When you consider everything you put in your pockets: keys for your car, front door, side door, back door, mailbox, maybe even your mother-in-law’s, and a bunch of little rewards cards shaped and punched to comfortably hang, key chains can grow crowded (and heavy!) fast. Carrying so much will make your pockets jingle with every step, and you’ll waste valuable minutes every day hunting for the correct key to the door or locker you want to enter. Rekeying a couple of your locks is an easy, affordable, and even do-it-yourself alternative that can help lighten your load. With this helpful tutorial, you’ll learn when, why, and how to rekey lock

Pin & tumbler lock

A pin and tumbler lock, which may be found on locking doorknobs and deadbolts, has a steel cutaway that holds a cylindrical plug as well as several springs and pins that allow a specific key shape to revolve in the lock. The pin configuration of a key must match the depth of the key’s distinctive grooves for it to turn the locking mechanism.

When you want to use a different existing key to open the door lock, so you don’t have to use separate keys for the front, back, and side doors—the lock must be disassembled and the pins, which are of varying heights, removed and replaced with new pins that match the cuts and grooves in the new key.

It is preferable for homeowners

As previously said, rekeying is best for homeowners who wish to have a single key that opens all of their home or apartment door locks. This method can reduce a full key ring to just a few basics, allowing you to save room in your pocket or purse while also saving time searching for the proper one.

Rekeying a lock, on the other hand, can improve a building’s security. After a new home is built, and several persons, including contractors, subcontractors, and inspectors, may have copies of door keys, new homeowners may want to double-check that they have the only keys to their home before taking ownership. Go to the licensed locksmith to rely on them for your house security.

Replacing or rekeying?

Similarly, having door locks rekeyed every time a new resident comes in is a typical practice for landlords and property managers. Rekeying is an option for replacing the lock altogether, whether you’re moving into a previously owned property or have simply misplaced a set of spare keys. It gives you the peace of mind that no one else has a key to your home.

Both replacing and rekeying a lock effectively change out a lock to limit access, however, there are rare situations where both operations are required.

You won’t be able to disassemble your existing lock(s) for rekeying if you’ve misplaced the key that opens them. Replace the lock first.

A worn or damaged lock will not be repaired by rekeying. Your locksmith will almost certainly need to replace the lock with a damaged or warped locking mechanism soon, so do it first. Then, if your purpose was to modify the locks so that you had the only key, you’re done; rekeying is required only if you want numerous locks to share a single key.

Locks of the same company

When rekeying numerous locks to suit a single key, they must all be manufactured by the same company. If your front door lock is a Schlage, all of the other locks you want rekeyed to match must be Schlage as well. Because different brands of locks have different size keyholes that only accept their keys, you can’t rekey a Kwikset or Sargeant lock to open with the same key as a Schlage lock. If you’re dealing with a variety of lock brands, you’ll need to choose one and replace the rest to match before rekeying.

Whom to Contact?

Make an appointment with a locksmith

The most expensive choice is this one. A locksmith will normally charge you a flat rate for a service call (usually between $40 and $100) and then an extra fee (usually between $10 and $30) for each lock you want to be rekeyed.

Take the lock (locking knob or deadbolt) to a locksmith, lumberyard, or hardware store in your area

This method requires you to remove the lock from the door and bring the key that currently opens the lock, but it is a cost-effective alternative to a house call. Expect to pay $5 for each lock.

On your own

If you can’t find a local store that will rekey a lock for a reasonable price, you can buy the tools yourself. Purchase a rekey kit that matches the brand of lock you wish to rekey (for a single lock or up to five locks of the same brand).

Depending on the manufacturer and kind of lock, a rekey kit for a single lock might cost anywhere from $12 to $25. Rekeying kits for some of the most common lock brands are available in hardware stores, but they can also be obtained from lock makers and huge internet merchants like Amazon.

Everything you’ll need to rekey the lock is included in the kit, including tiny picks and tweezers, a key gauge (for determining the depth of your new key’s cutouts), an assortment of pins and springs to replace the existing ones in the lock, and any other tools you’ll need to disassemble and reassemble the lock.

Wrapping up

Some people, such as apartment managers, major office building owners, and even regular Airbnb hosts, find it necessary to rekey locks regularly. Many lock manufacturers have responded to this demand by introducing locks with smart-type rekeying technology, which allows a manager to rekey the lock in less than a minute and without disassembly. Instead, the lock’s design incorporates a specific master key to allow for rapid and easy rekeying, with the clever rekeying method changed by the manufacturer. If you’re someone who benefits from frequent rekeying, looking into today’s choices could make your life easier while still increasing home security.