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How to Retumble a Lock

Lonnie McGowan

Fumbling with multiple keys for different locks is frustrating and time consuming. Having separate keys for the front door, back door, garage and dead bolts is bulky and cumbersome as well. Locks that are keyed the same save time and allow fewer keys to be carried. A locksmith may charge a substantial fee to retumble, or rekey, locks. With a special kit from the manufacturer, retumbling locks at home can be accomplished in a few easy-to-follow steps.

Carrying many keys can be cumbersome and inconvenient.
  1. Identify the lock and order the appropriate rekeying kit from the manufacturer, or purchase one at a local hardware store.

  2. Remove the lock from the door.

  3. With the old key in the lock, remove set screws, retaining clips and caps according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remove the cylinder or plug from its housing using the tool supplied with the kit.

  4. Empty the bottom pins from the plug and remove the old key. Insert the new key and reload the new pins into the plug with the tweezers. Refer to the numbers on the new key or use the key gauge supplied with the kit to determine the proper pins.

  5. Replace the plug into the housing. Install retaining clips and set screws. Reassemble the lock.