Why fix a gate latch, is it really important? A gate that won’t latch properly is like having no gate at all. It creates all manner of problems. You can’t let your dog out to play in the back yard because it will go into the neighbor’s yard. It might end up doing its ‘business’ there too!  

The gate may also swing back and forth and the noise the hinge makes can be quite irritating. This movement will also wear out the hinges.

Security is compromised when your gate won’t latch. If you have a gate, then you most likely have precious possessions to protect. When it doesn’t latch properly, this may look like a pretty good invitation to burglars.

Thus when you experience this problem, it is always good to fix it immediately. It is quite simple to do and takes a short time.

How to fix it

Tools required

You’ll require a few basic tools in order to fix your latch. These include a a screw driver, power drill, a 5/16 drill bit, a gate latch cable ideally made of steel. When you purchase the gate latch cable get the package with the spring and the spring cap.


  • First drill a hole directly above the latch on the 2 x 4. Try and center the hole where you drill it. This is where the cable will pass through.
  • Once you are satisfied with the hole, remove the spring cap and the spring from the cable. Now pull the cable through the hole that you drilled so that you have one portion on one side and the handle on the other side.
  • Next you’ll push the spring cap back onto the cable and down against the 2 x 4. It should fit snugly onto the hole that you drilled.
  • After this, put the spring onto the cable and push it back as well. The spring cup should be facing you so that you push the end of the spring into it.
  • To connect the latch to the clevis you’ll need a flat head screw driver. This is just for the purpose of pushing the clevis open so that you can slip the latch in via the hole. Use the screw driver to gently push one side of the clevis and twist. Then slip the latch in and release the clevis.
  • Now test the latch. Go to the other side of the gate and pull on the cable. The gate should open easily.

Other tips

While fixing this problem will not solve security challenges, you may have other options. One of these is to install a slide bolt on the inside of your gate. This will give you the added feature of being able to secure your home from within.

If you don’t fancy the idea of a slide bolt, you can place a clip on the hole in the latch on the inside to keep unwanted guests out. Sometimes your latch will have a hole big enough to fit a padlock.

It is thus quite easy to fix your gate latch so that it works properly and can be opened from the outside. There are many options in the market for gate latches and cables. Just remember to get a cable with a spring and cap. If you are not savvy with tools, get a professional to do this small job for you.

Video – How to fix a gate latch