How to Rekey a Lock: A Step-by-Step Guide

Rekeying a lock is a great way to save money and time, especially when multiple locks need to be accessed with the same key. With the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can easily rekey a lock yourself. In this article, we'll walk you through the steps of rekeying a lock and explain when it's best to replace the lock instead.

What You'll Need

To rekey a lock, you'll need a key exchange kit and the current lock key.

This kit typically includes two new keys, a key gauge, and a plug follower. The key gauge is used to measure the depth of the cuts on the key, while the plug follower is used to remove the cylinder from the lock.

Step-by-Step Guide

Rekeying a lock is relatively straightforward. Here's how to do it:
  • Start by inserting the current key into the lock and turning it clockwise.
  • Remove the cylinder from the lock using the plug follower.
  • Insert the new key into the key gauge and use it to measure the depth of each cut on the key.
  • Use this measurement to cut two new keys that match the depth of each cut.
  • Insert one of these new keys into the cylinder and turn it clockwise.
  • Reinsert the cylinder into the lock and turn it counterclockwise.
  • Test both new keys in the lock to make sure they work.
When to Replace Your Lock In some cases, it may be better to replace your lock rather than rekey it.

This is especially true for locks that are old or worn out. Replacing your lock will ensure that it works properly and provides maximum security. It's also important to replace your locks if you've recently experienced a break-in or other security breach.


Rekeying a lock is an easy way to save money and time.

With just a few simple tools and some basic knowledge, you can easily rekey your own locks. However, if your locks are old or worn out, it's best to replace them instead.