You just learned how to rekey a cylinder lock. To rekey a lock you need to dismantle the mechanism to gain access to the cylinder. There are hundreds of different cylinder locks, each with their own way of being dismantled. This section covers general guidelines for dismantling a few specific lock types, but should remain relevant for every lock you encounter.

Multi-bit screwdriver

  • Remove the 2 thumb turn screws to remove the thumb turn.
  • Remove the 2 screws underneath the thumb turn. This will release the front half of the deadbolt from the door.
  • The cylinder is in the front half of the deadbolt. There is a screw in the back that releases the cylinder from the deadbolt housing; however, you can choose to service the cylinder from within the deadbolt housing.


Most handle sets will dismantle in 1 of 2 ways. Many newer key-in-knobs and lever handles have a release pin on the handle. To access the cylinder, insert the key and turn to retract the latch. At the same time, insert a poking device into the hole to trigger the release pin while pulling on the handle. The handle should come off the door, with the cylinder inside. Extract the cylinder to rekey the lock. To reassemble the lever handle, return the cylinder into the handle and put the key inside the keyway. Place the handle back onto the rest of the lock. You will notice at this time that the handle catches on the release pin. Turn the key to retract the latch and depress the release pin while pushing on the handle. You should hear a click as it latches into place.

Multi-bit screwdriver

For other handle-sets, remove the keyed end from the door by unscrewing the two screws at the back of the lock. Note the slim rod the projects from the back of the handle. Insert the key and rotate 45 degrees as you pull the rod back. This should remove the cylinder from the handle-set housing. Instead of an end-cap, these locks have a C-ring which holds the cylinder in its housing. Remove the clip using your C-ring pliers. Rekey the lock as normal. To reassemble these locks, reverse your steps. Place the C-ring back on the cylinder using your c-ring pliers. Insert the key into the cylinder, and insert the cylinder back into the handle set. Rotate the key 45 degrees as you pull the metal rod back. You should hear a click as the cylinder locks back into place. Reassemble the lock back on the door and you are done!