How to Rekey Locks

Locking a drawer
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Re-key kit(s)
What You'll Need
Re-key kit(s)

Learn how to rekey locks the easy way. Whether it is a door lock, drawer lock, wardrobe lock or any other type, losing the keys keeps you in constant doubt as to who might find the keys and how that someone chooses to exercise the option of using those keys to open the lock. The mechanism of a key lock is very simple. It consists of a shaft with several springs and tiny pins.

The lower pins in this system, which are color coded, are the ones which make the difference in the key as they are supposed to match the notches in the key. Follow the simple instructions given below to dismantle and change the color coded pins to rekey your lock.

Re-key kits are available at hardware stores and online. Tools and keys are included in these kits.

Step 1 - Identify the Type and Brand

Check the type and brand of lock before you proceed because different companies offer specific rekey kits for their brands. Once you have identified the brand of lock to be rekeyed acquire the kit for it. Be sure you buy the right kit for the lock.

Step 2 - Remove Lock from its Fixed Position

The lock can be taken out by unscrewing the screws with a screwdriver. For a door knob, use the wire tool, included in the rekey kit. It is inserted into the hole on the knob. The clip is thus released and the knob easily comes out.

Step 3 - Removal of Lock Cylinder

The lock cylinder can be easily pushed out of the hole it is fixed inside. Use the retainer ring tool, which is included in the re-key kit, for this purpose.

Step 4 - Removal of Old Pins

pieces that make up a door lock

To remove the old pins insert the old key in the key hole and turn it at ninety degrees, either clockwise or anti clockwise. Now remove the key and use another tool in the rekey kit that is the plug follower tool to put pressure on the plug to release the old color coded pins which were according to the notches in your old key.

Be careful not to over apply pressure as this might make the springs pop out and you might lose them. In case such a situation occurs find all the springs and put them back where they belong. Instructions for it are mentioned in the manual provided with the rekey kit.

Step 5 - Insertion of New Pins

Insert the new key in the lock. Now carefully place the new pins in position in the cylinder with the tweezers. These new pins are colour coded and should be placed as per instructions in the kit. This is because if they are not placed correctly the notches of the key will not fit in.

So double check whether the new key inserts and rotates smoothly before you fit back the rekeyed lock system. If it does not rotate smoothly, go through the steps all over again since you might have missed some step while rekeying the lock.