Can I rekey the lock or do I need to replace the lock?
You do not always need to replace your locks, sometimes you can rekey locks. Unless there is an integral component of the lock that is damaged, or you want a completely new lock, then your lock can very likely be rekeyed. A good locksmith will always present this option to their clients, since many of them are unaware of the fact that they do not always have to replace their locks when the situation arises. Rekeying a lock is as good as having a new and improved lock, and it is a lot more cost effective than attempting to replace it. So if you need to rekey your lock, make sure that you give the trusty locksmiths here at Locksmith Service™ a call, and we will help you rekey your locks and save money at the same time!
How long does it take to rekey a lock?
This answer varies depending on the type of lock you might have in your home. The process of rekeying the lock itself only takes a few minutes when an experienced locksmith is doing it. The only thing that could cause the rekeying process to take up any time is the act of getting the lock out of the door. Since every lock is different, some take more time to be removed than others. Upon arrival, our trusted locksmith will examine your lock and give you an estimated time, but rest assured you won’t be waiting too long for them to get it done.
Should I attempt to rekey the locks myself?
The rekeying process is fast when it is being done by an experienced locksmith. On paper, it sounds like a rather easy process, especially if you know the basic workings of a pin-tumbler lock system. However, it is very easy to end up damaging your lock if you handle one of the steps in the process in the wrong way. This could result in you incurring more cost than you would have originally thought. We advise that you leave the rekeying process to the experienced professionals here at Locksmith Service™. Homeowners could potentially cause more harm to their locks when attempting to rekey locks, simply because they have to remove the lock from the door and disassemble it before they even begin the process of rekeying. If you are not a homeowner who is handy with tools, rest assured that the professionals here at Locksmith Service™ will help you rekey locks efficiently and expediently.
I just moved into a new house should I rekey my locks?
This is a very important question that our locksmiths answer almost every single day. The answer is, “Yes, of course!” It is easy for homeowners to be skeptical when locksmiths are telling them to rekey locks, because many of them have been scammed by locksmiths before, and many still believe that locksmiths are always attempting to snag an extra buck. However, rekeying your locks is important to your safety and that of your family. When you move into a new home, you have no idea how many people might have had a copy of the key to your home before you moved in. In addition to this, there is always the possibility that the lock of your door is master keyed, especially if there was any recent construction done to it, or if it is a completely new home. If your lock was master keyed, it very likely means that there are additional master pins left in your lock. This increases the number of keys that can be used to open the door, while simultaneously decreasing the amount of control you have over your lock. Rekeying your locks allows an experienced locksmith to remove the master pins left within your locks, and it helps to increase your security by giving you sole key control.
Rekeying a lock is not as difficult as it sounds, at least to experienced locksmiths. The process of rekeying a lock is essentially readjusting a lock so that the lock is still able to function and protect your home, but makes the device work with a new key. This is a very cost effective method that many homeowners do not even know to take advantage of. It is way better to rekey locks than to change locks. Rekeying the lock allows you to keep the same basic components of the lock you had before, but lets you operate this with a completely new key. Having a basic understanding of the way pin-tumbler locks works is essential to understanding what it takes to rekey locks. The professional locksmiths of Locksmith Service™ are well equipped to help homeowners rekey locks. It is very common that homeowners want to have singular key to control their locks, and this one of the leading reasons behind homeowners wanting to rekey locks. We are here to make sure that you can get this done.
To rekey locks, our professional locksmiths will need to have access to the current key that operates the lock, the lock itself, and the new key that you wish to rekey the lock to. As was stated earlier, the actual act of rekeying the lock does not take up too much time, especially for an experienced locksmith who has done this time and time again. It is the act of taking the lock out of the door that actually takes up the most time. Due to the varying nature of homeowner’s locks, some lock rekeys can be done faster than others. Homeowners that have deadbolt locks have a much easier go at things since these locks are much easier to remove and reinstall. Removing the deadbolt involves unscrewing the lock from the door and separating both of the sides that come together in the door. After that, you need to remove the screws that are holding the bolt in place within the door, simple as that. However, when it comes to doorknob locks, things become much more tricky and this is one of the reasons why it is suggested that you leave these tasks to the professional locksmiths, simply because they have much more experience and all the necessary tools to complete the task.
In order to rekey locks our locksmiths will employ the use of a catch tool and a spanner to remove your doorknob lock so that they can begin to help you. The catch tool is a nifty little tool that is used to pry the knob off the lock. Before this can be done, they will have to make sure that the doorknob does not have any screws holding it, and its cover plate, in place. Once you have removed these screws (if there are any) then you can proceed to use the catch tool to remove the knob from the lock. This is done by rotating the handle until the hole in the knob is seen. The catch tool is then inserted into the hole in the knob (this can also be done with a paperclip if need be) which will allow the door knob to pop loose so that it can be removed from its casing, which is more commonly known as the knob rose. Next up, the locksmith will make use of a spanner to remove the shank, and this will give them access to the lock cylinder. Now the fun of rekeying locks can begin.
Once the locksmith has gained access to the lock cylinder, they will then remove the cylinder retainer ring (c clip) from the plug and place it somewhere for safekeeping. Next they will have to insert the current key for the lock into the lock and turn it to a full 90-degree angle so that the lock is essentially opened and free to slide out of the plug. They will then use a plug follower or a cylinder follower to gently push the plug out of the bible. This is done so that the springs and pins, which were engaged once the key was turned, are sure to stay in place. The plug follower serves as a placeholder while they begin to work on rekeying the lock. The next step is to remove the key pins, which are in the plug and set them aside.
For the next step, our locksmiths will make use of a key decoder. A key decoder makes rekeying a lock a much simpler task since you will not have to guess which pins you should use. It is very much a map to code cut keys and it makes the entire process of determining which pins to use to rekey the lock, much, much easier. The key decoder is the tool necessary to find the key pin to groove number, which in layman’s terms means it is the tool that helps you choose the right key pins that you will put into the plug.
The key decoder serves as a chart to help the locksmith find the appropriate sizes for the new key pins that will essentially allow the lock to be rekeyed. The grooves on the new key need to be measured, and this is usually done by inserting the key into the key decoder so that you can determine the proper groove depth which in turn shows you the appropriate pins to use. Once all of this has been done, and all the grooves of the new key have been measured, then the locksmith will gather the necessary key pins and fitting them inside the plug. Verifying the size of the key pins is a very simple task, because if they are not the correct sizes, the pins will not be flush against the cylinder. Once this has been verified, the plug with the new key pins is inserted back into the bible. This should be done gently with constant pressure being applied to push the plug follower out of the cylinder and insert the plug. This should also be done at the same 90-degree angle as before. After the plug has been reinserted, the locksmith has to make sure that the cylinder retainer ring is reattached and then the lock can be put back together.
Why You Should Rekey Your Locks
Rekeying your locks provides your home with a renewed sense of security, without compromising on costs or even on the sense of normalcy you have become accustomed to. It utilizes the old locks you already have in place, with no need for significant hardware replacement. As stated earlier when homeowners rekey locks, it gives them the sole key control to their property, and this in turn increases the security of their home. In most cases locks and keys can be retrofitted instead of having homeowners go out and replace the locks for their doors. Rekeying a lock basically comes down to changing the key pins within the lock mechanism so that it can work with a completely new key. Unless the cylinder itself is damaged, or if another internal component is damaged, then homeowners should be able to rekey locks.
Master Key Systems and Master Rekeys
Master key systems are key systems that provide different levels of access depending on the type of key you might have. Master key systems are established using levels, where the top-level key is ideally given access to every lock within the home, from exterior doors to interior doors. The next level within the system is given access to some specific doors and not others. Essentially the topmost level key (the master key) can be used to operate all the locks, while every other level below it is restricted to a specific door or specific sets of doors.
Master key systems allow a group of locks that have been master-keyed to be used by their own individual keys as well as by the master key. In some cases, the locks to your home might have been retrofitted to work with a master key. This could have been done by the previous owners, the real estate agent, or subcontractors. Regardless of who retrofitted the lock, the fact that it now works with a master key means that your lock can now be opened by one, or more, keys. Our professional locksmiths can help you do away with this, or they can help you set up a new master key system, although these are more common in commercial buildings.
Master keys work because of a few additional components within the lock mechanism itself. In locks that work with Master keys, some of the pin pairs are separated by additional pins called Master wafers or spacers. To make a master key system, these wafers are added to locks within the master key system and they are simply removed to make sure that the master key no longer works on them. However, you should leave these tasks to a professional locksmith since they have years of experience in completing these tasks.