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How to Remove a Door Lock Cylinder Without a Key

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

How to remove a door lock cylinder without a key. This is a step-by-step guide on how to remove a door lock cylinder without a key.


Before attempting to remove a door lock cylinder without a key, it is essential that you have the right tools and that you have taken all necessary safety precautions. First, gather the necessary tools such as a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a drill. Next, make sure that the area around the lock is clear of any obstructions and that you have plenty of light. Finally, make sure that you have read and understood all steps in the process before starting.

Gather the necessary tools

Before you can remove a door lock cylinder without a key, it is important that you have the right tools for the job. Depending on the type of lock you are trying to remove, there are different ways to go about it. If the lock is a regular pin and tumbler cylinder, you will need one or two small flat head screwdrivers (or Allen wrenches) and a pair of needle-nose pliers. If the lock is an old style “rim” or “skeleton” keyed lock, then you will also need a special tool called an “intruder key” or an “extractor tool”. Once these tools are ready to go, you can begin removing your door lock cylinder without a key.

Ensure the door is unlocked

Before beginning the process of removing a door lock cylinder without a key, it is important to ensure that the door is indeed unlocked. To do this, the existing key can be inserted into the lock and turned until it is fully engaged, signaling that it has unlocked. If there is no existing key, then depending on the type of lock being removed, either a flat-bladed screwdriver or an appropriately sized Allen wrench can be used. Once the tool has been engaged into the cylinder, gently turn counterclockwise to unlock. Care should be taken to not

Removing the Cylinder

When you need to remove a door lock cylinder without a key, it can be a tricky task. Fortunately, there are a few methods available that can allow you to do so. This section will outline the steps needed to remove a door lock cylinder without a key. After reading through the techniques and safety tips, you’ll have a better understanding of how to remove a door lock cylinder without a key.

Remove the screws from the faceplate

Once you have determined that you do need to replace the cylinder, the first step is to remove the screws from the faceplate. This is necessary for access to the cylinder. Depending on the type of door lock involved, you may find two or three screws in various locations around the faceplate. Use a screwdriver to carefully remove all of them and then set them aside in a safe place while you work. Additionally, take note of where each of them belongs since it’ll simplify the process when it comes time to reassemble your lock after replacing the cylinder.

Insert a flathead screwdriver into the keyhole

To begin removing your lock cylinder, find the keyhole on the outside of the doorknob and using a flathead screwdriver, insert it as deeply into the keyhole as you can. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as you could potentially damage other components of the door lock.

Then, apply a steady pressure with slight turns in order to push back the pins inside of the door lock while keeping your flathead screwdriver inserted into the keyhole. You should feel this pressure when pushing and turning your screwdriver until all pins have been pushed back all of way and are aligned with the shear line (which is an imaginary line where pins rest within door locks).

Once each pin has been aligned and pushed back, you should be able to pull out your flathead screwdriver from the lock cylinder. Once removed, grip your fingers around both sides of doorway knob recess, and then slowly pull outwards in order to remove existing lock cylinder from its housing. Make sure that you tightly hold onto it in order for it to not cause any damages to other parts within its frame or drop exposed pins onto flooring.

Lever the cylinder out of the door

There are many reasons you may need to remove a door lock cylinder without a key, including when the key has been lost or broken, if the lock is damaged, or if you have recently moved into a new home. If this is the case, it is possible to remove the cylinder from the lock and replace it with a new one.

To remove a door lock cylinder without a key, start by inserting an awl or small screwdriver into the bottom recess of the keyhole. Carefully lever up and try to unscrew the cylinder’s retainer clip. If successful, lift out and discard any remaining components that were attached to the inside of the lock.

Once all of these pieces have been removed from the hole of your door frame, locate two small pins at either end of your old cylinder. Slide each pin directly away from you so they are in line with their respective holes on either side of your door frame. This will loosen the entire cylinder and allow you to remove it intact in one piece. Once out of its casing, discard your old cylinder and install its replacement by pushing it back into place until all pins click securely into their respective slots once again.

Replacing the Cylinder

Replacing the door lock cylinder without a key is a relatively simple job as long as you have the right tools. It’s important to make sure that you select the right size and type of cylinder for the door. You will also need to have a few different tools to get the job done properly. In this section, we will discuss the steps you need to take in order to replace your door lock cylinder without a key.

Insert the new cylinder into the door

Once the old cylinder has been removed from the door, inserting a new cylinder is fairly straightforward. First, line up the pins of the lock with the corresponding holes on the cylinder. This can be done by sliding one side of the pins into their holes before pushing down on one side of the cylinder to engage it in place. Once this is done, press down firmly until you hear and feel a click.

Next, use your flat head screwdriver to tighten any screws that hold it in place. Check to make sure all screws are secured before you move onto attaching the keyed side of your lock. To do this, ensure that any springs and ball bearings present are correctly placed on either sides of each row of pins in your new cylinder before you line up and insert it into the lock. Push it in all the way until you hear and feel another click, then use your screwdriver to fasten all necessary screws that secure your new cylinder into place.

Secure the screws to the faceplate

The door lock cylinder assembly has two screws holding the faceplate in place on the interior side of the door. These screws are typically what hold the lock cylinder in place. Make sure that you firmly secure these screws to ensure a tight grip on the lock barrel. If you don’t need to replace your existing cylinder, make sure that these screws are tightly secured; otherwise, you may be letting potential intruders into your home. If you are changing out your old cylinder, make sure that you remove it and thoroughly clean both the back part of the faceplate and any other parts that were exposed when the cylinder was taken out.

Finishing Up

After successfully removing the door lock cylinder without the key, it’s now time to clean up and finish up. To begin with, you’re going to want to make sure that you clean the inside of the door lock cylinder and the surrounding area where you worked to make sure that any dirt and debris is removed. Next, you’re going to need to make sure that you reinstall the lock cylinder back into the door and properly secure it with screws. Finally, you’re going to want to make sure that the cylinder is in proper working order before you close the door.

Test the new cylinder

Once you have removed the old door lock cylinder, it is important to make sure that the new one fits into the housing correctly. Test it by turning the key warm and backwards. Make sure that there is no wiggle or looseness – if there is, adjust the faceplate screws until the cylinder feels snug. Then, check all screws and mounting elements to ensure that everything is tight and secure with no wobbling or play in any other area of the lock.

Reattach the door handle

After the old door lock cylinder has been removed and replaced, it is time to reattach the door handle. The screw that secures its position is usually hidden underneath a cap at the end of the handle. Use the small tool included with the interchange kit or a flat head screwdriver to remove this cap and access the screw beneath. Tighten this screw so that it is secure, but not so tight that it will damage your door handle. Once secure, replace the cap and test the handle’s movement to make sure it is strongly in place.

Clean up any debris

Before you complete your project, be sure to clean up any debris that may have been created during the removal process. Use a vacuum or broom and dustpan to sweep up any particles, then use a damp cloth to wipe away any pieces stuck to the surfaces of the door and lock cylinder. Ensure all pieces are removed before re-installing the lock cylinder and closing the door. Once everything is clean and all debris has been removed, you should be ready to finish your project by reassembling the lock mechanism.

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