Time: 45-60 minutes
Lose your keys? Lock sticking? Or maybe you’ve just moved into a new home and aren’t quite sure who else has a copy of your keys. Sounds like it’s time to rekey your lock. Whether you get a kit or purchase the parts individually, you’ll have more peace of mind. Safety first, people.
What's in it for you?
- Increased lock strength
- Safer and more secure home
- Peace of mind
Parts of a Lock:
Key Pins - The small pins inside the lock that move in response to your key
Cylinder - The tube that holds the key pins
Retaining Ring - The ring on top of the cylinder that holds it down
Plug - A small plastic retainer inside the knob that holds the cylinder down
Rekey Your Lock and Stay Safe in Your New Home
Purchase new key pins. Check the frame of your door handle for its brand and head over to your local hardware store for a rekey kit that matches. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can skip the kit and buy the parts you’ll need individually: key pins that match your lock, a cylinder follower, tweezers, and a small wrench.
Remove the doorknob. Make sure the door is unlocked. Grab a paperclip and bend it so it’s straight. Hold the doorknob in place while pushing the paperclip in the slot between the frame and the doorknob. The knob should detach. Careful when removing it or you’ll have a mess of lock parts everywhere.
Pull out the cylinder. Find the tube-like tool that came with your rekey kit — It’s called a cylinder follower. Push it into the lock cylinder, which is a hole on the inside of your door handle. Grab a wrench and remove the retaining ring on top of the cylinder. Now you can leverage the cylinder follower to pull out the cylinder.
Separate the upper and lower lock pins. You’ll only be swapping out the lower lock pins so insert your old key and turn it to the right — now the upper pins are out of the way. Take out the key and press the cylinder follower into the lock so that its hook attaches to the lock’s plug — a small plastic retainer inside the knob. Pull out the plug so you can work on the lower pins.
Replace the lower lock pins. Use tweezers to remove the lower lock pins. Replace the plug you removed in step 4 to push the lock spring back down and give you space to put the new lock pins in place. (Don’t forget to reference the instructions that came with your kit or the new key won’t fit.)
Put the knob back together. Replace the retaining ring and slide the knob back into the door. Turn it to the right. Guess what? You’re done, but make sure to test the key — just in case.
Pro Tip: Sweep a magnet over the ground to pick up any dropped parts — especially the small ones.