Smartkey Locks: So easy to rekey you can do it yourself! – Seattle's Maple Leaf Locksmith LLC – (206)335-4559

Smartkey Locks: So easy to rekey you can do it yourself!

A close-up of a smartkey cylinder
This is a Kwikset Smartkey lock. You can recognize them by the little slot to the left of the keyway when it’s installed right side up. Kwikset locks seem to be statistically more likely to be installed upside down. Baldwin also licenses this technology.

People call me every day to rekey their house for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there are legal issues or concerns for one’s safety and people just want their locks changed regardless of cost. I don’t mind coming out to rekey your smartkey locks but I feel bad charging for it since it is usually really easy to do. I charge half the usual rekey rate to rekey smartkey locks unless there is no working key.

If you want to save $100 or more you should try doing it yourself. Assuming the lock is in good working condition all you need is a smartkey tool or even a sim card tool and a new kwikset (or Baldwin Smartkey) key and you can follow the instructions in the following video:

They don’t always work. Smartkey technology is brilliant and a modern marvel but… There are a lot of reasons kwikset smartkey locks fail:

  • The key must be cut close to manufacturer standards. Kwikset keys that work with smartkey must be cut at five specific places on the key to one of six specific depths at those places. If the key isn’t cut like this it can cause the lock to malfunction permanently. I believe this happens when turning an improperly cut key in the lock which bends the little metal guide pins or the serrations in the wafers they are supposed to mate with.
The 4th guide pin from the left is jacked up. So was one of the six serrations in the wafer but I didn’t think to include it in the picture.
  • The smartkey cylinders have very delicate workings as seen above. If they are exposed to rainwater for several years or people try to lubricate them with WD-40 alternating with graphite they will not rekey properly.
  • The KW1 keyway is looser than a lot of other keyways which makes them a PITA to masterkey. It also means that the key can be put in at an angle instead of straight. If you rekey one of these locks make sure that the key is not on a heavy keyring pulling the head of the key down. To unlock the door you would then have to pull the key down while turning it.
  • Trying to rekey these to a Kwikset key that isn’t cut to Kwikset spec. There are a lot of manufacturers that use the Kw1 keyway but use different spacing and depths. They won’t work well if at all. EZSet uses Weiser depths instead of Kwikset depths. Don’t try to rekey these to any key that isn’t Kwikset. I would recommend only using keys that actually say Kwikset on them to be sure. Then you can make copies from that key.

If you mess something up you can call Kwikset or Baldwin tech support, they will probably warranty your lock depending on how old it is. If they won’t, you have choices. You can replace the Smartkey cylinder with a new one. Kwikset finally started selling Smartkey cylinders compatible with Schlage C keyway locks so you can finally consolidate your keys without replacing the entire lock. There are numerous form factors for their handlesets but the deadbolt cylinders seem to be standardised.

If you want me to fix it for you I’m happy to do so. You can bring the lock to me by appointment or you can pay me a service call to come to your location and fix or replace your cylinder on the spot.

This whole post is pretty diy but if you are interested in how to rekey one of these cylinders without a working key then either buy a rekey cradle or a “better resetter” or watch the following video. I have never invested in a Kwikset Smartkey rekey cradle. I have a better resetter tool but it fell behind some stuff in my van a year ago so this is how I reset smartkey lock cylinders now:

I forgot to mention in the video that the shim is very useful if your working key doesn’t lift all of the wafers up high enough to slide the cover off. If that is the case you can push them out of the way and slide the shim over them.

Published by

Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.