How to Change Your Locks: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homeowners

How to Change Your LocksA lock change is essential to home security, whether you’ve lost your keys, just moved into a new home, or experienced a security breach. This guide will walk you through the process of changing locks, providing detailed steps and tips to ensure your home’s protection.

If you are unsure how to change your locks, you can cause more damage to your locking system and doors, compromising the protection of your home. Call the trained professionals at 5-Star Locksmith of San Jose for the best lock replacements.

When You Should Do A Door Lock Change?

Changing your door locks should be considered in several situations to maintain the security of your home. Here are some scenarios where changing your locks is recommended:

Moving Into a New House

When you move into a new home, you can’t be certain who may have a copy of the same key that opens your back or front door. Previous owners, real estate agents, or contractors might still have access, so it’s wise to immediately change all the locks on all doors.

Lost or Stolen Keys

If your keys are lost or stolen, there’s a risk that someone could use them to gain unauthorized entry to your home. Changing the locks ensures that the lost or stolen keys are no longer useful.

After a Break-In

If your home has been broken into, it’s crucial to change your locks to prevent future break-ins. Even if the intruder did not use a key, they might have found one inside.

Change in Household Members

If a roommate, tenant, or employee moves out, it’s a good idea to change the locks, especially if the relationship did not end on good terms.

Worn-Out Door Locks

Over time, locks begin to wear out or become damaged, making them easier to pick or break. If your locks are old or beginning to show signs of wear, it’s a good time to replace them.

The Difference Between Door Lock Installation vs. Rekeying

Sometimes, you can improve your security without changing the entire locking hardware or purchasing a new lockset from a hardware store. This process is known as rekeying.

Rekeying involves altering the internal locking mechanism of your own lock so that it works with a new key.

This is often a cheaper solution than replacing the entire lock, and it only takes a few minutes if you know what you’re doing.

When to Replace vs. Rekey

Replace the Locks: This is when your current lock is damaged or old or you want to upgrade your home, business, or rental properties.

Rekey the Locks: When you want to maintain existing hardware and ensure old keys no longer work.

Replacing the Door Lock

When you replace locks, you remove the entire lock mechanism and install a new one. This is necessary when the existing lock is damaged or you want to upgrade to a higher-security door lock.

A replacement lock provides an opportunity to enhance your home’s protection with your current locks and ensure all components are new.


Rekeying involves changing the lock’s internal pins and tumblers to work with a new key. The process does not require replacing the entire lock hardware. Rekeying is a cost-effective solution when you want to prevent old keys from working without changing the lock.

You can also opt for a keyed-alike system, in which the same key opens every door lock in the house.

Steps to Rekey Your Lock

  • Purchase a Rekey Kit: Make sure you buy a rekey kit that contains the simple tool you need to do the rekey and a kit that matches your door lock brand.
  • Remove the Lock: Disassemble the door lock from the door to access the internal mechanism.
  • Insert the Old Key: Use the old key to open the lock and remove the cylinder.
  • Insert the Pins: Follow the instructions in the rekeying kit to replace the old pins with new ones.
  • Reassemble the Lock: Put the locking system back together and test it to ensure it works smoothly.

How to Replace a Lock

Measure for the Replacement Lock

How to Change Your Locks 2Before purchasing new locks from your local hardware store, measure your existing lock to ensure the replacement will fit correctly.

If you need help installing a replacement lock and feel it’s a complicated process, contact your local locksmith at 5-Star Locksmith of San Jose.

We have all the tools and years of experience to replace your current lock with the same brand or a new brand of lock system. We even install electronic lock systems.

  • Measure the Backset: The backset is the distance from the door’s edge to the lock hole’s center. Common backset measurements are 2 3/8 in. or 2 3/4 in. Measure from the edge of the door to the center of the hole where the lock will be installed.
  • Measure the Bore Hole: The borehole is the large hole where the lock body is inserted. Standard borehole diameters are typically 2 1/8 inches. Measure the diameter to ensure your new lock will fit.
  • Measure the Door Thickness: Most residential interior and some exterior doors within the door jamb are between 1 3/8 in. and 1 3/4 in. thick. Measure the thickness to confirm compatibility with your new lock.
  • Measure the Strike Plate: This plate is the metal plate attached to the edge of the door frame. Measure the existing plate’s length and width to ensure the new one will fit properly.

Step 2: Remove the Existing Lock


Removing the old locking system involves disassembling the lock components from the door.

  • Locate the Screws: Find the two screws on the interior side of the lock or door handle.
  • Remove the Screws: Use a screwdriver to remove the two screws holding the locking system in place. Keep the two screws in a safe place in case you need them later.
  • Remove the Lock Components: Simply pull the lock components away from the door. This includes the door handle or doorknob, latch mechanism, and deadbolt.

Step 3: Remove the Old Door Knob

Removing the old door knobs is necessary before installing the new lock.

  • Find the Retaining Screw: Locate the retaining screw on the side of the doorknob.
  • Unscrew the Retaining Screw: Use a screwdriver to remove the retaining screw.
  • Remove the Door Knob: Once the screw is removed, you should be able to pull the door knob off the door.

Step 4: Insert a New Deadbolt Lock

Inserting a deadbolt lock involves installing the new lock mechanism into the door.

  • Align the Dead Bolt: Insert the new dead bolt mechanism into the door’s borehole, ensuring it aligns with the deadbolt plate on the door frame.
  • Secure the Dead Bolt: Use the provided screws to secure the deadbolt into the new screw hole. Make sure it sits flush with the door surface.

Step 5: Remove Screws from the Old Lock

When removing the old lock, ensure you have identified and removed all necessary screws.

  • Identify Each Screw: There may be a screw on both the interior and exterior sides of the locking system.
  • Remove: Use a screwdriver to remove all screws holding the lock in place.
  • Keep Track: Place each screw in a safe location, as you may need them later.

Step 6: Install New Deadbolt and Faceplate

To install the new deadbolt and faceplate, follow these steps:

  • Aligning the Faceplate: Position the faceplate over the latch mechanism on the interior side of the door edge.
  • Securing the Faceplate: Use the provided hardware to attach the faceplate to the door.
  • Inserting the Deadbolt: Slide the deadbolt mechanism into the door’s borehole and tighten it.

Step 7: Install New Strike Plates

Installing new strike plates protects your back and front door locks.

  • Position the Strike Plate: Align new strike plates with the existing holes on the door frame.
  • Mark Screw Holes: Use a pencil to mark the locations of the screw holes.
  • Drill Pilot Holes: Drill pilot holes for each screw.
  • Attach the Plate: Tighten the strike plate, ensuring it sits flush with the door frame.

Step 8: Install the New Lock’s Knobs or Handles

To install the new lock’s knobs or handles, follow these steps:

  • Insert the New Doorknob: Position the new knob or handle on the door, aligning it with the spindle hole.
  • Secure the Doorknob: Attach the doorknob or handle to the door.
  • Test the Doorknob: Ensure the knob turns smoothly and operates the latch mechanism correctly.

Step 9: Replace the Latch and Deadbolt

Replacing the latch and deadbolt involves the following:

  • Remove the Old Latch: Unscrew and remove the old latch mechanism from the door.
  • Insert the New System: Position the new latch mechanism in the borehole and tighten it with screws.
  • Install the New Deadbolt: Simply slide the new deadbolt into place and tighten it.

Step 10: Test the New Lock

After installing the new lock, it’s important to test it to ensure it operates correctly.

  • Test the Key: Insert the key into the lock and turn it to make sure it operates smoothly.
  • Check the Deadbolt: Engage and disengage the deadbolt to ensure it works properly.
  • Test the Knob or Handle: Turn the knob or handle to ensure it operates the latch mechanism correctly.


Changing the locks on your doors is an important step in maintaining your home’s security. Whether you replace the entire locking system or simply rekey it, understanding the process and having the right tools will make the task easier.

Regularly assessing your locks and taking necessary action helps protect your home and family. Remember, if you encounter difficulties with a properly installed door lock system, 5-Star Locksmith’s professional locksmith services are available to assist you. Call our San Jose locksmith team today for a free quote on replacing your old locking system, whether it’s all the locks or only the back or front door lock.

Be the first to vote 5 Star Locksmith post