matter of time before it stops working completely and a door handle repair will  be needed!

Fortunately, we have put together this helpful guide to help you know how to fix those broken door handles and pesky knobs so that they can be in working order!

*disclaimer, these are some helpful tips if you want to attempt to fix your door handle yourself. We would always suggest calling in a professional where possible to prevent further damage to the door.


Reasons Why Doorknobs or Handles Can Become Loose

There are multiple reasons why a door handle or doorknob might become loose, these can include:

  • Wear and tear of time can cause the door handle or doorknob to become wobbly or loose so that it needs adjustments to be made tight again.

  • It is an older mechanism and has been subjected to a build-up of dirt, dust and other pollutants that may affect the operation of the handle or lock.

  • There might be a missing screw or a screw loose in the door plate.

  • There might be an issue with the handle or doorknob mechanism malfunctioning

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The Different Types of uPVC Handles

There are 2 common variations of a uPVC handle: Top Screw Below and Top Screw Above which can then be configured either Lever Lever or Lever Pad.

Top Screw Above and Top Screw Below refer to the placement of where the top screw is on the door handle, whereas Lever Lever and Level Pad refer to the shape of the handle.


Top Screw Below uPVC Door Handles

This uPVC door handle is slightly shorter and features a screw at the bottom of the handle plate and a screw just underneath the actual handle. Top Screw Below handles tend to all be the same dimensions so can be easily interchanged with other handles of the same type.


Top Screw Above uPVC Door Handles

This uPVC handle is slightly longer than the Top Screw Below handle and can come in various sizes. There are 2 screws on this handle, one at the base of the plate and one at the top. If you wish to change or replace this type of handle you must properly measure the handle with 3 measurements.


1st Measurement (also known as PZ) is taken from the centre of the handle to the centre of the keyhole. The most common measurement found is 92mm.


2nd Measurement is the distance between the 2 handle screws.


3rd Measurement is the total length of the handle. Although not important for replacing the handle, this measurement is important to ensure that any new handle will cover the area where the old handle sat.


Lever Lever

A Lever Lever configuration is the general standard on most uPVC doors with a straight lever on each side of the door which held and turned down to open the door.


Lever Pad

Although not as common, this is where the door has a different shaped lever on one side of the door (usually on the outside). One lever is shorter and wider than the other making more of a ‘pad’ shape, hence the name. Often the side which has the pad handle will have a lower PZ (the measurement between the centre of the handle and the keyhole) as it will sit lower on the handle plate.


Popular Types of Doorknobs

Exposed set-screw Doorknob

This doorknob has a set of exposed screws which secure the handle to the threaded spindle and is often the most common way of attaching a doorknob. This version is often easier to tighten up a loose doorknob over that of a concealed screw doorknob as you can easily see how the doorknob is secured into place and how all the parts will fit together.


Hidden screw Doorknob

Although the screws cannot be seen there are still screws holding the doorknob to the spindle, much like the exposed set-screw doorknob. The major difference between the two is that all of the screws that hold together the doorknob are concealed behind a cosmetic faceplate.


uPVC Door Handles and How to Fix Them


Why is my uPVC Door Handle Loose?

If your uPVC door handle is loose when the door is shut, the most common cause is a faulty uPVC Gearbox. Other causes might be that the spring cassette in the handle has become loose or that wear and tear on the door handle has caused it to become loose.


How Do I Repair This?

Unfortunately, as a loose handle is most likely caused by a worn out or faulty gearbox or irreversible wear and tear, it will need to be replaced. As an integral part of your door and home security, we would suggest that a professional Locksmith makes this change for you.

View our Locksmith Pricing Guide for more information about how much this can cost.


Why is my Door Handle Spinning?

If a handle spins, it usually means that a screw is loose, or the handle is not tightened to the internal spindle properly. Click here for more information on tightening a handle!


How Do I Repair This?

Get a screwdriver and make sure that all of the screws on the handle are tightened. Read our step by step guide below.

Click here to know how to tighten door handles with hidden screws!


How Do You Remove a uPVC Door Handle?

With the door in the open position, use a screwdriver to remove the screws from the handle casing. Once the screws are removed you can gently pull the inside and outside handle apart. Once the handles are off, you should then remove the spindle (a rod of metal that is long enough to connect the two handles together).


Is it Easy to Replace a uPVC Door Handle?

With a bit of technical know-how, replacing a uPVC door handle can be easy. With the old handle and spindle removed, you put the new spindle in place ensuring that this is done gently. Once the new spindle is in place, simply place the new handle on top and screw it into place (making sure not to over tighten the screws). Repeat the installation of the handle on the other side of the door and your new handle is installed!


Why is my uPVC Door Handle Stiff?

To lock most uPVC doors, you will need to lift the handle up to engage the locking points in the door. Lifting the handle up should be smooth and easy to do, if it isn’t then your lock might be at risk of breaking.


How Do I Fix a Stiff uPVC Handle?

When the door is open, use a 3 in 1 oil lubricant at the points where the bolts shoot out. This may be at 3 or 5 points down the door, but as you lubricant the bolts make sure to lift the handle up and down gently so that the oil is worked into the bolt mechanisms. Once completed close the door and test the handle, it should now be smooth.

If this doesn’t help at all it may be worth calling out a Locksmith to come and evaluate the door as the door as a whole door might be misaligned or there might be an underlying issue with the locking mechanism.


How Do you Fix a Door Handle or Doorknob?

Step 1: Remove the handle or doorknob

If you cannot immediately see the issue the best course of action will be to remove the handle completely.

With exposed screws, you can simply locate the screw and loosen it using an Allen key or a screwdriver. Once all screws have been removed, you should then be able to remove the handle or doorknob.

If you have a handle or doorknob that has hidden screws, you will need to locate the detent access hole. The detent hole is spring-activated with a pin that sticks out to prevent the handle or knob from twisting on the door. You will need to use a flathead screwdriver to be able to press down on the pin. Once this has been done you should be able to spin the shaft which will enable you to remove the knob or handle.


Step 2: Remove the base

After removing the handle or doorknob the next step is to remove the base from the door. To remove the base, you’ll need to take a flathead screwdriver and try to slowly pry the ring loose. Be sure to be careful when removing the base as not to damage the backing plate. Should the backing plate be damaged it can stop the handle from ever going back on properly and you will need to call out a Locksmith.


Step 3: Identify the screws and tighten

After removing the base, you should be able to see a set of screws, which most likely will need to be tightened. These screws run through the door and into the backing plate which is what holds the handle or doorknob together. Whist carefully holding the backing plate carefully tighten each screw.


Step 4: Reposition the base and restore the handle

After you have tightened the screws, you can put the base back onto the backing plate by clipping it into place. Once the base is in place you can place the handle or doorknob on the spindle shaft in order to line up the holes with either the screw holes (if you have visible screws) or the detent (should you have hidden screws).

The last step is to replace any exposed screws and you are finished with hopefully a fixed door handle or doorknob!


What to do if a Doorknob is Loose?

Many people ask “how to fix a loose door knob?”. If a doorknob loosely spins on the spindle, the cause is usually that a set-screw similar to a grub screw, has loosened up and has lost its grip on the handle spindle. To adjust the screw or Allen key, look around the collar on the doorknob to identify the loose screw and using the appropriate screwdriver tighten the screws.

If a screw has been lost, you can take the doorknob to a hardware store to find a replacement.


DIY or Hire a Locksmith?

Depending on your skill level, repairing a door handle could be a fun weekend activity that challenges your knowledge, or it could become a nightmare of a situation where you could actually end up worse than before!


Why Should You Hire a Locksmith?

  • Guarantee that the problem will be fixed

  • Saves time, frustration, and energy

  • Can provide extra advice on maintenance and upkeep

  • Should a mechanism or lock need to be replaced it can be done immediately whilst the Locksmith is on site



  • Requires times and patience
  • Risk of the door handle not being repaired correctly
  • May require a range of tools
  • Inexperience could make the situation worse


So, whether your door handle is sagging, your door knob has a loose spindle, or your door handle only opens up but isn’t working correctly, the guide above has top tips to help you fix any issues you might have when searching how to fix a loose door handle! Whether you decide to tackle the repair yourself or hire a Locksmith, there are many benefits to contracting your Local Locksmith to help you repair a loose door handle that’s not working. Not only will you get first class customer service but are guaranteed the issue to be rectified.