Should You Replace a Lost Key or Rekey a Lock?

Rekey a lock

Should I rekey the locks or should I replace them? 

This question usually arises after people lose the key to their homes. Other times when people think of rekeying or replacing a lock is when they have just moved into a new home and are not sure who else has the key to their front doors or they want to withdraw access from someone who has a key to the apartment or office.

If you are in a situation where you no longer trust the security of your locks, should you replace the complete lock or rekey the old one by changing out some of its components?

Most people faced with this situation usually go for a complete lock replacement. The first reason they do this is that they do not know that rekeying exists as an option, explains McGuire Management, and their locksmith may not tell them. Since it is cheaper to rekey a lock, the locksmith makes less money when they rekey a lock versus when they replace it. 

Secondly, even when people know they can rekey a lock, they are skeptical about the security of the rekeyed lock. 

Below we help you answer all the questions you have about rekeying or replacing your locks so that you can make an informed decision.

What does it mean to rekey a lock?

Rekeying a lock is the simple process of creating a new key for the old lock. After rekeying, you can keep using the old lock, but the old keys will no longer be able to open it. To rekey a lock, the locksmith takes it apart and replaces some of the pins inside it with new ones. 

Rekeying a lock

What this does is change the inner workings of the old lock so that the old key does not operate the lock anymore. To rekey a lock is to reset it. Locks that can undergo these include single cylinders, double cylinders and mechanical locksets

But is a rekeyed lock secure? And if it is so easy to rekey a lock, what stops someone else from illegally rekeying my locks? A rekeyed lock retains the same level of security as it had before being rekeyed. Rekeying the lock does not diminish or increase its security. 

Furthermore, to rekey a lock, you should have its current matching key. Without a matching key, the process of rekeying becomes a lot harder. The locksmith has to pick it open first before they can replace its parts to rekey it. And it might cost more money to do this than it will cost to replace the lock.

When should you rekey a lock?

  • When your only concern is how many people have copies of the key. Such as when you move into a new home or rental; your keys are lost or stolen, or you want to prevent unauthorized access
  • When you want to save money but also want to retain the security of your locks. Key pins are very cheap; to rekey a lock, you will typically only need to pay for labor.
  • When you want to match one key to several locks. That is, you want the convenience of being able to open all the bolts with a single key.
  • When you are in a hurry to regain control of the security of your home or office.

Replacing your locks

Unlike rekeying locks, replacing locks does not need an explanation. It simply means to change the old lock and install a new one in its place. It is a more expensive option because you may have to buy a new doorknob and deadbolt. And in some cases, a new strike plate will also need to be installed. It is in addition to the additional labor costs of replacing the lock. However, there are situations where lock replacement is the best, and probably, the only option.

When should you Replace a lock?

Replace a lock
  • You have suffered a break-in, and the security of the lock is compromised.
  • The locks in a home are worn out or do not complement the style and design of the home. Or you want a uniform manner and design of locks for the entire house. 
  • You want to improve the security of your home and office by updating the locks to newer and more secure models, such as electronic locks.
  • You want your locks to work with a single key but this is not possible because they are different brands. As a result, you want to change the locks to one brand with a similar keyway.
  • There is someone in the home who is living with a disability, and the current locks are not compatible with people living with a disability.
  • You do not have the keys to the some of the locks in your home. And the cost of rekeying them without a lock is the same or higher than the cost of replacing them.

Red Rocks Locksmith technicians provide both types of services – any types of locks change and rekeying existing ones.

David is the Owner of RedRocks Locksmith, and his passion is to provide quality and honest service helping keep the company’s customers in Colorado safe and secure while offering the latest and most advanced solutions that can be found on the market.