How to Rekey a Lock Without a Key?

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Misplacing keys is a common thing these days, which can cause a possible lockout. However, most people surprisingly choose to replace the entire lock, which is a costly option. In contrast, options like a duplicate key or rekeying the lock seems better. Rekeying is often more difficult and time-consuming than a simple lock installation, even though it seems a fairly simple procedure. But if you’ve misplaced or lost the original key, you can call a professional locksmith to rekey the locks. They can shim the lock or pick it up to unlock the door. For different kinds of locking mechanisms, the procedure of rekeying varies. With the newest technology, like smart locks, rekeying is getting common these days. The steps involved in a rekey procedure are the following.

Rekeying the Lock Without the Original Key

If you are rekeying a lock yourself, make sure you follow proper guidelines and do proper research about the tools and equipment needed for it. As you will be working with small parts of a lock, make sure you keep them safe somewhere. Furthermore, a proper working environment is the main key to a perfect rekey procedure. Ensure your workspace has an adequate light source, so the procedure goes smoothly.

Tools Needed

Special tools will be required if you are rekeying your lock for the first time. Fortunately, several lock manufacturers prepare special repair kits that are provided when new locks are purchased. These kits come with most of the tools needed for rekeying. However, if your lock doesn’t have that kit, below is the list of the tools required

  • Rekeying set
  • Tweezers
  • Key Cutter
  • Pining Tray
  • Core Shim
  • Sharpie
  • Screw Driver
  • A Blank Key
  • Key Gauge1- Lock Removal

1- Lock Removal

To rekey the lock, you will have to disassemble it from the door. This process gets simple if you have common locks. However, heavy-duty locks might take time to be removed. You must remove the housing from this point to access the lock itself.

2- Remove the Lock’s Cylinder

After the lock has been removed from the door, the cylinder should be separated from the cylinder. Only then will you be able to remove the cylinder’s retaining ring. For that, you must use the kit provided with the lock. Most of the lock’s mechanism comprises top and bottom pins. When a key is inserted, these pins align together, causing the cylinder to move. The pin springs push the top and bottom pins when the key is in the right position swiftly and easily. Removal of all these pins, followed by a cylinder plug, is necessary to separate the cylinder from the tumbler completely.

3- Remove the Cylinder Plug

Removing the cylinder plug from the cylinder is the most important step.

  • Pins and springs located on the top of the cylinder apply pressure to the keyed pins to keep them in place.
  • But since you don’t have a key, make use of a small screwdriver or a blank key.
  • Then insert the plug follower through the cylinder so it can be removed.
  • To prevent the pins and springs from popping out, make sure to maintain proper pressure. Make sure that the follower is firmly attached to the plug until it is removed.

4- Remove the Old Pins

Once the plug is removed, you should remove the outdated pins, as they are no longer in use. Keep them apart from new pins, so they don’t get mixed up. Then place a key blank inside the lock to figure out where the new springs would be placed.

5- New Pins Installation

The rekeying kit instructions can be used to determine where to place the pins if they are color-coded. Utilizing tweezers, place the pins according to the chart. Ensure that the key is facing the pointed ends of the pins. You might fail during the first attempt if the pins are not coded.

6- Final Testing

Reassembling the lock is necessary to verify that the new key operates the rekeyed lock. At this time, your attempt to rekey the lock is nearly complete. Reinstall the clip ring on the cylinder after inserting the key plug into the housing. Reinstall the cylinder in the doorknob, then insert the knob in the door. At last, verify that you’ve successfully rekeyed your lock.

A professional locksmith can easily rekey the lock without having the original key. But considering other options is always your right. It depends on your budget, the type of your lock, and the tools needed for rekeying. Choose the most appropriate choice for your situation by weighing the pros and cons of rekeying versus purchasing a new lock. You can successfully rekey your lock with the technique and steps mentioned above.

Aditya Mishra