Should You Have a Locksmith Rekey Locks or Change Locks?

Fatima Buzdar

October 5, 2022

A close-up image shows three keys and a cylindrical lock mechanism arranged on a white surface. Two keys stand upright near the lock cylinder, while the third lies flat in the foreground. Parts of other keys, hinting at locksmith tools, are partially visible in the background.

A secure and properly functioning locking system is the most important security measure you can take for your property. Keeping your locking system up-to-date is the prime deterrence to the attempts of breaking and entering, which was as high as over 125,500 reported cases in Canada throughout 2021. 

Once you have determined that the circumstances or signs indicate the need to renew the key entry, you may have to weigh the options available to you and contemplate which is the best course of action: should you rekey locks or change locks?

The answer depends upon the root cause behind the concern that should be resolved by resetting the key access. This article will explore these both options, what they entail, and what situations can best make use of which. A locksmith, along with being able to rekey or change your locks and more, can also help you pick the best option.

What is Lock Rekeying?

Rekeying a lock entails disassembling the lock to gain access to its pin-and-tumbler mechanism. The tumbler mechanism located in a lock utilizes pins to recognize the right key shape and allow the door to unlock if the right one is inserted. As such, the rekeying process proceeds with replacing the pins with a set of entirely new pins that recognize a new shape of key.

This means that any copies of the old key will no longer operate the lock. This cuts off the access of old keys while keeping the existing lock structure.

What is Lock Replacement?

A lock replacement goes beyond just replacing the pins, unlike rekeying the lock. It entails removing the current lockset from the door and installing an entirely new lockset. This will also come with recognition for a new key shape, making the old key and its copies no longer work.

Should You Rekey or Change Your Lock?

Which of the two options can benefit the security of your property the most depends upon the circumstances. As you may guess, rekeying a lock is a cheaper solution as it requires only replacing certain components of the lock mechanism. Replacing a lock on the other hand requires buying a new lockset and then having it installed, which in turn is a more expensive option.

However, you should not reject the need to change the old lock with a new one just because of the costs. A tragic event due to an insecure lockset can cost you much more than the price of replacing it. On the other hand, you may also not want to unnecessarily choose this lesser affordable option if it is not needed. Hence, you should contemplate what suits your property security the best.

When Should You Rekey Your Lock?

Here are some of the situations that can be resolved simply by changing the pins of the lock.

Stolen or Misplaced Key

A stolen key is obviously a very bad sign of your property security threatened by a dire danger. As soon as it comes to your attention that the security of your property is compromised by a malicious person stealing it, you should not delay rekeying your lock and preventing that unauthorized person from forcibly entering your property. 

It is also an unfortunate but common mistake to misplace your keys and lose access to them. While it is not guaranteed that the keys would be found by someone malicious or anyone who knows the entry point of the key, it is still best to be safe and rekey your locks in order to prevent a catastrophic incident.

Moved to a New Place

If you have moved into a new home, you should get the house locks rekeyed to ensure there is no unauthorized access to it that you may be unaware of. You can not be completely sure if anyone still has copies of keys to your home.

For example, the former tenant or homeowner might not have turned in their key copies after moving out. Not to mention that the key copies tend to be distributed among contractors for the construction of a house, and it is best in these cases as well to not be trusting that your lock access is not compromised.

Revoke Access of a Person With a Copy

Alternatively, you may be aware of who has the copy. However, whether it is due to a rough break-up or a lack of trust for your ex-roommate, you might not want that person to access your home anymore. If they have not turned in their copies or you suspect there to be more copies than returned, then you should replace your lock in order to prevent anyone’s unwelcome access to your home.

When Should You Replace Your Lock?

Here are some situations that can require replacing your lockset entirely.

Worn Out Locks

Along with time, the locks wear down, especially if not regularly maintained and used roughly. While some issues can be solved with a locksmith’s repair services, some issues may deteriorate to the point that repairs won’t fix it and the lock won’t securely work anymore. In that case, it absolutely should be replaced as soon as possible. You should also be on the lookout for any signs that your lock needs replacement or repair, because certain issues can make your locks insecure and should not be neglected.

Recent Break-In

If you have had an unfortunate incident of someone breaking in, then it may definitely be a wise decision to consider changing your locks. Not only can it give you the peace of mind that your security is upgraded and retouched, but it can also resolve the vulnerability if the lock was damaged throughout the break-in. 

Suspicion of Lock Tampering

If you have any suspicions that an attempt to compromise your lock has been made, then you should consider getting your lock checked and replaced to ensure security. There are two common lock-tampering methods: lock picking and lock bumping. You should not ignore their signs if you notice them.

If you notice fine and new scratch marks surrounding the keyhole, this may be the aftermath of an attempt to pick the lock. Or if you notice signs of some object having hit around the keyhole, then this may be a sign of a technique called bumping. In either instance, the best course of action may be to upgrade your security and get the lock replaced.

Security Upgrade

Especially if your locks are old, you might want to upgrade the security of your property with technologically advanced solutions. In that case, you may consider investing in replacing your current lockset with electronic locks, smart locks, etc.

Aesthetics Improvement

Setting the security concerns aside, you might feel that the aesthetics of your lock do not fit your house or feel outdated. In this case, you may look into getting a new lock that better aligns with your desired aesthetics.

Can I Rekey a Lock or Change a Lock Myself?

In order to rekey a lock, you will need to buy a specialized kit for it. Then you will need to operate it properly, so that you do not end up damaging your lock. Additionally, you will also need to know your way around the internal mechanisms of door locks. This task can be tricky and time-consuming unless you are an expert, unlike professional locksmiths who are proficient to do the work for you perfectly and quickly. As such, unless you have expertise that you are confident with, it is best to leave the work to locksmiths who are equipped with robust knowledge and the right tools.

As far as replacing locks goes, that is in a similar vein as well. You should ensure to buy the lock from a reputable source that can secure your house properly, as well as install it the right way. This can also get tricky for a layman. All in all, your best bet may be your local locksmith.

Do Not Delay Changing or Rekeying Your Locks

If your house is in need of solutions to rekey locks or change locks, then you should not neglect seeking a locksmith’s services for it. Break-ins and burglaries threaten the security of your house and neglecting you keep your door locks up to date can result in a bad event. Depending on the circumstances, either rekeying the locks or changing the locks can eliminate the primary security concerns.

Our professional locksmiths have a stellar experience of serving Toronto’s residents with secure locks and security advice for 5 years. We can help you choose the right and affordable solution for your needs, as well as implement it perfectly and swiftly. By trusting us, you can rest assured that your house is secure.

Safeguard your property with our expert locksmith solutions. Get in touch with our approachable, knowledgeable team.