If you’ve ever moved into a new home, misplaced your keys, or had to terminate a disgruntled employee, you’ve likely considered changing your locks.
The majority of people are unaware that rekeying locks is a superior and often cheaper alternative to replacing their locks. In this article, we’ll explain what it means to “rekey” a lock and, more importantly, when you should rekey locks instead of replacing them. Why is this so crucial, you may ask? Because it can save you a considerable amount of money annually. Instead of explaining the differences to the customer, some locksmiths opt for the more expensive option themselves, taking advantage of their lack of knowledge.
What is Rekeying Locks?
While “changing a lock” is fairly self-explanatory, simply referring to replacing an old lock with a new one, “rekeying locks” requires some clarification. Rekeying a lock involves replacing the working key of the lock with a new key without replacing the lock. In other words, the lock remains the same, but the old key no longer works. This is accomplished by disassembling the lock and replacing certain internal components (called “tumblers” or “key pins”).
Each series of key pins in your lock corresponds to a specific key pin, so when you replace these pins with new ones, you have effectively created a new key that can now operate the lock. Given the appropriate equipment, this is a straightforward procedure that should not take more than a few minutes.
For rekeying locks, the locksmith requires a current key that matches the lock. Without the matching key, the only way to rekey the lock is to pick it open, which is usually not a problem for a skilled locksmith but often incurs additional fees that can make the process more expensive than simply replacing the lock.
Rekeying locks neither affects the lock’s security nor makes it more secure. The number of pins contained within a lock contributes to its security. As long as the locksmith replaces the old five pins with five new ones, the lock will be as secure as before. If you want to increase the security of your locks, you should replace them with new, higher-security locks.
Due to the extremely low cost of key pins in locks, rekeying is almost always significantly less expensive than replacing locks. When you get your locks rekeyed, you only pay for labor, whereas when you get your locks changed, you pay for both labor and parts.
Important to remember is that all locks have the option to be rekeyed, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your locks are rekeyable. However, rekeying locks is not always the same process and frequently requires different tools. Some high-security locks, such as “Medeco” and “Mul-T-Lock,” must be rekeyed with a specific set of tools and key pins.
Rekeying locks is used not only when an old key must be retired, but also to match multiple locks to the same key. For instance, if your home has numerous locks and each lock has a unique key, which can be inconvenient, you may rekey the locks so that they all use the same key. Keep in mind that in order to match two or more locks to a single key, the locks must be of the same brand or feature identical keyholes. If your key fits into one lock but not another, this indicates that their keyholes (or “keyways”) are dissimilar and cannot be matched.
When is Rekeying Locks Necessary?
The two most frequent reasons to rekey a lock are:
If you are satisfied with your locks but want to change the key so that the old key will no longer work, YH Locksmith can help. For instance:
- If you have moved into a new residence and do not know who else has a key, you are in a predicament.
- Lost a duplicate key and are concerned that someone may find it.
- Want to prevent anyone with the key from entering.
- When you have multiple keys for multiple locks and you want them to all match one key. (given that all the locks have the same manufacturer or keyhole)
When Should You Choose Locks Change?
- You want your locks to have a different color or style. For instance, if you moved into a new home and the locks are old and rusted, you may wish to replace them with locks that are more aesthetically pleasing.
- When you want to improve your home’s security by replacing your locks with high-security or electronic locks.
- If your home has locks of different brands and you want them to all work with the same key, you will need to change some locks so that they are all of the same brand (or have the same type of keyway) before you can re-key them to one key.
In situations where you have one or more locks installed but no key to them, you must compare the cost of purchasing a new lock versus rekeying them without a key (which requires additional labor) and make an informed decision as to which option is more cost-effective. Only when picking the lock and rekeying locks it is more expensive than purchasing a new lock should you replace it.
Note that when changing your locks, the locksmith should be able to provide you with at least a few locks and keys. Most hardware stores offer complimentary lock matching with each purchase.
Can you rekey locks on your own?
Rekeying locks requires not only knowledge and experience, but also expensive, specialized tools. A professional pinning kit to rekey the majority of locks costs approximately $250, which is significantly more than the cost of 10 new basic locks. Keep in mind that if you try to change a lock yourself and fail, you won’t do much damage to the lock, but if you try to rekey a lock and fail, you will almost always completely destroy it.
Some modern locks can be easily rekeyed at home, without the need to disassemble them or call a locksmith. As technology advances, these locks are becoming more and more popular, but they still have flaws. Therefore, if rekeying a lock is not something you do frequently, we advise you to keep your door’s standard locks for the time being.
Don’t risk unauthorized access and rekey your locks with YH Locksmith
YH Locksmith provides rekeying services throughout Las Vegas. Call (702) 840-1465 for more information. If you’re ready for rekeying locks, rely on YH Lock & Security to provide the service and technology you require. Providing top-notch locksmith and key services in Las Vegas. Contact us today.