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How to Rekey a Lock in 5 Easy Steps

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One of the most obvious solutions to rekeying your locks is to buy new locks. However, this can be expensive and cumbersome, especially if you need to rekey multiple locks on an occasional basis. Apart from learning how a lock works, rekeying it by yourself saves money and it is not a challenging project.

1. What You Need to Rekey Your Locks

All locks usually come with two types of pins inside: driver pins and key pins. Driver pins are all the same length, while key pins come with different lengths – this is what you need to replace to rekey your locks. To do so, you need to buy a rekey kit that matches your lock’s brand. The kit often contains several keys that are identical, a set of pins, and a guide showing how to identify them.

2. How to Rekey Your Locks

Once you purchase the kit, you will also find all the tools you need throughout the process.

Step 1: Remove the knob using the wire tool. Place it inside the knob hole, depress the clip, and take the knob out.

Step 2: Push the cylinder out of the knob.

Step 3: Use the retainer ring tool to pop the knob off the cylinder by pushing the proper tool against the ring. Keep both the cylinder and the knob, don’t throw them away.

Step 4: Insert the old key in the cylinder and turn it to one side (either left or right). Use the plug follower from the kit to remove the plug by pushing it through the cylinder. It’s very important to apply pressure as you do so, otherwise, the springs and pins might pop out. If this happens, you must pick them up and use the instructions provided to put them back.

Step 5: Discard the old pins, put in the new key, and use some tweezers to match the colored pins to the color code on the guidance sheet. Once you add all the pins, reassemble the lock using the same steps but in reverse order.

3. When Do You Need to Rekey Your Locks?

Sometimes, it might be easier to buy a new lock altogether rather than spend time on rekeying it. However, there are some special circumstances when rekeying is a better idea. It is more cost-effective to rekey a lock rather than buying a new one. For example, if you rent your home often, rekeying the locks is a matter of security and you need to do it occasionally.

It is much quicker to rekey your locks rather than replacing the whole unit. It is also an eco-friendly way because you do not discard the lock. If you only need to rekey a lock once, it might not be cost-conscious because a professional kit is quite expensive and is about the same price as 10 new locks. If you don’t have the experience, there is also the chance that you will completely ruin the lock if you make mistakes.


All in all, rekeying your locks is not a difficult process. You need the right tools, patience, and you might even be able to rekey your locks within minutes after you get some practice.

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