Can I Rekey My Own Locks?
Can I rekey my own locks? Rekeying your home door locks can be done on your own using a kit, but hiring a professional locksmith has its benefits. A locksmith can do the job quickly and correctly because they’re skilled. They save you time and make sure your home is safe. So, if you want it done right without hassle, hiring a locksmith is a smart choice.
Understanding How Locks Work
A lock is a device on doors that keeps them secure. Inside most locks, there are small pins. These pins come in two types: driver pins and key pins. When you insert a key, it moves these pins up and down.
The driver pins are all the same length and have springs attached to them. They stay in place when you rekey a lock. On the other hand, the key pins are different lengths and need to be replaced during rekeying.
There are two pins in the lock that stop the door from turning. When you put in a key, it pushes these pins. The key pins touch the driver pins and align them at a specific point. This alignment lets the lock open when you turn the key.
How to Rekey a Lock
To rekey your doorknobs, levers, or deadbolts, you’ll need a specific rekeying kit designed for your type of lock.
These kits allow you to change the lock so it works with the new keys provided in the kit. Typically, the kit includes several keys that are exactly the same (usually between three and six). It also comes with a set of pins, which are marked with numbers or colors to show where they go in the lock.
You match the new pins with the new keys. Everything else in the lock usually stays the same. These kits usually come with a few simple tools to help you with the process.
Should You Replace Your Lock or Rekey It?
Rekeying is cheaper than buying a new lock, but there are some situations where you need to buy a brand-new lock. How to know when to replace or rekey a lock.
Rekeying the Lock
- Lost or Stolen Keys: Rekeying is common when keys are lost or stolen. This ensures that if someone finds the lost key, they can’t open the lock or enter the house.
- Protection Against Thieves or Former Housemates: Locks are rekeyed to protect against thieves and former housemates who might have duplicate keys.
- New Homeowners: New homeowners often rekey all locks to work with the same key for convenience and security.
Replacing the Lock
- No Current Key: If you don’t have the current key, you’ll need to replace the lock.
- Lock Damage: If the lock is damaged or broken, it needs to be replaced.
- Changing Lock Style: If you want to change your door lock style (e.g., from knobs to handles), a new lock with its own key will be needed.
How to Replace Your Door Lock in Easy Steps
If you lose all your keys, it’s best to call a locksmith for help. But if you have one key that works, you can change the lock yourself. Buy a kit from a store; it has special tools and new keys.
Remove the Exterior Knob
Insert the key and turn it a quarter-turn to the right. Use the remover tool from the kit to release the clip and remove the knob.
Remove the Cylinder Lock from the Knob
Turn the key back a quarter-turn and remove the cylinder.
Remove the Clip Ring
Use the tool provided to remove the C-shaped clip.
Remove the Key Plug from the Key Housing
Utilize the device in the kit to remove the key plug.
Remove Old Pins
Drop the old pins onto a flat, clean surface. Keep them separate from the new pins.
Insert the New Key
Insert the new key into the old one.
Insert the New Pins
Refer to the chart in the kit for the order of the new pins. Use the tweezers to insert them correctly.
Insert the Key Plug into the Housing
Ensure the pins are flush on top. Slide the key plug into the housing while the key is still in place.
Snap the Clip Ring On
Use the tool provided to snap the clip ring onto the cylinder.
Insert the Cylinder Lock into the Knob
Re-insert the cylinder into the doorknob from the rear.
Insert the Knob onto the Shank
Slide the knob back onto the shank. Insert the key, turn it, and continue sliding the knob onto the shank.
By following these simple steps, you can easily replace your door lock without any hassle.
Is It Legal to Rekey Your Locks?
If you own both the lock and its key, you can rekey it. However, certain laws, especially those between landlords and tenants, might restrict this action while the tenant is still residing on the property. As a tenant, you probably can’t rekey the lock without your landlord’s permission. It’s best to talk to a lawyer about whether it’s legally allowed.
Tips for Rekeying Locks
- When rekeying locks, it’s important to handle small pins. If your eyesight isn’t great, consider using glasses or magnifying lenses to see better.
- Don’t throw away the old keys until you’re sure they work with the newly rekeyed lock.
- If you’re rekeying several locks, do them together to save time. Keep all the pins separate, and make sure each group of pins matches its respective lock.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of having a lock rekeyed?
You can rekey a lock yourself for less than $30 per lock.
Can all door locks be rekeyed?
Most locks can be rekeyed. However, if the original key is lost or the lock is damaged, you may need to replace it.
Do I need the original keys to rekey my lock?
Yes, you need the original key to rekey a lock. If you don’t have it, you can hire a locksmith or replace the lock.
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