How to Rekey a Lock in 10 Easy Steps

You don’t have to be a locksmith to learn how to rekey a lock. This relatively straightforward process basically involves configuring a lock so it can be opened with a new key.

There obvious advantages to doing this:

  • You don’t have the expense of replacing the whole lock if you lose your keys
  • You can be certain that no unauthorised person can gain access to your property
  • You can open both front and back doors with the same key

To do this, you’ll need a few basic tools:

  • A plug follower
  • A pin kit (Purchase the right kit for the brand of lock you want to rekey)
  • A key decoder

1. Carefully remove the spring-loaded pin from the back of the lock, and unscrew the retainer. (Keep everything in a safe place as you’ll need to replace these when you’re done.)
2. Put the original key in the barrel, and turn it 90 degrees.
3. Using the plug follower, gently push the cylinder out. The plug follower will hold the top pins in place. Put this to one side.
4. Take the lock and remove all the bottom key pins.
5. Using a decoder, take the new key and work out which size pins fit each “cut”. Do this by placing each “gap” of the key in the decoder and sliding it along until it stops. Most pin kits contain a chart which shows which size pin corresponds to which cut. You’ll need to do this for all of the pins.
6. Put the new key in the lock and place the new bottom pins in the corresponding holes, making sure that all the pins are flush.
7. Turn the key back 90 degrees to make sure that none of the pins fall down into the lock.
8. Place the lock back into the cylinder by gently pushing the plug follower back through.
9. Turn the key to make sure it works .
10. Replace the spring-loaded pin back into the lock and replace the retainer housing, making sure it isn’t too tight.