How to Change Locks- All You Need to Know

Informational Articles

Changing locks on your own can be a simple and effective way to add security to your home. This guide will take you through the process step-by-step, from selecting the right lock for the job, to installing it safely and securely. With a few simple tools and some patience, you can easily change your own locks!

Prepare Your Tools & Supplies.

Before you get started on your DIY lock change, make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies handy. You’ll need a selection of screwdrivers, a tool for removing the current locks, new locks (with installation instructions), and a drill (for installing some types of locks). Double check that you have everything you need before beginning to avoid any unnecessary interruptions in your project.


Know the difference: Lock changing vs. lock rekeying.

Changing a Lock
Changing a Lock

Before you get started on changing your locks, it’s important to know the difference between changing locks and rekeying. Changing locks involves taking out the old lock and physically installing a new one. Rekeying involves changing the internal components of the existing lock so that a different key can open it. Depending on your situation either option may make sense – research each approach carefully before beginning your project.

Replacing the locks may be necessary if your old lock is broken beyond repair or compatible hardware has become hard to find. However, rekeying your existing locks is usually faster and more affordable. With a few simple steps you can quickly make any previous key obsolete and install new pins with a different configuration with the help of a locksmith. This means that only your new key will open the changed lock. Before you start, carefully assess your needs and available resources to decide which option makes the most sense for you.

Change Locks, Step-by-step


Step 1) Remove the old doorknob or deadbolt hardware:

Changing a Lock Latch
Lock Latch

This part is simple. Locate the back of the lock where the thumb turn is. Unscrew the two screws you see there all the way. When you remove the screws the front and back of the deadbolt or door knob will be able to be pulled apart. You should now see a hole with the lock latch inside. Set down the deadbolt or door knob and put it aside while you remove the lock latch from the door by unscrewing the two screws holding it in place. Once complete you will see an empty hole in the door, ready for your lock to be inserted.

Step 2) Insert your new lock latch:

Now it is time to install your new lock latch. This is the part of the lock that goes inside the door. If you are installing a door knob make sure the lock latch is facing the right direction so that the door will shut properly. This is as simple as putting the new latch into the hole most of the time and screwing it on tightly.

Step 3) Insert your new deadbolt or doorknob:

Now that the latch is on, separate the front part of your new lock from the back. Carefully align the front of the lock with the back of the lock and merge both pieces together through the latch. If installing a doorknob and the pieces don’t want to fit together press on the latch with your finger which will make more room for the door knob spindle. If installing a deadbolt, make sure to turn the tailpiece of the deadbolt cylinder into the closed position and that the deadbolt latch is also in the closed position. Lastly, put on the remaining screws to secure the lock into place.

Step 4) Test the lock:

Use the key and the thumb turn to make sure the lock you changed is working properly. Make sure the key will lock and unlock the door properly and that the thumb turn does also. There should be no jarring or squeaking. The new changed lock should function smoothly without any issues.

When to call a Locksmith

It is usually easy to change locks on your own, but there are certain situations in which calling a locksmith may be a better option.

-When Changing a Vintage Lock

Changing a Lock that is years old can be very difficult. This is because old locks tend to not be standardized. Modern locks don’t fit into slots of antique locks that typical modern locks use. A Locksmith will be able to drill the door in order for a standard slot lock to fit. They will also be able to align the door properly so all the lock parts connect properly. If you are not sure whether a lock will fit your door you can always ask a locksmith before you begin.

-When you want the convenience of having a single key open all your locks

As mentioned earlier, locksmiths are experienced in lock rekeying. This means that a locksmith will be able to rekey your locks so that all the locks in your house can open with the same key. Changing your own locks will not provide that benefit, a new lock will typically come with a new key. If the rest of the locks in your house use a different key then you will have to carry around multiple keys for your house. This can be a major inconvenience. It may also lead to issues like getting locked out of your house by bringing the wrong key.

-If You are not good at changing locks

If you are not usually a handy person, changing your locks can be a huge task. I have seen people who attempted to do a job themselves only to be much worse off than when they started. In this case it is usually better to call a locksmith. If changing locks seems like a hassle for you, or you would prefer the convenience of having a professional do it, then calling a locksmith is the way to go. While changing the locks yourself can save you money, making sure you have reliable security is more important

How much does it cost to get your locks changed vs get your locks rekeyed

-Cost of Changing Locks

A new lock can cost anywhere from $20 to $250, depending on brand, security, and whether its a simple lock or a high tech digital smart lock. Ornamental door handles can cost in the hundreds while basic locks are usually below $100.

Installation cost by a professional locksmith can add $95-$250 depending on how complex the lock is and whether drilling and alignment of the door is necessary.

You should be able to change the lock yourself if you have a basic lock. Installation is usually takes less than an hour. Most locks come with an instruction booklet that will allow you to do this yourself. If you run into any problems while changing your lock then call a locksmith.

-Cost of Rekeying door locks

The cost of rekeying door locks can vary. Locksmiths have a minimum trip charge of about $100, so expect to pay at least that. You get more value for your money if you are doing many locks. The Cost to Re-key a front door is about $120, while the cost of rekeying a home with many doors can be $200-$350. This is because doing many locks at once can all be done under the same service call. There are many other factors. Locksmiths will usually charge a service call, typically anywhere from $29-$65. A typical rekey on top of that will be $35-$75 per lock. Residential locks being on the lower end at $35-$45 depending on the lock. Commercial Locks are on the higher end $55-$75 each. Depending on the lock.

If you would like to save money you can also take the lock off your door and take it to a locksmith to rekey. This will avoid you having to pay a service call. Then you will only pay for having the lock rekeyed. However, you must be able to remove and reinstall the lock yourself. If you are not sure how to do that it is best to call a locksmith.

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