Re-key every lock in your home

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Thanks for the tip!

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Eh, it does me little good to invest in nicer hardware. My front door has side lights, the back door is full glass, and garage door half glass. If someone wants in smashing the back door glass and walking in is by far the least visible and easiest. Hell the backdoor opens out…

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Yeah, it’s not much harder to open a lock without the key–as long as you have access to the ‘inside’ of the lock. You need to be able to remove the springs from the top of the lock ‘bible’ and well as the followers that they push down. Some locks make this hard to do, so I can’t give you specific advice. It’s also pretty easy to just replace the lock mechanism in most handle sets.

I’ve rekeyed four houses by now and it’s very much worth doing. There is no lowering of security by having one key for the whole house. Criminal entry will either break the door in (keys don’t matter) or they will pick the locks (keys don’t matter). Depending on the age of the home, you may end up needing to replace some locksets so that you have the same keyway for all of your locks, but then rekeying is a maybe 10 minute/lockset task once you get confortable with it. Many hardware stores sell rekey kits that come with the tools you need. If you need to rekey more locks than that kit supplies, you can get all the pins you need on ebay, amazon, etc. Just get pins for the right brand as there are subtle differences in diameter, length, and other dimensions.

If you’re going to go through a lot of trouble like this, maybe combine the effort with replacing the locks with better ones. Though the security of home and commercial locksets is not much considering the way that most locks are bypassed. It’s just as easy to kick in a good lockset as a cheap one if the door is the part that fails.

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In theory the brute force screwdriver attack was addressed. I am not sure how well.

I just replaced a worn lock with one of these (well the Weiser branded one - but they arethe same core mechanism)

I know it is not ideal but given the location and the fact that though a bit of magic I can have it match the bitting for the other locks (theses smart keys fit in the previous Wieser cores… but not the other way around. So the new keys work on everything and the old keys only work on the old locks.

We are about to have a period of high traffic key use by multiple people so I figured this was a good interim solution. I will probably redo everything once we are done with that.

Also, it might be a good idea to check how long the hinge screws on your door are, and if they’re short, replace them with long ones that go through the door frame and into the house framing. Makes it harder for people to smash the door in on the hinge side.

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I think someone mentioned it peripherially, but I wanted to touch on it. There are locks meant for new construction which have separate keys for the contractor and the owner. They’re constructed such that once the owner key is used, the contractor key will never work again. It’s a clever arangement with extra shear lines, tiny ball bearings, and little cups in the core. So, if you’re rekeying a lock and find little ‘wafers’ in there or itty little steel balls fall out and go racing across the floor, don’t panic! You don’t need those unless you wish to rekey the lock so that the contractor can get back into your house. :slight_smile: There are plenty of videos on youtube about how these work if you’re interested. Beware, how locks work videos tend to be one hell of a rabbit hole if you keep clicking on the recommended links. But, hey, if you need a relatively benign hobby, why not? :slight_smile:

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“One key to rule them all.”

Part of me wonders if installing a fancy lock, or indicating that you have an alarm system by sticking out a sign, works like advertising to criminals in the area that you have shit worth stealing?

I’ve been burgled once, and I’m 90% positive the crook was someone I knew because of what they took and how things changed between us afterward, but I couldn’t prove anything. It has messed me up, likely for good. I dread it happening again.

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The research I read might be dated by now, but IIRC, the alarm sign is a greater deterrent to a break-in than actually having an alarm.

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It was mentioned by another commenter but not elaborated: Whole cartons of lock sets are sold with matching keys (usually 4 packages to a carton). Some of these packages themselves are 2-packs, knob+deadbolt, etc.

If you buy the right sets when you replace locks, you can end up with 8 locks already matching out of the box, thereby reducing the number (if any) that you need to re-key.

Beware though: packages often get swapped from carton to carton on store shelves as shoppers browse, so you have to verify the serial numbers of each pack in the carton at purchase time.

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I hear the rekeying kits most hardware stores sell only have a couple key variations. Does this also apply to SmartKey Re-keying Kits? Any suggestions on actually getting a unique key? Maybe have a locksmith cut one for you and rekey the first lock?

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I don’t know about the rekeying kits having a small range of keys. There must be at least a dozen as when I’ve purchased them, I’ve never seen a match, so if I run the Birthday Problem backwards, that tells me there’s got to be a lot of combinations.

If you just want to rekey a lock from scratch, you can pick a key at random–or have one cut at a locksmith–and then pin the lock yourself with pins you can get at any place like eBay, Amazon, etc.

I’m not familiar with the SmartKey Re-keying kits. Are those just a set of identically cut keys that you use to reprogram a SmartKey lock? I would expect them to use the whole keyspace possible by practical bittings of the key. But I don’t have anything what would prove that.

If you want to avoid the issue, find any random old key that fits the keyway, have a bunch of copies made and repin your locks to match it.

One of the advantages of the repinning kits is that they come with a set of instructions and a few ‘special’ tools needed to repin a lock of that brand. We’re not talking anything earth shatteringly special, but not something you’d find outside of a locksmith’s shop (or eBay, Amazon, etc.).

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This absolutely makes sense.

But I also believe that a robber looking for a random target is looking for ease: open windows and old/rotting entry ways are going to be more appealing than a house with a security alarm.

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The Smart key disengages the side bar and part of the mechanism then re-engages with the new lock. There appear to be parts that line up and keep the lock at the new depths when rekeying is finished.

I suspect in order to work the key space must be reduced. To accommodate keys that are not exactly at one set of grooves or the next there is going to need to be less tolerance.

So if you have a blank you could cut any bitting that you want. Whether all of those are sold as kits - I doubt it.

Edit: as part of my key consolidation once I had a key that worked for all I went back to get a full set cut. They were off by about 1/3 mm and would not work. So it is not like they will accept everything that is close.
It also works like a custom reverse bump key for one of the older cylinders. The undercut key will not open it but a bit of backwards momentum as you twist and it will open.

The comments on that guy’s channel are the exception that proves the rule RE youtube comments.

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I’m with him till he admits he changed all the locks to use THE SAME KEY AS THE PREVIOUS OWNER! That’s a terrible idea, going through all this trouble then basically letting the previous owner and anyone who had his key get into any door in the property.

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Keys have set heights as pins have set lengths. If the grooves on the retaining mechanism match up with these lengths/heights, then there should be no decrease in specificity of the lock. One would hope this was considered during their design.

1,2,3,4,5?

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Yeah! Lucky guess.

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