Most people never think about how the key they use every day to get into their home or business actually works. It just does. Our key reliably faithfully opens our locks each time we insert it. But then the day comes when it becomes stiff to insert or when we need to change the lock because of a lost key or some other circumstance, and we are faced with a decision.
Do we replace the whole door lock hardware or is it better to simply rekey the door lock that we have already installed?
In order to make the replace or rekey decision it is helpful to understand a little about how a key works inside a lock. Most of us have what are called pin-and-tumbler locks. Without getting too technical, within these locks are a series of small pins of varying lengths which are attached to a spring that keeps them in position.1
When a key is placed into the lock, the pins are pushed down toward a tumbler. If the length of each of these pins with the key inserted doesn’t put the pins at the correct height, the tumbler doesn’t rotate to open the lock.
The rekeying process was invented in the early to mid-1800’s, so people have been successfully rekeying locks for well over 100 years. Rekeying is a procedure that involves changing the tumbler configuration of the lock so that a new key will open the lock and your old key won’t.
When a lock is rekeyed, you don’t have to change the entire door locking hardware. You simply change the middle part of the actual lock, which is the pin and tumbler lock mechanism.
There are a number of good reasons to rekey a lock rather than replace a lock.
Convenience is an important factor. If you just moved into a new home, for example, the door hardware is new. You wouldn’t want to replace new door hardware, but you also can’t be certain how many tradespeople were given a key to your home while it was under construction. This is a situation where rekeying is the solution. If you just moved into an existing home, you would also want to rekey the lock to ensure that you and your family are the only ones who are able to access your home.
Businesses and landlords also frequently rekey locks rather than replace them to ensure that access to a business or rental property is controlled through the use of a new key. You may also want to rekey your locks so they can all be opened with a single key, rather than different keys for multiple doors in your home. This will only work, however, if all of the door locks are made by the same manufacturer.
Ease of installation and cost are also factors to consider. When you rekey a lock you don’t have to replace door hardware and paint any spots that need to be touched up. In terms of cost, the service call is the biggest expense when having a locksmith rekey your locks. A small price to pay for peace of mind of a job done right. However, you can save money by removing the lock and taking it to the locksmith.4
In order to rekey a lock, whether you do it yourself or have a locksmith perform the service for you, you must have a key that opens that lock. You will need to weigh all of the factors to determine whether rekeying or replacing is your best option.
Action Locksmith is a Michigan Locksmith Service that had been re-keying and replacing locks in homes and businesses for over 30 years. As one of the best locksmith companies in Michigan, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
Having experience in all facets of locksmithing, we can tackle any lock, door, safe or security issue you are facing. Call us today to learn more about our services and set up a security consultation!