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How to Rekey a Kwikset Lock Without a Key Step by Step?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to rekey a kwikset lock without a key

Nowadays, homeowners do not have to hire a locksmith if they need to rekey locks since it is simple for everyone to change a Kwikset SmartKey lock on their own. But how to rekey a Kwikset lock without a key and still get the job done?

Even if your original key is missing, there is still a good solution to this issue. This article introduces a series of easy-to-follow instructions for you to rekey a Kwikset without the key, in a simple and budget-friendly way that takes a few minutes.

How the SmartKey Feature Works


In case you have the original working key with you, insert it into the lock to perform a Kwikset SmartKey rekey. There is a small hole in the face of this lock and turning your key about 90 degrees will let you insert this Kwikset SmartKey.

When the SmartKey is already inside the door lock, feel free to remove the original key and insert a new one into this lock. Now the Kwikset Smart Lock has been successfully rekeyed in minutes and ready for service with another key.

On the other hand, you will not be able to turn its cylinder to the desired 90 degrees with no original key. In addition, you cannot apply the SmartKey to rekey this door lock. One way left is to do a manual Kwikset rekey after disassembling it.

Components You Will Find Inside the Lock

There are some basic parts of the Kwikset SmartKey lock that you will encounter during your process of disassembling the lock mechanism. These parts include:

  • The housing holding the cylinder in this door mechanism.
  • The cylinder core holding the plug.
  • The cylinder plug has wafers to enable the locking mechanism.
  • Small and thin levers called wafers run the overall locking system.

What You Will Need to Follow this Tutorial


Here is a quick overview of what you have to do for a quick but efficient Kwikset SmartKey reset without original key that every homeowner can do at home.

  • Prepare Necessary Tools And Workspace
  • Remove The Locks From Your Door
  • Free The Cylinder From The Housing
  • Get The Plug Out Of The Cylinder
  • Pull The Plug Out Of The Core
  • Find The Reset Tab To Align The Wafers
  • Insert New Key
  • Reassemble The Lock

How to Rekey a Kwikset Lock without a Key Step By Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Necessary Tools And Workspace

The very first step to rekey Kwikset deadbolt without key is to prepare enough tools and a suitable workspace to do the job. It is best to set up a bench or table that is clean as your instant workspace and do not forget about a good light source.

Get a magnifying glass so you can work well with both of your hands for this rekeying process. I recommend using tweezers or some other kind of small tool so you can manipulate all the components easier on your own with no professional skills.

Step 2: Get The Lock Out Of Your Door

There are 2 screws holding the outer and inner assemblies of this lock together and you need to remove them. If the lock includes key slots on 2 sides, you will have to rekey both cylinder sets to ensure your new key works both ways.

Step 3: Remove The Cylinder From Its Housing

Make the cylinder inside your Kwikset lock slip out of the housing. Put the housing to one side to examine the core of that cylinder. You will see how a retaining clip holds the cylinder core inside this lock housing. Furthermore, the clip will slide to a side so the cylinder would be easily released.

Getting this retaining clip out of its position and not damaging it is the most challenging part. Choosing 2 small screwdrivers having flatheads would be the ideal choice for this task, along with performing the task with enough patience.

Remember to put this retaining clip to one side as you need it for later assembly.

Step 4: Get The Plug Out Of The Cylinder

Aligning the wafers with shear points will help you remove the plug from the cylinder successfully. A pick is the best option for the wafer manipulation, but any other small tool that is thin and small enough to fit into this keyhole works the same.

Use the tool to manipulate the lock’s wafers up and down, at the same time, push gently on the plug. It might be hard at first to align the wafers, but be patient. Once all wafers have aligned with shear points, this plug will slip out of the core.

Step 5: Caution Before Pulling The Plug From The Core

There are 2 pieces in the plug and the minute you free them from the core, the pieces will tend to separate from each other. You need to hold onto the plug because its separation will result in internal parts coming free. This is a caution to avoid.

Step 6: Look For The Reset Tab For Wafer Alignment

The next challenge is to look for the wafer alignment so you can pull out the reset tab. It will take some attempts to get the right alignment. Once you have found the right alignment, it is time to hold the reset tab as you have the correct alignment.

Step 7: Insert New Key

This step is about inserting the new key into the keyway and you should do this at the same time as holding the reset tab. As you fully insert your new key in the plug, you want to release your reset key. Now your Kwikset SmartKey Lock has been rekeyed.

Step 8: Reassemble Your Lock

Find the order that you took the lock apart and reassemble it reversely. It is important to hold the plug and not allow its 2 parts to slip away. When you place the plug back in its core, reinstall this lock onto your door for use with a brand new key.

Check out this video for more information:

And other rekey tips here if you needed:


It is not the end of the world to lose your working key because you can easily rekey Kwikset SmartKey without original key after reading this article. There is no need to call a locksmith while you can rekey your lock with simple guidance.

I expect you to get the most out of this article on how to rekey a kwikset lock without a key for your next rekeying session. If you find the article helpful, let me know in the comment section. Don’t forget to spread the word with friends and family.

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