How to Re-key a Door Lock

Change your locks yourself by removing the lock cylinder and changing the pins.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Next Project
Time

A full day

Complexity

Intermediate

Cost

Less than $20

Introduction

Instead of calling a locksmith, learn to re-key your entry and deadbolt locks like a pro, and at a fraction of the cost.

Tools Required

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Tweezers

Re-keying a Door

Have you ever lost your house keys and worried about a stranger getting in? Unless you’re the first occupant of the property, you never can be sure how many copies of your keys are out there. Locksmiths typically charge a fee to re-key an individual lock, even when you bring it to their shop. Since most homes have multiple doors with multiple locks, re-keying can get expensive.

You can re-key a lock like a pro at a fraction of the cost. Re-keying kits are available for most lock brands but they’re not interchangeable. You must buy a kit for each brand of lock in your home. (If you’re lucky, they’ll all be the same brand!)

Each kit will re-key six locks, but you can order extra pins if you need to do more. The kit will work on entrance and deadbolt locks, and it comes with two keys and all the tools you’ll need except a screwdriver. But keep your current keys — you’ll need them to remove the cylinder.

We used a Schlage brand lock for this story. If you have a different brand, check your instruction sheet for minor variations.

Check out these essential home security tips:

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

Remove the Knob

  • Insert the wire tool (included in the kit) into the knob hole and depress the knob clip.
  • Pull the knob off the door.

how to rekey a door remove old knobFamily Handyman

Step 2

Remove the Cylinder

  • Push the cylinder out the back of the knob assembly to pop off the knob sleeve, and remove the cylinder.

rekey a door remove old knobFamily Handyman