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What is a Lock Sleeve?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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A lock sleeve is a device that contains the inner workings of a lock or provides the means to fasten one object to another. The tumblers and the lock cylinder or barrel fit inside the lock sleeve. There are different style lock sleeve assemblies for many different applications, but they all serve to fulfill a single function: to house the workings of a locking mechanism and to fasten an object in place.

The lock sleeve on an automobile ignition is typically cast of aluminum. The sleeve plays host to the ignition switch and resides inside of the steering column. The lock sleeve contains machined grooves and notches that the ignition switch fastens into with snap rings. If the sleeve begins to show wear, the ignition switch will begin to stick and the sleeve will require replacement.

Many machines employ the use of a locking sleeve. The movable tail stock on a lathe incorporates a lock sleeve into the tail stock. The handle that tightens the tail stock and loosens it so that it can be slid up and down the lathe's frame work passes through the sleeve lock. The lock in this particular application contains the workings of a mechanism that wedges tightly against the frame of the lathe.

The sleeve in an entry door, such as the front door of a home, contains the locking mechanism. This type of sleeve is typically formed from stamped metal and rests within the doorknob assembly. The lock sleeve contains the tumblers and inner workings of the door locking mechanism and provides a perfectly sized container for the assembly to operate within.

Lock sleeves are also an intricate part of some electrical systems. The light connector plug assembly on the rear of an automobile enlists the use of a locking sleeve to mount the plug to the vehicle's hitch. The wiring passes through the lock sleeve and is attached to the plug. The plug is then placed into the mounting hole of the mounting bracket for the plug in connector. The sleeve is then pushed tightly against the bracket and the plug connector is slid into the sleeve. The sleeve is tightened to the plug and effectively sandwiches the assembly to the mounting bracket holding it in place.

There are many uses for a lock sleeve, but they all perform a basic function. Some sleeves are manufactured from metal while others are made from plastic. Depending upon the intended use, some may have protective covers or weatherproof capabilities.

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