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How to Take a Kwikset Lock Apart

Ian Cooper

Disassembling a lock set might be necessary in rekeying the lock or simply repairing or replacing damaged parts. While the process is much easier with an official rekeying set from the company, it is possible to do it yourself with everyday objects.

Fixing or rekeying a lock can increase your home security.

It is also much cheaper than hiring a professional locksmith, and most retail stores will refuse to rekey any lock that has already left their stores. Kwikset locks are the simplest to take apart or rekey because they do not have any unique protection mechanisms that would require special tools.

  1. Unscrew the two screws from the door knob using the Phillips screwdriver and remove it from door.

  2. Insert the paperclip into the hole on the side of the knob to release the handle casing.

  3. Insert the key into the keyhole and turn it 90 degrees counterclockwise to release the core, then remove the key.

  4. Remove the retaining clip from the back of the plug, in the core, using the flat-head screwdriver, taking care not to bend or break it.

  5. Insert the key into the keyhole and push the lipstick tube into the core from behind to remove the plug.

  6. Remove the pins from the plug and remove the key to complete disassemble.

  7. Remove the top cover from the tumbler on the core by wedging the flat-head screwdriver under the edges to remove the springs and top pins. However, this is not advisable because permanent damage to the top cover is necessary to remove it.

  8. Tip

    If you don't have a tube of lipstick, any cylindrical object of the same diameter as the plug will work. If you are rekeying the lock, reusing the old pins from the plug is possible by reordering the pins and cutting a matching key.


    Be careful when removing the retaining clip because it is often made of plastic or a weak metal. Take care once the retaining clip is removed from the plug because the springs and top pins inside the tumbler of the core can fall out if the plug slips.