Change a House Door Lock: How to Rekey a Lock?

January 29, 2023

Fatima Buzdar

There are various reasons why you may need to change the locks on your doors. Whether you've recently moved into a new home or your key has been stolen, there are times when it is necessary to void the access of current keys. While replacing the lock with an entirely new one is a solution that gets the job done, it is an expensive procedure that is not always necessary.

Rekeying your lock is a much cheaper option that can meet most of your needs when it comes to changing the access of a lock to new keys. It involves replacing only the pins inside the internal mechanisms of a lock with new pins. This means that the old keys will no longer work with the new pins. Only the new key will be able to open the lock, giving you a cost-effective way to change the access.

If you're looking to save even more money, you can choose to take on the task yourself with a DIY approach. However, keep in mind that the procedure can be complex, and as a layperson, attempting to rekey your own lock may cause more trouble than it is worth. It is recommended to seek a professional locksmith's rekeying services instead.

With that in mind, let's find out how to rekey a lock and when rekeying the house locks is a good solution!

Reasons to Rekey a Lock

There are various reasons that may require you to change your lock. Rekeying the lock can often be a more economical and efficient solution. Reasons for rekeying a deadbolt lock may include:

  • Moving into a new home: When moving into a new home, it is recommended to have the locks rekeyed to ensure that no one has access to the property without your knowledge.
  • Lost keys: If keys have been lost, rekeying the lock can provide peace of mind that the keys cannot be associated with your home.
  • Stolen keys: If keys have been stolen, it is important to rekey the lock as soon as possible to prevent unauthorized access to the property.
  • Revoking access to someone: Whether it is an ex-roommate or ex-partner, rekeying the lock can prevent unwelcome previous occupants from entering the property.
  • Keyed alike locks: If you want multiple locks in your home to operate with the same key, then rekeying the locks can allow you to use a single master key for all the locks.

It is important to keep in mind that rekeying a lock may not always be the best solution. If the lock has been tampered with or has worn down over time, it may be necessary to replace the lock entirely. A lock in a good condition is crucial for the security of your property.

Additionally, if you do not have a spare key for the lock, a lock replacement may be necessary as the current key is an important part of the rekeying process. A locksmith can craft a new key for the current lock pins even without a key through impressioning the lock. However, it is not worth it in this case.

Should You DIY Rekeying a Lock?

Can rekeying your front door be your next DIY project to dive into? Perhaps, but it is important to consider whether or not it is the right decision for you. While the process may seem simple, rekeying a lock is a complex procedure that requires a certain level of knowledge and attention to detail. You need to obtain the right tools and know how to utilize them properly through the intricate inner workings of the lock.

If you're not confident in your abilities or if the rekeying process is urgent, it may be best to hire a professional locksmith. These experts are highly skilled in working with locks and have the knowledge and tools to quickly and efficiently rekey your lock. Plus, many locksmiths offer 24/7 services, so you can count on them to be there when you need them even at odd hours.

With that in mind, if you are still up for the challenge to rekey your home's lock, then it is important to do your research and be prepared before you begin. This article will give you some insight to work with.

Close-up of a lock cylinder and pins

How to Rekey a Deadbolt Door Lock: Step-By-Step Guide

Want to learn how to rekey a lock so that you can rekey house locks? This guide will help you prepare.

Step 1: Obtain a Rekey Kit

The first step is to purchase a rekey kit. These kits typically come with new pins, multiple keys that can operate the new pins, specialized tools and an instructional manual to guide through the process of rekeying locks You can purchase rekeying kits from various hardware stores and online retailers.

It is important to note that rekeying kits are not universal. Different brands of locks may be compatible with specific rekey kits. Before purchasing a kit, be sure to check the compatibility with the lock brand.

Step 2: Take Off the Door Knob

Now that you have the rekey kit, you can begin the rekeying process. To start off, you need to remove the doorknob. This is necessary in order to access the lock cylinder and make the necessary changes to the pins.

The process of removing the door knob can vary depending on the manufacturer and model of your lock. The wire tool included in your rekeying kit should be sufficient to easily remove the knob from the handle. You can also try using an unbent paper clip.

To remove the door knob, look for a small hole on the knob. This hole allows you to access the clip that holds the knob in place. Insert the wire tool into the hole and press down on the clip. Once the clip is depressed, the knob should come off easily.

If the above method doesn't work due to variation in the removal process for your specific door knob, you may need to refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 3: Remove the Lock Cylinder

Now that you have access to the cylinder, the next step is to remove it. This should generally be easy to do. First, you will need to remove the sleeve that covers the cylinder. To do this, simply push the cylinder through the back of the knob assembly, which will remove the sleeve and allow you to proceed with taking out the cylinder.

However, some knobs may have a cap on the back that needs to be unscrewed before you can remove the cylinder.

Once this step is done, you will then need to remove the C-shaped clip from the cylinder. This is a retaining ring that holds the cylinder in place. The rekeying kit comes with a tool, similar to a wrench, to assist in popping off the clip.

Step 4: Remove the Cylinder Plug

Now that you have removed the cylinder, it is time to remove its plug to access the pins so that you can replace them. To do this, you will need the current key of the lock and a plug follower, a small cylindrical tool that comes with the rekey kit.

Insert the key and turn it within the keyhole to separate the upper and lower pins. Then, push the plug follower into the cylinder while applying constant pressure, so that the upper pins and springs do not fall out. As the plug follower moves through the cylinder, it will engage with the cylinder plug and push it out of the lock.

If any springs or upper pins fall out during the process, make sure to pick them up and insert them back later on with tweezers. 

Step 5: Dispose of the Lower Pins From the Lock

Now that you can see the pins, you can proceed to take out all the lower pins. Let the upper pins remain in their place, as they are not involved in the rekeying.

Step 6: Install the New Lower Pins

Now that you've removed the lower old pins, it is time to install the new ones. The rekey kit you purchased should come with a set of color-coded or number-coded pins and a chart to match them to their correct positions. This is crucial, as the pins must be positioned accurately to align and engage with the key.

Use tweezers or pliers to pick up each pin and carefully insert it into the cylinder in the correct orientation, following the instructions provided in the kit's manual.

Step 7: Reassemble the Lock and Knob

With the new pins in place, it is time to reassemble the lock and knob. The process is simply the reverse of what you did to take them apart.

Using the tools from the rekey kit, carefully place the cylinder plug back into the cylinder, and then reinsert the cylinder into the lock. Once that's done, reattach the knob to the door, ensuring that it is securely in place.

Step 8: Test the Lock

The final step is to test the reassembled lock to ensure that the procedure went smoothly and, most importantly, that the lock is robustly secure. Insert the new key into the lock and engage it back and forth to check that it is working smoothly and that the key is not having issues with turning within the lock. It is crucial for the rekeying process to have been done correctly, otherwise the lock can cause issues or even be insecure.

If anything seems off, then you will have to dive back into disassembling the lock and checking for errors. However, as you would dread, the troubleshooting procedure can be quite a headache for a layperson. If the procedure seems to have gone awry, then fret not and seek a professional's help!

A person inserting a cylinder into a lock

Get in Touch With Professional Locksmiths to Rekey Your Lock

Rekeying a lock is a great way to ensure your security and change who has access to your property. It involves changing the pins inside the lock so that different keys can operate it and old ones are no longer valid. While the process can be done by yourself after learning how to rekey locks, it can be hard as it requires attention to detail and some knowledge of locks.

To start, you will need to make sure you have the right rekey kit that is compatible with your lock. Then, you will need to remove the door knob and disassemble the cylinder to replace the pins with the new ones provided in the kit. Once you've done that, you will need to reassemble and reinstall the lock properly, and test it thoroughly to make sure the operation of lock works properly. Any mistake can lead to the lock operating poorly or even becoming insecure.

If you're unsure about the process or do not want to take the time and effort to do it yourself, consider hiring a professional locksmith. A locksmith can securely rekey house locks in a timely and efficient manner.

If you are seeking trustworthy and professional Brampton locksmith services, then look no further than Faster Locksmiths. We've been serving residents of Brampton for over 5 years and have a proven track record of providing excellent solutions for their locking needs. We will arrive promptly at your location, obtain the compatible rekeying kit based on your lock, and quickly replace the key pins and install the lock securely, so you can have peace of mind and a secure lock in no time!

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A quick look in to the question we are constantly asked.
You should get a professional locksmith to replace your lock because locksmiths have the skills and tools that the average person doesn’t own. Just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you are equipped to do a task that involves opening a lock or changing the key. For one thing, most people don’t own lock-picking sets or specialized tools like what a locksmith would have. These are tools that would give you access to a lot of safes and doors without having to damage them in any way.
A locksmith is a person who repairs or installs locks, and that's maily what we do. However, we are often called to provide other services as well, such as installing deadbolts, repairing broken keys, and providing security advice. The most common services that a locksmith provides are lock installation, lock repair, key duplication and key replacement. As a company, we expand upon the latter and also deal with other not-so-common household annoyances like garage door repair and installation, electric openers, patio sliding doors, emergency locksmith services, and many others
The fact that we’re not fast, but faster is certainly one of them, but there are also many more. Some of the benefits that we can provide you with include:
- We provide customer satisfaction through efficient customer service, fast and pleasant techs, fair prices, and quality locks and keys.
- Top quality products that we use. We keep abreast of the latest developments in the industry to make sure your home is fortified with the latest security products and that your locks are of the best quality.
- You get courtesy, reliable, and trustworthy service at all times.
In most cases, the best route is to swap out your old set of locks altogether. Older locks were typically made with a variety of simplistically cobbled together devices and even today, a great deal of shoddy craftsmanship is still seen. The best locksmiths in the industry will always direct you towards picking up a new set of locks and that’s because a trained professional is able to not only replace the parts that are broken, but make sure to outfit you with high end parts that will ensure you’re getting a much more secure locking solution that will last for well beyond the of your current doors.

Some situations, however, do allow for a repair instead of a replacement, but most of the times require from specialized equipment not generally available in the household.

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