I am new Home owner. I want to change locks and do it myself. I have never used a screwdriver set before and do not own one.

If anyone can recommend what tools I will need to change the locks.

Thank you.

3 Answers 3


Congratulations on becoming a home owner. You will soon learn to use lots of tools if you plan to do any DIY projects around the house. Most locksets only require a #2 Phillips screwdriver. You should not need any special or expensive tools. Just read the directions and follow them. Changing locks is very simple, usually just two screws that hold the inner and outer knobs together and two screws that hold the striker cylinder to the side of the door. You may also have to replace the striker plates on the door frame, but that is also easy and has only two screws. All the screws should use the same phillips screwdriver. Good luck.

  • 1
    Footnote: In some parts of the world, you may encounter slotted screws instead of Phillips screws. To avoid damaging slotted screws it is important to use exactly the right sized flat screwdriver that fits the width of the slot tightly and also fits at least 80% of the length of the slot. In some other parts of the world, locks may commonly be fitted using Pozidriv size 2 screws (PZ2). Jul 20, 2016 at 14:25

If you are concerned about security (e.g., the previous owner gave a key to a friend) you can rekey the lock rather than change it. Take the cylinder out of the door and go to a locksmith to have it rekeyed. This should be cheaper and easier than buying a new lock.

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    Not necessarily, depending on the quality of the knob/deadbolt sets. Those are as little as $12 and as much as $200. Obviously the cheapies aren't worth re-keying, and I wouldn't pour money into units I wasn't sure of. Jul 21, 2016 at 0:44

The secret to buying locks

Every lock-set in a retail package has code numbers like "14165". This indicates the key pattern it uses. Generally they are packaged in boxes of 4-8 units, and every lock-set will have the same key code. This is good and bad.

Good news: If you want your doors keyed alike, find a package that includes every type of lock you'll need, and buy as many packages as you'll need with the same code. You even get a bunch of spare keys.

Bad news: huge security hole. Random people in your town will have the same key as you. Worse, someone could maliciously get your key by buying every key # of the same lockset at the same store. This is especially a problem in small towns, and the cure is to buy the lock-sets 3 towns over.

Screws 101

Changing lock-sets is a straightforward job if everything fits. If not, you may have some part swapping or light woodwork to do. Keep the old stuff in case you have to temporarily rollback to get more parts... and take pictures as you go, to refer back to.

Most Philips screws are #2 (the larger of the two heads). A #1 driver will fit in a #2 screw, but will strip out the head when you apply real force. A #2 driver will not fit very well into a #1 hole. It's not you; Philips screws strip too easily, it's a design flaw.

Righty tighty (clockwise). Lefty loosy. That's everywhere humans make screws, except for rare, special situations where left-hand thread is absolutely needed, like turnbuckles.

Try to use the same screws in the same holes, assuming they otherwise fit. When putting a screw back into a hole where a screw has been, turn it "lefty-loosey" a couple turns and gently feel for a little bounce, before going "righty-tighty". That way you go back into the old groove, rather than cut a new groove and risk stripping it out.

Turn all screws by hand, and pay close attention to "feel". Don't gorilla-tight them unless you want to strip the threads out of the holes. If the hole gets stripped out, stick a wooden matchstick in there and have another go. If that doesn't work, come back here for advice.

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