How to Change Your Locks

May 21, 2014

There are quite a few benefits to changing your locks after you purchase a new home. This is a relatively inexpensive but highly beneficial task that will help your new home feel safe and secure. So, if “change the locks” is on your long list of post move-in “to-dos,” then take a look at the steps below to do it yourself and save a few bucks. Remember that there is a wide array of locks, lock styles and doors, so you may need to modify the installation process based on your specific situation.

Items Needed:
• New lock (preferably the same brand, style and with similar features as your current lock)
•Small screwdriver (Most likely a flathead screwdriver but this will depend on your specific lock. I recommend having a Phillips screwdriver on hand as well.)

Step 1 Make note of the brand, style, feature and setback (distance from the edge of the door) of your current lock. This will help ensure that your new lock will be compatible with your door the same way your old lock was. Buy a new lock that closely matches your old lock, if possible.

door knob with latchStep 2 Next, open the door and disassemble your current door knob and lock. Start by removing the interior knob and cover plate. You can do this by using a screwdriver and wedging it between the knob and the cover plate. Then wiggle the door knob out and pull the cover plate off. After that, unscrew the interior screws of the knob that are holding the lock in place. There probably will be another plate in place that can be slid off of the lock after the screws have been removed.

Step 3 After disassembling the interior knob, slide the exterior portion of the knob/lock out.

Step 4 Remove the latch portion of the knob/lock by unscrewing the top and bottom screws, and pulling the latch out of the door.

Step 5 If your new lock is a good match, you should be able to use the current holes to screw in the new knob and lock. If not, you will need to drill new holes for the screws for your new lock.

Step 6 Once you confirm that the current latch holes will work for your new lock, or have drilled new holes for the lock, install the new latch. Begin by placing the new latch in the location where the old latch was and screwing in the top and bottom screws very tightly.

Step 7 Next, install the knob portions of the lock. Separate the knobs, and thread the lock cylinder through the round opening in the door, tighten the plate on the exposed cylinder side and then position the other door knob. After the knobs are in place, screw each side in place, into the door. NOTE: Be sure that the keyed portion of the lock is on the exterior of the door.

Step 8 After you install and secure the knobs and lock, test the latch feature as well as the lock, with the key, before closing the door.

On top of the list of things to do after moving in, remember that changing your locks may give you peace of mind and ensure your safety.

Have you changed your own locks before? What advice and pointers can you offer to someone who might need help with this task? Comment below!


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