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How To Replace Filing Cabinet Locks

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Even in an electronic age, filing cabinets are still used to store important documents. When the locks get damaged or you lose a key, you do not have to throw the whole cabinet away. It is also a good idea to replace filing cabinet locks every so often for security reasons. Here are some tips on replacing filing cabinet locks.

Tools you need for this project include a screw driver, needle-nose pliers, drill, wrench, goggles, and replacement lock. 

Access the Lock

You cannot replace a cabinet lock unless you gain access to it, which means opening the drawer with the mechanism. A damaged lock may cause the cabinet drawers to get stuck. If this happens and the cabinet is lightweight, try flipping it upside down to reverse gravity and make the lock pins fall.

Another way to unlock a stuck drawer is by inserting a screwdriver between the cabinet frame and draw top, but be careful, since it could damage the cabinet. You can also use the drill method, which works best on internal locks. With safety goggles on, secure the cabinet flush against a wall, apply oil to a drill bit, and insert the drill in the cylinder of the lock which should help the drawer pop open from the inside.

Remove the Lock

Check to make certain the core is in unlock position and take note of how it attaches to the back of the cabinet. Look for a c-clip on the lock, which secures it to cabinet walls, and remove it with pliers. If the lock is attached by a hex nut, use a wrench to remove it. You should be able to pull the lock out of the opening.

Install the New Lock

Insert the key in the new lock in unlock position before installing it or you won't be able to place it in the holes. You will be able to use the screw holes from the old lock to set the new one in the right position. Place the lock into position and push the C-clip in the holes of the replacement lock with needle-nose pliers.

For threaded locks, install the retaining nut with a wrench. Make certain the lock bolt is in line with the lock mechanism on the cabinet. Test the lock to see if it works before you shut the drawer.

Replacing your own filing cabinet locks will save you money, but it requires patience and the right tools to avoid damaging the cabinet. If you still can't open the cabinet drawers or don't trust yourself to do the job, contact a  professional locksmith service, like Security Locksmiths.