How Do You Re Key A Lock? A Comprehensive Guide

how do you re key a lock

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Rekeying a lock is a valuable skill for homeowners, landlords, and anyone interested in home security. This guide will walk you through the steps of rekeying a lock, helping you understand when and how it should be done, the tools required, and the complexities involved.

Why Rekey a Lock?

Rekeying a lock involves changing the internal workings of a lock so that old keys will no longer work and new keys will operate the lock. This is particularly useful in scenarios where keys are lost or stolen, or when moving into a new home and ensuring that old tenants or owners do not have access.

Tools and Materials Needed

To rekey a lock, you’ll need a few basic locksmith tools. These include:

  • A key decoder
  • A cylinder follower
  • A rekeying kit specific to the lock brand
  • Tweezers
  • Lubricant
  • New key pins

Step-by-Step Guide to Rekeying a Lock

Step 1: Remove the Lock

First, remove the lock from the door. This usually involves unscrewing the lock cylinder from the door hardware.

Step 2: Disassemble the Cylinder

Once the lock is removed, use the cylinder follower to push the cylinder plug out of the cylinder housing. Be careful to keep the pins and springs from flying out.

Step 3: Remove the Old Pins

Use a key decoder to find the current key pin sizes. Remove the old pins and place them aside.

Step 4: Insert the New Pins

Match the new key pins to the new key according to the pin chart in the rekeying kit. Insert them carefully using tweezers.

Step 5: Reassemble the Lock

After inserting the new pins, reinsert the cylinder plug into the housing. Ensure everything is aligned correctly and the new key turns smoothly.

Step 6: Replace the Lock on the Door

Put the rekeyed lock back into the door. Tighten all screws and test the lock with the new key to ensure it operates correctly.

how do you re key a lock

Step Tool Needed Action Performed Tips
1 Screwdriver Remove the lock from the door Keep track of all screws
2 Cylinder follower Remove the cylinder from the housing Apply gentle pressure
3 Key decoder Determine old pin sizes Double-check sizes for accuracy
4 Tweezers, Pins Insert new key pins according to the new key cut Use tweezers for precision
5 Cylinder follower Reinsert the cylinder plug into the cylinder housing Ensure no pins are misaligned
6 Screwdriver Attach the lock back to the door Test the lock multiple times

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you rekey any type of lock?

Yes, most pin tumbler locks can be rekeyed, which are commonly found in residential and commercial properties. However, some high-security locks and electronic locks require specific procedures or cannot be rekeyed.

How often should I rekey my locks?

It’s wise to rekey your locks whenever you move into a new property, lose your keys, or after a burglary. It’s also prudent to consider rekeying if you’ve shared your keys with contractors or service providers.

Is it expensive to rekey a lock?

Rekeying is generally less expensive than replacing a lock. It only involves changing the internal pins of the lock, not the entire locking mechanism. For professional rekeying services, consider contacting NonStop Locksmith in Kansas City.

Can I rekey a lock myself or should I hire a professional?

While DIY rekeying kits are available, the process can be intricate and requires precision. For guaranteed results, hiring a professional like NonStop Locksmith ensures that the lock is rekeyed correctly and your property is secure.


Rekeying is a cost-effective and secure way to ensure that your locks are updated without the need for complete replacements. Whether you are managing a rental property, have moved into a new home, or simply need to upgrade your security, rekeying your locks is a smart choice. For those in Kansas City looking for expert locksmith services, do not hesitate to contact us. NonStop Locksmith offers comprehensive locksmith services throughout the Kansas City area, including emergency lockout solutions, making new car keys without the original, and much more. Trust us to keep your home secure with our dependable and timely service.

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