When we call our local locksmiths, we may not outright know what service to request for. Rekeying and lock replacement are among the residential locksmith services readily available; however, these are terms that people may get confused about. When you request to change your locks, you are presented with both options, so it helps to be able to differentiate both. A better understanding of this allows us to make informed choices.

Among the most common scenarios that make people change their locks are misplacing or losing their keys; getting their keys stolen; moving to a new house; former tenants moving out; the need to remove access from people whom the owners may have given duplicates to; the lock getting jammed or broken; and switching to new security technology like keyless entry systems.

Rekeying involves changing the mechanisms of your lock. Your locksmith uses his specialized tools to remove the existing pins and springs in the lock cylinder and replace them with new ones. You’re going to need a new set of keys afterwards because your old keys won’t work on your lock anymore.

Rekeying is the more economical option in certain scenarios because you won’t need to purchase a new lock to keep your home or office safe.

Lock replacement involves disassembling and removing the old lock and replacing it with a new one altogether. Just like the former, this will necessitate a new set of keys, and is just as great an option as the former. You will need to purchase a lock, and these usually cost anywhere from $40-$300.

They essentially perform the same function – safeguarding the place from unauthorized access – so how do you know which option is better suited for you?

It works best to have a highly experienced locksmith assess your door and locks before you decide. An expert from West Coast Locksmith in Beverly Hills says that, aside from asking his clients about their expectations, he initially checks if the locks are in good condition, if they are hard to find, or if they’re already worn out before he discusses the clients’ options. Furthermore, he shared which lock-changing method is better based on the given situations:

Getting a Master Key Setup

Most houses use more than one lock. If these locks are of the same brand or their keyholes are of the same type, it is more convenient and economical to rekey the locks so that you can unlock them using the same key. The locksmith can create the master key for you. This master key setup simplifies things for you and your family.

Changing a Lock That Is in Good Condition

If the locksmith is able to verify that your lock is in good condition and is working properly, you can opt to have this rekeyed, not replaced. Rekeying this will still offer you the same level of security as replacing a lock will. Rekeying will render old keys useless, so this option makes sense in this scenario.

Changing a Lock That is Rare of Hard to Find

There are specialized locks or locks that are hard to find. Perhaps the lock may have sentimental value, such as antique locks, so they’re hard to let go of. Because of its rare type, it may be difficult to find the exact same lock. With rekeying, you won’t have to let go of it.

Maintaining the Aesthetics and Design

If the lock installed was selected to complement the design of the door, replacing this may affect the aesthetics and overall design of the space. The new lock may not match the design of the door, or finding the exact lock may take time. In this case, rekeying is the more favorable option.

Moving to a New Home

Lock replacement and rekeying may both work for this scenario, but rekeying is the economical choice. When you move to a new home, rekeying is important because, at the construction or repair stage of this house, you can expect contractors and other people to be given keys to access the house. Rekeying assures you that no one other than your family will have access to your house, and the old keys will be rendered useless after you move.

Changing the Lock Because of Lost or Stolen Keys

Just like the previous scenario, rekeying or replacing your locks can work. There is a need to change locks to ensure your safety. In case someone gets a hold of your key and attempts to gain access to your home or office, we want to make sure the old key won’t work on your door lock.

Replacing a Lock That Is Worn Out

If the lock is worn out, it is safer to replace this with a new one. Worn out locks tend to cause more problems the longer it is kept in there. Broken locks may get jammed and cause lockouts.

Upgrading to a Different Security System

If your purpose is to upgrade to a different lock system – keyless entry systems or smart locks, for example – then lock replacement is the only way to go. You can get home security systems that allow you to remotely lock or unlock your door using a phone, tablet, or PC.

It helps to get to know your options in detail before you make a decision. Being properly informed about your options can help you save time and money. It is advisable to talk to your locksmith in detail about what you want and ask them for options before making a decision.


Onah Natividad

By Onah Natividad
who is editor at West Coast Locksmith.

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