Lock Change and Rekeying: What’s the Difference Between Rekeying and Replacing a Lock?

Have you ever considered changing your key locks? If you have lost your keys, moved into a new apartment, or had to sack an angry employee, then you would have at one time thought of changing your locks. Aside from lock change, there is also the option of lock rekeying, which some have argued to be cheaper and better. The debate between lock change and rekeying has always ensued. While some people feel that rekeying their key is better, some people still believe that they are better off changing the entire lock system.

We shall look at the idea of a lock change and rekeying and discuss the differences between them. We shall also highlight the importance of rekeying and lock change. However, before we do so, we have to define these two concepts to give you a broader understanding of what lock change and rekeying is all about.

What Does it Mean to Rekey a Lock?

The concept of lock rekeying has to do with changing a lock’s working mechanism to a different one without replacing the lock itself. When you rekey a lock, you are only replacing the key without having to change the lock. This means that your old key will no longer operate the lock because the lock mechanism has been changed.  To rekey a lock, a locksmith replaces some parts, such as the key pins or tumblers.

Every key pins’ series in your lock has a corresponding specific key that can operate it. By replacing the key pins or tumblers with separate ones, you set up the key mechanism for a new key to operate the lock while the old key becomes obsolete. The procedure may be a bit complicated, but it is easy to carry out, and it may take only a few minutes to do so with the right tools.

To rekey a lock, a locksmith should have the current matching key. If the matching key is not available, the locksmith may have to pick open the lock. Picking a lock to rekey may attract additional charges, which may seem more expensive than lock replacement. Rekeying a lock doesn’t make it more or less secure. What determines the security of a lock is the number of pins it has. Provided the old five pins are changed with the new five pins, the lock’s security stays the same.

To further distinguish lock change or rekeying, it is essential to know that all keys are built to allow for rekeying. However, the rekeying process of one key may differ from another. The tools for rekeying a lock may be different from others.

When Do You Rekey a Lock?

Many people have asked when it should be best to rekey a lock. There are two common scenarios for lock rekeying, and they include the following.

The first is if you are okay with your locks, but you prefer changing the key so that the old key should no longer open the lock. People who fall under this category are:

  • Individuals who are moving into a new place and do not know who else has the key
  • Those who may have lost a copy of their keys and are worried that someone else may find it
  • Those who do not want someone who has their keys to gain access to their apartment

The second scenario of lock rekeying may occur if you have several keys for several locks, and you may prefer all the locks to match a single key if you have the same brand of locks.

What Does it Mean to Change a Lock?

Changing a lock requires you to replace the entire lock system, including the keys. You will be buying a new lock system, including the keys, instead of changing the lock mechanism alone. It is more expensive to change a lock as opposed to rekeying a lock. However, there are reasons why some people may prefer to change their locks instead of rekeying the locks. What are these reasons? Let’s find out!

When Do You Change a Lock?

Knowing when to change a lock throws more light on the ensuing debate between lock change and rekeying. The following are the reasons why people may choose to change their locks instead of rekeying.

  • You move into a new apartment and find out that the locks are rusty and old. You may be prompted to change the old locks to a new one.
  • You want to carry out a security upgrade on your locks or change them to an electronic lock.
  • If you have different locks’ brands and would prefer all the locks in your home to use the same key or keyways

How Can I Get a Duplicate Car Key Without The Original?

It is possible to get a duplicate car key even if you do not have the original key. You will require the service of an Auto Locksmith. However, you may need to provide your auto locksmith with some vital information such as the model and make of your car, registration and identification number of your car, and the type of car key.

You may also have to provide proof of ownership of the car and other personal information like address, photo, and full name. Your auto locksmith will have to get a new car key and reprogram the key to be compatible with your vehicle. Your old car key will also be de-programmed so that no one can make use of it in case the key was stolen.

How much Will it Cost to Replace a Car Key?

The cost of replacing your car key will depend on different factors. Firstly, your vehicle’s model and age may determine how much you may have to pay for key duplication. Secondly, the type of key is also a determinant factor on the price of key duplication or replacement. Your car key type may be a keyless entry, a remote key, or a key made before 1995 with no chip inside it.

Can You Rekey Your Lock to Match an Already Existing Key?

You can rekey your locks so that they can perfectly match an existing key. You can rekey several locks so that a single key can open all of them. You can also find out if all your locks utilize a similar keyway by taking your existing key and try sliding it into the keyholes of all the locks you intend to match with that particular key. If it does not slide in, it means that it is a different locks brand using a different keyway.

Should Your Property Owner Have Your Key?

Most people do not feel comfortable with the idea that their landlord has a spare copy of their house keys. Some may not feel safe because they feel anyone can get hold of that spare key and access their home. Should your landlord have a copy of your house key? To put it straight, a property owner or manager needs to have a separate or spare key to your home in case of an emergency.

The emphasis here is “emergency," which means that a property owner does not have the right to barge into your home with a duplicate copy of your spare key if there is no emergency. To avoid an unwanted scenario like this, some tenants change the locks to their homes immediately after renting the apartment. Before changing the lock to your apartment, ensure that it is in line with your lease agreement so you would not be breaching your terms of the contract.

Can You Cut a Key From a Lock?

A professional locksmith can cut a key from a lock. However, there are different strategies for doing this. Most people often request a locksmith to cut a key from a lock, especially in an emergency. Before a locksmith can successfully do this, he may have to try cracking the code. If the code can be cracked successfully, the locksmith can create a new key that will match the lock. The pins in each lock are of different lengths, and this makes the codes of cracking a particular lock to be different from another.

A locksmith can cut a key from a lock by making an impression of the lock. A locksmith does not have to dismantle the lock in this case. He does not also have to decode the lock before creating a new key. A locksmith will have to insert a blank key into the lock. The pins in the lock will then make an impression on the key with marks, giving the locksmith an insight into where to cut.


The debate between lock change and rekeying can be best understood based on individual preference. The situation at the time can determine whether or not you should rekey or change the lock. Whichever you choose to do, your safety should be paramount.

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