How to Replace an Exterior Door Lock

The locks on exterior doors are keyed for secure entry. It's a good idea for new residents to change the locks after moving into a home. There's no way to know how many duplicate keys for the old locks were shared or lost. A doorknob lock and deadbolt offers good security for an exterior door and they're both easily replaced by typical homeowners with new cost effective hardware.

Replace door locks and knobs for security.

Open the exterior door to reach the doorknob and deadbolt from both sides. Remove the screws from the inside of the doorknob with an offset Phillips screwdriver. Pull the knob off from both sides of the door simultaneously.

Remove the screws from the inner plate of the deadbolt with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the outer shields off both sides of the door.

Remove the screws from the face plates around the deadbolt latch and doorknob latch on the slim edge of the door. Pull the faceplates off and take the latches out of the exterior door. Leave the strike plates in the door frame as they may match the new door hardware.

Slip the new latches into the slots on the door edge for the new doorknob and deadbolt. Put the faceplates on the edge of the door and secure the screws to hold them.

Hold one side of the doorknob in each hand with the keyhole on the outside and the mounting screw holes on the inside of the door. Slip the spindle from the interior side through the slot in the latch and push it through to the slot on the knob over the exterior door. Hold the knobs on and turn them to be sure they both recoil the latch. Put the mounting screws into the holes on the inside of the knob and tighten them with an offset screwdriver.

Hold a side of the deadbolt in each hand with the keyhole to the outside and the twist crank on the inside of the door. Push the spindle through the latch and into the outer half of the door lock. Insert the key and test the key and crank to see that both move the latch in and out. Tighten the screws on the inside of the deadbolt.

Check the door locks to see that both work with the same key while the door is ajar. Close the door and lock both locks to see that they fit the strike plates from the old hardware. Replace the strike plates if necessary by removing the screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Put the strike plates from the new door locks on the frame and secure the screws. Some latches are shaped differently and thus require different shaped slots in the strike plates.

Things You Will Need

  • Offset Phillips screwdriver Phillips screwdriver


  • Have the doorknob and deadbolt keyed together and make additional keys for family members when buying new door hardware.

About the Author

Jonra Springs began writing in 1989. He writes fiction for children and adults and draws on experiences in education, insurance, construction, aviation mechanics and entertainment to create content for various websites. Springs studied liberal arts and computer science at the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.

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