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How to change a door lock

Knowing how to change a lock is a valuable life skill to have. The reasons for changing a lock can be numerous and range from just replacing an older lock that is suffering from wear and tear to replacing a deadbolt because a person you no longer trust has a key (an embittered lover or an ex-roommate). Also, who of us have never lost a set of keys? For these reasons, being able to change a deadbolt yourself gives you peace of mind and saves you a few bucks. Keep in mind, if the reason for changing your lock is any sort of malfunction, you can troubleshoot it first and see if you can make it work better without replacing the lock. While changing the lock does require some skill, you don’t have to be a professional handyman to be able to do this. In this article, we will walk you through changing a single cylinder deadbolt step by step.

First, buy a new deadbolt lock. You can do this at any hardware store. Your options are plentiful; locks will differ in security levels and in prices accordingly. Choose that one that you feel comfortable with and one that falls within your budget. If you can find the exact same lock that you currently have on your door, it will make the whole process easier.

Once the lock is purchased, make sure that all of the needed components are there. Also, take a few minutes to read the manufacturer’s directions thoroughly (it’s the piece of paper we usually just throw away). 


Once you have read the instructions, you can get started and remove the old deadbolt lock. On the inside of the door, you should see two screws in the turn assembly plate (you may need to twist the knob to expose the screws). Grab a screwdriver and take the screws out. Then, remove the plate and the deadbolt lock assembly from both sides of the door. If you did everything correctly, you should now see a hole in the door with the deadbolt still in the middle.


Next, remove the old deadbolt. If you look on the side of the door where the deadbolt slides out, you should see a deadbolt plate and two screws holding it in place. Remove both of the screws and pull the deadbolt out. 


Now you are ready to insert the new deadbolt. Pick up the new deadbolt you purchased at the hardware store and inspect it. You should see some sort of markings to show which way to slide in the deadbolt. Usually, somewhere on the deadbolt you should see the word “up” engraved. Insert the deadbolt according to the instructions and secure the deadbolt plate with two screws. (Note: if you bought the exact same deadbolt as the one you previously had, then the new deadbolt should slide in easily. If you weren’t able to find the exact same one, you may need to trim the wood where the deadbolt plate would sit. You can use a utility knife or a chisel to carve out a bigger setting for the deadbolt plate.)


Next, insert the deadbolt lock. Your new lock will have one side that has a keyhole and one side that has a twist-knob mechanism. Pick up the side that has a keyhole, hold it vertically, and insert the bar of the lock through the deadbolt that is already inside the door. On the other side, connect it to the plate with the twist-knob. Make sure the twist-knob is top side up. Just as your old deadbolt lock, the new one will have two screws to secure the new deadbolt lock. Getting the screws in to align with the mechanism inside the door may be a challenge, so be patient. You may need to fiddle around with the screws before you are able to securely fasten them. 


Once you have done all of the steps, test your lock with an open door! First, test the twist-know and make sure it is working properly. Then, check the other side and make sure the key is opening and closing the lock easily. If everything is working smoothly, now test both side again with the door closed. Voila! You have successfully changed your deadbolt. Give yourself a pat on the back.


If you run into any sort of difficulties or get stuck on any of the above steps, feel free to reach out to us. We can have a local Brooklyn locksmith assist you in finishing the process. Our locksmiths in Brooklyn are available 24/7 and can quickly respond to your request.