How to Change a Door Lock in 7 Steps


Look at you, gettin’ all locksmith-y over here.

Maybe you’re not a full-fledged locksmith, but I applaud you either way for making this leap!

In this article, I’m gonna tell you exactly how to change a door lock in a 7 simple steps, so stay tuned!

Did you know that over 30% of break-ins happen because a door wasn’t locked properly? If you think it’s time to make your home safer, changing your old door locks is a good first step. Effective door lock installation is crucial for home security, ensuring that your locks work properly to protect your home.

First, pick the right lock for your door. Make sure it fits well and meets your safety needs without needing a lot of changes.

Then, get the tools you need—you probably already have most of them at home.

Let’s go through the steps together. I’ll show you how in just a few minutes and with a little know-how, you can make your home safer.

What’s the first tool you’ll need? Let’s find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Get the tools you need like a screwdriver, tape measure, and replacement locks.
  • Check the size of the backset, hole, and door to make sure the new lock will fit.
  • Take off the old door knobs by unscrewing them and pulling them off.
  • Remove the cover plates and unscrew the old lock mechanism carefully.
  • Put in the new lock by lining it up with the holes, screwing it in place, and putting on the new knobs.

Gather Necessary Tools

Before you start changing your door lock, get all the tools you need ready. You’ll need a tape measure, wood shims, a pin, Allen keys, a screwdriver with different bits, a utility knife, and a new door lock set. Consider visiting a local hardware store to purchase any tools or locks that are needed.

It’s also good to be patient and think positively. Make sure you have a good place to work with plenty of light—you don’t want to struggle to see. Clear the space around your door so you have enough room to work and put your tools within easy reach. This helps you work better and keeps you from getting too stressed.

Once everything is set up and you’ve taken a deep breath, you’re ready to start the next steps!

Measure Replacement Lock

Measure Your Door Lock

You need to measure your door and the entire lock to make sure the new lock will fit right.

Use a tape measure to check the size of the holes in the old lock and how far they’re from the edge of the door.

This helps make sure the new lock will fit without extra drilling or changes.

Here are some tips:

  • Measure the backset: This is how far from the door edge to the middle of the hole.
  • Check the hole size: Make sure the new lock’s hole size is the same as the old one. Compare these measurements with the existing lock to ensure a proper fit.
  • Door thickness: Some locks need a certain door thickness, so check this too!

Doing this right helps avoid problems later!

Remove Old Door Knobs

Begin by using your screwdriver to remove the screws from the old door knob. These screws are usually hidden behind a fancy cover. Twist them out slowly and keep all the pieces together so you don’t lose any. If the screws are tough to turn, just use a bit more force.

After removing the screws, pull the knobs away from each other. They should come off the rod easily. If they don’t come off right away, wiggle them a little to loosen them.

Now the old knobs are off, and you’re ready to go to the next step. Good work on getting this far!

Take Off Cover Plates

After you’ve taken off the old knobs, the next step is to remove the cover plates. These are held on by screws around the edges of the lock. Sometimes, these screws are hidden under a decorative cover or a plain plate that makes the door look nice.

Here are some simple tips to help you with this step:

  • Use a magnet: It’ll catch any screws that fall, so they don’t get lost.
  • Label each part: This helps you remember where everything goes when you put it back together.
  • Take pictures: Snapping a few photos with your phone can help you remember how everything looked.

When all the screws are out, gently pull off the plates. You’re almost done!

Extract Old Lock

First, unscrew the screws that hold the old lock on the door. These screws are usually on the inside of the door. Use a screwdriver and turn it left until all the screws are out. Keep the screws safe because you might need them later for another job.

Once the screws are out, pull on the handle or knob towards you. It might need a little shaking to come off. If it doesn’t come off easily, you can gently use a flathead screwdriver to help pry it off.

Next, remove the lock cylinder. Be patient with this part as it might need some gentle pulling. It comes out after you loosen it from the lock mechanism. Understanding the locking mechanism is crucial during this process to ensure you do not damage any components.

Now you have successfully removed the old lock.

Install New Latch

After you remove the old lock, it’s time to put in the new latch. Slide the latch into the side of the door. Make sure the curved side of the latch is facing where the door closes. This helps it catch right.

Hold it flat against the door’s edge, and put in the screws. Don’t make the screws too tight yet; you might need to adjust it to fit perfectly.

Make sure the latch plate fits well in the cut-out on the door edge. The strike plate should also fit well in the door jamb for added security.

Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws, but not too much at first.

Check again to make sure the curved part of the latch is facing towards the door frame.

Attach New Knobs

Attach the new knobs by lining them up with the latch you just put in. Make sure the knobs are facing the right way; the side with the keyhole should be on the outside!

Next, pick up your screwdriver. Your new lock set comes with screws to use here. Start putting them in by hand first to avoid messing up the threads, then tighten them with the screwdriver. But be careful not to tighten them too much, as this could damage the screws.

Give the knob a small shake to check if it’s secure and not loose. Ensure the new knob lock is properly installed and secure.

There you go! You’re almost like a locksmith now. Just a few more steps and this DIY project will be done!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Change Locks on Rental Property Without Landlord Permission?

Changing locks on your rental without asking the landlord? Wait a moment! Most landlords like to manage security updates themselves to keep things consistent. It’s a good idea to talk to them first.

They’ll probably be glad you’re thinking about safety and might even replace the locks for you. If you feel unsafe, tell them your worries clearly; this could make things happen faster. Ideally, you only want to change your own lock since you won’t need permission from other people.

How Often Should I Change My Home’s Door Locks?

You don’t have to change your home’s door locks very often, only if there’s a special reason such as a break-in, losing your keys, or if the locks are old and worn out.

It’s a good idea to change your locks when you move into a new house or if there’s been a problem with security.

Checking your locks regularly and getting new ones with better security every few years is also smart!

Are Smart Locks More Secure Than Traditional Key Locks?

The phrase ‘better safe than sorry‘ means it’s good to be careful.

When comparing smart locks to traditional key locks, think about what feels safest to you.

Smart locks are convenient because you can control them from far away and they keep track of who comes and goes. But, they can be hacked because they use technology.

Traditional locks (like a classic deadbolt lock) are simpler and don’t have these tech problems, but they also don’t have extra features.

There are pros and cons to each option!

What Are the Risks of Installing Locks Myself?

Putting in locks by yourself can help you save money, but it can be risky. If you don’t do it right, your home mightn’t be safe.

You could also damage the door or lock if you don’t have the right tools or know-how. Plus, any errors could mean your lock’s warranty won’t work.

It’s good to think about these risks before you decide to install locks on your own.

Is It Cheaper to Rekey or Replace Locks?

If you need to change your locks, rekeying is usually cheaper. This process changes the lock to work with a new key but keeps the same lock.

If your lock is broken or you want a new look or better security, you must buy a new lock, which costs more.

Think about what you need and how much you can spend to decide what’s best! Compare the cost of rekeying with purchasing replacement locks to determine the most cost-effective option.


Great work on learning how to change a door lock! Changing your door lock is a big achievement. Now that your new knobs are in place and everything fits perfectly, you should feel proud. You’ve improved your home’s security all by yourself.

Just make sure the knobs are tight and don’t move around.

Well done on completing this task!

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