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How to Rekey a Lock Without the Original Key in 6 Easy Steps

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to rekey a lock without the original key

Want to know how to rekey a lock without the original key? Breaking and losing the keys of your house have only two solutions: you can change your lock or replace the key with a new one. If you want to keep the old lock, since installing it already costs you a lot, you can rekey it without the key.

Through this tutorial, we will guide you on rekeying your lock. It will only take you 30 minutes to 1 hour. Make sure, though, to follow each step carefully.

What You Need to Prepare


Rekeying locks without original key is an easy task as long as you have the right tools in your hands.

A rekey kit – Before you can successfully rekey the lock of your house, you will need to have a rekey kit. The tools inside the kit are designed specifically for rekeying the locks. There are locks that have a specific rekey kit like Kwikset and Schlage. However, some kits can work in any lock.

When purchasing a rekey kit, make sure that it has the following:

  • A wire tool
  • A cylinder follower
  • A ring remover
  • A plug follower tool
  • New pins,
  • Tweezers
  • A manual

If it doesn’t have a wire tool, you can use a metal paperclip as an alternative. A pair of needle-nose pliers is also a good alternative for tweezers.

What to Do to Rekey a Lock Without the Original Key

Step 1: Take out the lock face

First, you need to remove the exterior doorknob. To do this:

  • Look for the tiny hole on the side of the doorknob.
  • Insert the wire tool included in your rekey kit. If it doesn’t include a wire tool, you can also use a paperclip.
  • Put pressure into the hole and pull off the knob.

Step 2: Remove the lock cylinder from the knob and take off the cylinder retainer ring.

Next, you have to separate the lock cylinder from the doorknob. Using the cylinder follower, push the cylinder out of the assembly of the knob. This ste will help you remove the sleeve that covers it.

After doing this, proceed to remove the cylinder retainer ring. Use the ring remover included in the kit.

Step 3: Remove the cylinder plug from the cylinder.

Next, you will need to remove the cylinder from the cylinder using a plug follower tool. Make sure to apply the right amount of pressure as you slowly push the cylinder plug.

If the pins spring out, you would have to reinsert them using tweezers then do this step again.

Step 4: Remove the old pins and put the new key in.

Now, remove the old pins by dropping them off from the plug. Keep them on the side where they won’t mix up with the new pins.

Once you are done, you can insert the new key into the lock. It will help you push the springs and guide you where to place the new pins.

Step 5: Put the new pins on the lock.

If the pins are color-coded, you can refer to rekeying kit instructions to know where you need to place them. Follow the chart and insert the pins using tweezers. Make sure that the pointed ends of the pins face the key.

If the pins are not coded, you might have to make a few unsuccessful attempts until the key fits the lock.

Step 6: Reverse the steps while the new key is inserted in the lock.

To test if the new key is working on the rekeyed lock, you have to reassemble the lock.

  • Place the key plug into the housing then put back the clip ring on the cylinder.
  • Put the cylinder back in the doorknob and slide the doorknob into the shank.
  • Test if you have rekeyed your lock successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you rekey a lock without the original key?

Yes, you can rekey a lock without the original key. You just have to prepare the needed tools and follow the steps above. If you don’t have time, you can also ask a professional locksmith to rekey your lock.

Can you rekey a smart lock without the original key?

Yes, you can rekey a smart lock without the original key. If you are dealing with a Schlage or Kwikset lock, they have specific rekeying kits that work for their smart locks. Once you have those, follow the procedures above.


Has learning how to rekey a lock without the original key helped you? With this tutorial, you can rekey a regular lock and also rekey a deadbolt without original key. It will save you from buying new locks or having a professional locksmith to help you out.

Do you know some friends and relatives who need to learn to rekey a lock without the key? You can share this post with them. We will also love to know what is your most favorite part of the tutorial. Just leave your comment below.

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