how to install door lock cylinder

person installing a new door lock cylinder into a door slab
Tools Needed
1 Flat Head Screwdriver
2 Phillips Head Screwdriver
3 New Door Lock Cylinder
4 Tape Measure
Materials Needed
1 Safety Glasses
2 Gloves
3 Pliers
4 Wrench
Total Cost
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
1-2 Hours
Skill Level: Beginner
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

classic door lock cylinder showing the front and inside components

Having an internal key locking system such as a door lock cylinder is a great way to protect the home. This type of locking system goes into the door’s trim by pushing the bar in and out. It is turned with a key or the handle. This is installed as part of your door handle.

There are some different types of the door lock cylinders and different sizes as well. However, generally all of them are very similar in the manner of how they work and fit into the door. If you are thinking about putting this type of lock onto your door, the following are the steps you should be taking. This project only takes about 1 hour, at the most, to complete.

At the end of this article, you will find some tips on how to make this home improvement project a bit simpler. Don’t forget to have your new door lock cylinder before you take off the old one as well. This way your home stays secure all the way up through the new installation.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Removing Trim

door clock cylinder and door knobs

The first step in installing a door lock cylinder is to start removing trim. This is around the handles on your door. You can do this by taking the screws out of the handle’s base. If you have a handle-lock combination which is latched and not screwed, you can just push up on the trim to get inside of it. You can use a flathead screwdriver for this. After you have made sure the trim is taken off, you can move onto the next step.


Unlocking the Lock Cylinder

key inside of a door lock cylinder

You can use your flathead screwdriver for this step as well. It should be placed into your lock’s spindle. This is located in the center of your door lock cylinder. You will need to turn the flathead screwdriver counterclockwise so that it will unlock. By doing this, you are aligning the tab above the door lock cylinder with the internal housing notch. This will allow the lock to be removed.


Finding the Spring-Loaded Tab

person holding a door lock cylinder

The next step in installing your door lock cylinder is to find the spring-loaded table. This will be found around the outer area of the housing for the spindle. You will need to push down on it or pry this up with gentle force. You will use your screwdriver to get this free from the lock’s housing. Now, you will be able to take the spindle off.


Removing the Lock’s Spindle

person unscrewing the back plate of a door lock cylinder

You will follow through with this step by putting your flathead screwdriver in the housing for the spindle. This will be a hole that is easy to find. You will then put another one of these screwdrivers under the tab edges that keep the door lock cylinder placed in its housing. You will then push gently on each tab while pushing in the hole for the spindle. This will push the spindle against the inside of the cylinder so that it will pop out.

Now, that you have gone through steps, it is time to reverse this exact process. When you do these steps in reverse, you are able to install the new door lock cylinder. You will want to put the new door lock spindle in place to start and then reverse each step from that point on.


Now that you have read through the steps on how to remove and install a door lock cylinder, you can get this project done quickly. Most people can do this project in less than one hour. It usually only takes about half an hour at most.

There are a few tips you may want to keep in mind when you are installing a new door lock cylinder. These tips can help to make the project go smoothly. Remember, you can press right into the spindle housing center so the lock cylinder can be pushed out of its casing. This way you won’t need to worry whether the tabs are keeping it into proper place. You will need to push a bit harder if you are doing it this way. It is tough to see the inner housing so if you can feel for the tabs just push very slow and gentle until the door lock cylinder pops out on the opposite side. You can also get the door lock cylinder that is designed with a handle and knob out in the same fashion. You will just need to take off the trim and handle.

This is one of the simplest home improvement projects available. The door lock cylinder is just one of the many types of locks which can go on the doors of your home. If you still aren’t sure on how to follow through with these steps, you can ask one of the specialists at your local home improvement store.

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