How To Rekey a Kwikset Cylinder

Rekeying a lock is a simple, cost-effective way to ensure security when keys are lost or after moving into a new home. Kwikset, a popular lock brand, offers a straightforward rekeying process that can be accomplished with minimal tools and expertise.

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Tools Needed

  1. SmartKey Rekeying Kit: This kit is specific to Kwikset locks and usually includes a new key, a SmartKey tool, and detailed instructions.
  2. Flathead Screwdriver: For removing the lock from the door.
  3. Paperclip or Reset Tool: In case the cylinder needs resetting.

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Understanding Your Lock

Before you begin, it’s important to know that this guide is specifically for Kwikset locks with SmartKey technology. These locks can be identified by a small slot next to the keyhole. If your lock doesn’t have this, it may require a different rekeying process or a professional locksmith.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Remove the Lock from the Door

  • Use the flathead screwdriver to remove the lock from your door. This typically involves unscrewing the mounting screws on the interior side of the lock.

Step 2: Insert the Old Key

  • Insert the current key and turn it 90 degrees clockwise.

Step 3: Insert the SmartKey Tool

  • While the key is in the 90-degree position, insert the SmartKey tool fully into the small slot next to the keyhole.

Step 4: Remove the Old Key

  • Keep the SmartKey tool in place and remove the old key.

Step 5: Insert the New Key

  • With the SmartKey tool still inserted, put the new key into the lock. Make sure it’s fully inserted.

Step 6: Turn the New Key

  • Turn the new key 90 degrees counter-clockwise. This will set the lock to the new key.

Step 7: Remove the SmartKey Tool

  • Remove the SmartKey tool. The lock should now operate with the new key.


Lock Doesn’t Turn: If the lock doesn’t turn with the new key, the rekeying process may have been unsuccessful. Repeat the steps ensuring that the SmartKey tool is fully inserted and the key turns completely during the steps.

Stuck Key: If the key gets stuck, gently wiggle it while pulling out. Do not force it, as this could damage the lock.

Re-Installing the Lock

Once rekeyed, reinstall the lock onto your door, making sure to tighten all screws securely.

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Rekeying a Kwikset lock is a straightforward process that most homeowners can perform with minimal tools. It provides an easy and economical way to ensure your home’s security, especially in situations where key control has been compromised.

Safety and Security Tips

  • Always test the rekeyed lock multiple times to ensure proper function.
  • If you’re not comfortable performing this task, consult a professional locksmith.
  • After rekeying, ensure that all family members or residents have the new key.
  • Dispose of the old keys securely to prevent unauthorized access.

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