Simple Steps to Rekeying Your Lock

Posted on: 4 January 2016

Is your lock easy-to-pick? Have you recently lost a set of house keys? Do you need a different lock to keep someone out that may have access to your home? Were you the victim of a recent break-in?

If any of these questions apply to you, rekeying (or altering a lock to fit a different key) is the perfect solution to your problems. It is a relatively simple process, and while most homeowners hire a locksmith for the job, you shouldn't have a problem doing it yourself for a fraction of the cost. While rekeying does result in the need for a new key, the process doesn't involve removing and replacing the entire assembly; instead, you will be changing the tumbler or configuration of the existing lock, so that it doesn't fit the old key.


The first step to a successful rekeying is gathering the proper tools. This generally means a rekeying kit from the manufacturer of your lock and a screwdriver to fit the screws that attach your lock to your front door. The kit will have all of the specialty tools necessary.

Removing the Exterior Assembly

Next, using your screwdriver, remove the doorknob and lock face to give you easier access to the interior locking mechanism. Once this area is exposed, find the brass tube in your rekeying kit to remove the cylinder protecting the lock. Once this is done, you can also use the cylinder retainer ring remover to take this piece away from the inner workings of the lock as well.

The Cylinder Plug

At this point, you can also remove the cylinder plug by inserting the current key, letting the pins align in their respective positions, and using the plug follower to remove the cylinder plug entirely. During this step, it is important to watch the pins to ensure their springs stay in the correct place and are even with each other.

Configuring the New Key

With the hooked tool in your kit, remove the old lower lock pins that are specific to your current key. Then, insert the new key into the cylinder; this will cause the remaining pins in the cylinder to adapt to the new key and create a guide for the placement of the newer pins. These can then be inserted through the top of the cylinder plug (while the new key is still in the lock), and your specific key should have a more in-depth guide on correctly executing this process.


The last step is, by far, the easiest— reassembly. After replacing the cylinder plug, shaft, and doorknob, your lock is good as new and will only accept the new key.