How to Rekey a Door Lock


The movers are gone; new neighbors have ceased their welcome knocking. At last, you can pull up a box and take ten. Content, you begin mentally checking off your to-do list; the sound of a key in the door lock startles you from your reverie. Heart pounding, you wonder just who else has the door key to your new to you home. A locksmith can cost a small fortune, but you can re-key them yourself, in a couple hours, for less than $20.

Things You'll Need

  • Re-key kit(s)
  • Screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Check the brand on every door; your locks might have different manufactures. Purchase a re-key kit for each brand. They are readily available at home stores and online. Kits cost $8 to $10 and come with two keys and tools to re-key six door locks.

  • Unlock the door, and remove the doorknob by inserting the wire tool, included in your kit, into the hole on the knob. Release the clip and pull off the knob.

  • Push the lock cylinder out of the knob. Once the knob sleeve drops off, use the retainer ring tool, also in your re-key kit, to free the cylinder.

  • Using your old key, turn the lock ninety degrees left or right. Take the key out and push the plug through with the plug follower tool in your kit. Exert even pressure on the plug and tool to make sure you don’t loose the springs.

  • Empty the plug pins and put the new key in the lock. Use tweezers to insert new color-coded pins into the plug. Follow kit instructions to ensure the new pins are in the right order. Reassemble the doorknob.

Tips & Warnings

  • Every brand of lock is slightly different; refer to the manufacturer’s directions for any nuances.
  • If the springs do pop out when you remove the plug, your re-key kits contains instructions for replacing them.

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