Rekeying vs. Changing Locks

by | Oct 21, 2022 | Locksmith

Rekeying vs. Changing Locks

Rekeying vs Changing Locks

“Can you change my locks?” Your Houston locksmith and many other security companies commonly are asked this question several times a day. But, there’s a cheaper and easier solution to restore security in most cases: rekeying. Rekeying is one of the first skills a growing locksmith has to learn, and it can save you some serious money as a customer. So today; We’ll be discussing rekeying vs changing locks, and when each process is most efficient and secure for you!

What Is Rekeying?

Rekeying is the process of changing the key that operates a specific lock. The process is usually accomplished by removing the core or “cylinder” of a lock from its’ housing (pictured below, left) and changing the brass pins within it with new pins that have different lengths. With a new pattern of pins, you’d need a new corresponding key to work the lock; The old key wouldn’t allow the cylinder to spin anymore. Rekeying is different from changing locks as the existing hardware would stay the same and just have a different internal mechanism. This vastly lowers the cost of restoring security to your property, as you wouldn’t need to replace anything in an ideal circumstance.

Can All Locks Be Rekeyed?

While most locks can be rekeyed, this process isn’t possible on some specific types of locks. For example; most standard residential, commercial, and automotive locks are rekeyable. These locks are designed to a specific system of pin or wafer sizes and depths, and also have removable cores that can be extracted by removing a cam or tailpiece with a Phillips screwdriver, Allen wrench, or by hand if it’s secured with a c-clip. These types of locks can be serviced with a “pinning kit” of additional parts and detailed charts that give the specific engineering of the lock system tangible, mathematical values.

locksmith rekeying locks

However, by design, some locks are not designed to be rekeyable. This may be due to a few issues, such as a tailpiece or cam that’s secured by riveting. Riveted locks are not designed to be rekeyed, as the only way to remove the core or cylinder is to destroy the lock. You may experience similar issues if the lock is embedded in plastic or metal, as if there’s no way to remove the core there’s no way to perform work on the core. Another example would be many types of wafer locks, such as those found in cam locks.

While automotive wafer locks do have pinning kits to allow your local Tomball locksmith to perform rekeying services, many other types of lock that function similarly do not. Boat, RV, and ATV locks also suffer from this issue as well. Rekeying is swapping of the internal pins or wafers, and if there are no replacements available from the manufacturer or another third party, rekeying of that lock becomes next to impossible. When in doubt, contact your local Cypress locksmith regarding rekeying, and they’ll be able to tell you if the process is possible for your specific piece of security hardware!

Changing Locks: When You Should Do It

Sometimes rekeying isn’t enough to solve your issue, and you may have to spend money on new hardware to restore functionality. Obviously as we talked about above, some locks cannot be rekeyed and would need to be fully replaced should they stop functioning.

Other reasons for changing locks include damage and age. No lock is immortal; even if it “looks” perfect from the exterior, age and time may have damaged or warped the untreated metal interior. The best way to know if a lock is too worn or damaged to function is to bring the lock to your local Woodlands locksmith. Locksmiths like those at Guardian Safe & Lock are professionals, licensed to diagnose and repair locks when possible. In many cases, the lock simply may need to be rekeyed to a newer, unworn key with new unworn pins in order to restore functionality.

Of course there’s another reason for changing locks instead of simply rekeying; adding functions to your locks or even just for cosmetic style. Swapping a deadbolt for an electronic deadbolt in order to use a pin code or WiFi operation for example is a good reason to replace a standard mechanical deadbolt. Changing the finish or cosmetic design of the locks too means buying and installing new hardware, albeit for the reason of refreshing the “perspective” on the home as opposed to any security concerns.

Guardian Safe & Lock – The Most Trusted Houston Locksmith changing locks

In conclusion you should try to rekey locks when possible to save on unnecessary costs, especially if key control or restoration of mechanical function is your goal. Changing locks for an entirely new set of hardware should be reserved for locks that are too worn or damaged to function, locks that are unable to be rekeyed, or if you’re attempting more of a cosmetic change than a functional one.

Luckily for you, Guardian Safe & Lock is the Houston Locksmith trusted most by the Greater Houston Area. From rekeying and deadbolt installation to commercial key duplication to Houston Gun Safe sales and troubleshooting; our technicians are ready to tackle nearly any security challenge you can throw at us! We also provide car key programming, Houston Access Control installation, and provide work as surveillance camera system installers. Stop by our Tomball, Texas showroom or give us a call at 832-534-8687 for more information!

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