Smart Lock Maintenance: A Troubleshooting Guide

Jack Bowcott
January 28, 2021
A failed smart lock can be a nightmare for your guests. This smart lock maintenance guide will show you how to fix the most common problems.

Things always seem to go wrong at the worst possible times. Your car won't start when it's 10-below and you're already running late for work. Your air condition conks out on the first day the temperature tops 100 degrees. Your dryer won't heat when you need your favorite pants to dry in time for that special date. That said, there’s never really a good time for something to go wrong. Learn the basics of Smart Lock repair on this guide!

The law of averages means your smart locks will give out at some point when company technical support isn't available, and your guests are left stranded outside their room just when they are ready to go to bed.

Therefore, it's good business practice to understand how your smart locks work and the potential problems that could keep them from functioning. This step-by-step guide will provide solutions to those problems so you and your staff can take care of your guests' needs immediately.

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries

By far, the most common problem you'll encounter with your smart lock is battery failure.

Most companies recommend an annual battery change schedule, but for a busy hotel or hostel, you might want to make that a more common practice, such as every three or four months. It’s important to follow the company’s recommended products—don’t be cheap on the battery.

While this might help avoid the problem to begin with, you're always going to encounter a faulty battery that can't hold its charge or, worse yet, begins to corrode.

Many smart locks are equipped with a backup system that allows you to plug in an alternate battery or even a smartphone to get enough juice to trip the lock. If your lock has such a feature, you should be prepared with the proper backup battery and needed cable to act quickly.

Then make sure you check the battery when you have a longer time window. You especially don't want a corroded battery that could be causing further damage to the electronic workings of your smart lock.

Smart Lock Batteries

Failure in the Ether

The next most common issue involves loss of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal so your customer's device is unable to communicate with the lock.

You can test your Wi-Fi by putting your own personal device in airplane mode, connecting to the Wi-Fi network and seeing if you can access a website through your browser. If you operate your own Wi-Fi system, you might need to reset your Wi-Fi router or modem to reestablish the signal. Sometimes power surges can knock them offline.

If you use a Wi-Fi service provider, you may need to contact their support service, which is typically available 24-7, to re-establish service.

Bluetooth issues typically occur when the smart lock is not picking up the customer's Bluetooth signal. In such a case, the customer should turn off Bluetooth momentarily, then turn it back on so it will scan and detect connectable devices.

If you continually have Bluetooth connection problems, you may need to move your Bluetooth antenna closer to the lock as the signal only carries about 10-15 feet.

Smart Lock Mechanical Problems

Mechanical Problems

Since each company's locks work differently, you should keep your owner's manual handy and familiarize yourself with the lock's operation and features.

As with many electronic devices, a simple reboot might fix what's ailing a smart lock. The way to signal a reboot is to disconnect the power source and restart it. Normally, this can be done by removing a battery and reinserting it. The lock will cycle through its startup procedure and hopefully get back to work.

Other times, a lock might need to be recalibrated, particularly if it shows it's in the locked position when it's unlocked, or vice versa. This usually can be fixed by manually realigning the lock's hardware, but you should be careful and follow the manufacturer's directions for doing this.

Alignment issues can also affect a lock's performance, just as they would with any standard lock. An electronic lock will have a safe stop if it is unable to move a deadbolt or lock into position so it doesn't burn out its circuits.

Some locks are affected if they are installed too tightly in the door. This can be fixed by simply loosening the screws a quarter of a turn, giving the lock a little wiggle room.

If a deadbolt or latch is hitting the striker plate at the wrong alignment, this will prevent the smart lock from locking the door. You will probably see scratches on the top or bottom of the striker plate, latch, or deadbolt if the metal is striking metal. If you can't see the scratches, you can mark the top and bottom edge of the latch or deadbolt with a dry-erase marker and see where the marker is transferring to the strike plate when you attempt to lock the door.

A couple of issues could be causing such an alignment problem:

  • The hinges are coming loose on the door, causing it to hang improperly—tightening any loose hinges should fix this problem.
  • Your building may be settling, which can cause doorways to go slightly out of square. In severe cases, the door will drag at the top or bottom.
  • If the change is slight, you can likely fix the issue by moving the striker plate up or down a fraction of an inch.
  • These types of issues can arise in an older building that has been converted into a hostel or bed and breakfast.

Understanding the basics of how your smart locks work and how to troubleshoot the inevitable problems that will arise will keep you from relying too heavily on customer support. More importantly, knowing your locks will help you keep your customers satisfied by providing quick fixes to any issues that lock them out of their rooms.

Goki Smart Locks have proven to be a reliable option for businesses that rely on customer satisfaction, with minimal need for staff troubleshooting. If you're looking for a low-maintenance smart lock system for your hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast, click on the button below to discuss the best smart lock solutions for your business.

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Jack Bowcott