How to Rekey a Yale Lock

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Are you concerned about the security of your door? Unless you have a smart lock, you're still carrying around keys, which can get lost or stolen. Rekeying is one way to improve your home's security.

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When it's time to rekey a Yale lock, you have two main options: calling a locksmith or using a rekeying kit to do it yourself. Comparing the options helps you decide which way to rekey a Yale lock.

Reasons To Rekey

Different situations might call for you to rekey a Yale lock. It's a good idea to rekey or replace the locks when you move into a new home. You don't know how many copies of the key the previous owner passed out to other people. Even new builds should have the locks rekeyed since various contractors could have copies of the key. You might decide to rekey the lock if you or a family member loses a key.

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Another situation that calls for rekeying is someone moving out of the house. Whether it's a roommate who no longer lives there or you're going through a breakup or divorce, it's not worth the risk to allow that person to have free access to your home.

What Is Rekeying?

Locking doorknobs and deadbolts use a pin and tumbler lock. The springs and pins inside the lock allow only the specific key shape to turn and open the lock. The pin configuration and groove depths on the key have to be a match.

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Rekeying the lock requires the existing pins to be removed. New pins go into the lock to match the unique shape of the new key.

Rekeying vs. Replacing a Lock

Rekeying a Yale lock is a secure option and works for many situations. If the lock works fine and you like the look of it, rekeying it takes care of the security issue. Rekeying is generally a cheaper option whether you do it yourself or hire a locksmith.

You only need to replace the entire lock if you want to upgrade your curb appeal with a more modern look or if the current lock doesn't work well. Some people choose to upgrade to a smart lock instead of a traditional deadbolt.

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You might choose to replace all locks if they're different brands. By replacing them all with one brand, you can rekey all locks to work with the same key. Locks from different brands can't be rekeyed to use the same key.

Use a Locksmith

Hiring a locksmith to rekey a Yale lock is the easiest option. You don't have to do any work, and you know the job is done correctly. You can have the locksmith come to your house, or you can remove the lock and take it to the locksmith, which saves you the service call fee.

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If the locksmith comes to you, you'll usually pay a service call fee plus a fee for each rekeyed lock. Service calls typically range from $40 to $100. The per-lock fee is usually between $10 and $30. If you have one lock rekeyed and find an inexpensive locksmith, you might only pay around $50, but the cost can quickly grow if the service call is more expensive, and you have multiple locks to rekey.

Taking the lock to the locksmith or a hardware store that handles rekeying is usually cheaper. You'll usually only pay a per-lock fee, which could be around $5 per lock. Call several local options to find rates and compare prices.

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Rekey a Yale Lock Yourself

To save money, consider buying a rekeying kit to rekey the lock yourself. The only rekeying kit that will work is one designed specifically for Yale locks. Rekeying kits aren't universal, so a kit for a Schlage lock or other brands won't work. Expect to pay between $12 and $25 for a rekeying kit, which can be used for up to five locks of the same brand.

The kit should include everything you need to remove and disassemble your lock for rekeying. You'll take everything apart and remove the old pins. Then, you insert your new key and put the new pins in place using tweezers to position them. After reassembling the lock, your new key should work.

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Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.