How to Change Locks to Have a Matching Key

In many cases, you can re-key a lock in approximately 10 seconds with a do-it-yourself re-key kit. Many kits even come with multiple keys for you and your family members. Re-keying can give you peace of mind, knowing you have new locks and a set of new keys. For multiple locks compatible with the same key, re-keying is also convenient as you now only have one key to open multiple doors.

Kits that Don't Require Changing Pins

Re-keying door locks is convenient with do-it-yourself kits.
  1. Turn your old key 1/4 turn clockwise. Depending on the brand and instructions, this step may be slightly different.

  2. Insert the special re-key tool provided--in some instances it must be purchased separately--and remove the old key.

  3. Insert the new key and turn 1/2 way counterclockwise. Your lock is re-keyed.

Kits Requiring Changing the Pins

  1. Remove the old lock, if needed, using a screwdriver. Use the old key to take out the lock cylinder plug according to the instructions provided.

  2. Change the color-coded pins according to the included instructions. Special tools are often included in the kit to help you change the pins.

  3. Re-key the lock once the pins are changed by inserting the new key into the lock mechanism.


  • When purchasing online, be aware you may need to specifically ask for matching keys if you are re-keying several locks. Color codes are often used to distinguish keys and pins for re-keying kits.

About the Author

With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.