Home Improvement

How to Remove Door Lock Cylinder Without Key

Have you ever found yourself in facing a locked door with no key? Whether it’s your front door, a porch entrance, or a security door, losing access can be frustrating. That’s why it’s crucial you know how to change a door lock without key. This essential skill can save the day when you’re locked out of your premises.

So, if you:

  • Have lost the key to your door this very morning and don’t have a spare one.
  • Have always had this porch door which you never lock because it has no key, but you have now decided to install a new lock.
  • Have a security door, but it doesn’t have a key.
  • Wonder what the best approach would be: to drill, to use a picklock or to call a locksmith.

Then read along…

Table of Contents:

The following method will show you how to remove a lock if you lost the key. It can also be of help to change a barrel lock on uPVC door without key.

Step 1: Remove escutcheon plates

You can use either screwdriver. Remove both escutcheon plates from both door sides.

Step 2: Remove the locking screw

When you look at the mechanism from the side of the latch, you will see the screw which holds your euro-cylinder lock inside the door cavity. Unscrew only that and not the other nuts which hold the faceplate.

Step 3: Move the cylinder cam into 12 o’clock position

This is the tricky part because it’s usually done by using the key. Grab one of the thin objects and slot it down the right side of the lock. You should hit the cylinder cam sooner or later.

  1. Try to place the tool above the cylinder cam.
  2. Push the cylinder cam downwards, so it goes into the lock.

Step 4: Pull the lock from the door cavity

If the lock is very old and worn out, it won’t be too hard to slot a pin down the side. However, if it’s relatively new, slotting a pin might prove to be nearly impossible. What you can do in this case is to follow the steps until you reach the third one. Then, instead of a pin, use a pair of mole grips and break the lock in two. Grab the lock by the front side and push downward.

Hopefully, the cavity of your door will not get damaged in the process. This process is known as lock snapping and cylinder locks build before 2011 are especially vulnerable to it.

Related post
Home Improvement
5 Frequent Door Lock Problems and How to Fix Them

How to drill through your cylinder lock when you don’t have the key

Drilling is a last resort measure, but if the door is locked and you can’t remove the lock otherwise, go for it. It won’t become any more locked, right? Mind you: If your tumbler lock has anti-drill pins, you shouldn’t drill it. These locks are designed so that once you drill through the last pin, it will remain permanently locked.

Items you will need:

  • Drilling machine
  • High-speed drill bit
  • Metal nail
  • Hammer
  • Flat-headed screwdriver
  • Protective glasses

Safety precautions:

  • Safety Gear – Safety glasses and gloves can protect your eyes and hands while working on the lock;
  • Work in Adequate Lighting – Ensure you have sufficient lighting to see what you’re doing clearly. A flashlight may be necessary for dimly lit areas;
  • Secure the Door – Ensure the door is secure and won’t unexpectedly close or move while you’re working on it. You can use doorstops or have someone hold the door steady;
  • Keep Small Parts Secure – Use a container or plastic bag to collect small parts and screws as you remove them. This prevents them from getting lost.
You may also like:
Home Improvement
DIY: Mastering Cylinder Door Lock Fitting

This is how to drill out your lock

  1. Hammer a starting point – Place the nail below the keyhole and make two or three taps with the hammer.
  2. Start drilling – Set the drill to a slow setting and start drilling through. Apply steady pressure.
  3. Remove pins as you go – When you’re several centimetres in, get the drill out. You should see the first pins. Remove them with a picklock, then continue.  Do this for each following pin. The deeper you drill, the easier it should become, as more and more pins get destroyed.
  4. Insert a screwdriver or picklock in the keyhole – The point here is to try and return the cylinder cam into it’s 12 o’clock position.
You may also like:
Home Improvement
Key Keeps Turning In a Door Lock? 4 Reasons Why, And How to Fix This

Get a professional door lock repair service

If you feel like you can’t remove the door lock cylinder without the key by yourself either because of not enough time or the right tools, consider opting out for a locksmith service. Fantastic Services works with qualified and fully equipped door lock specialists who will remove your old lock and install a new one.

All you have to do is point us in the right direction and the problem will be solved in a stress-free manner. Have your lock fixed, book lock replacement and installation service today!

And if you do decide to entrust this task to an expert, you might want to take a look at our blog post on locksmith prices in the UK!

Need a professional?

Find a professional to take care of your property.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH


  • Remove the escutcheon plates of the lock.
  • Remove the locking screw of the cylinder lock.
  • Try to move the cylinder cam into 12 o’clock position by slotting a lock pick or another tool down the lock’s right side.
  • Drill through the cylinder lock as a last resort.


Do you have a lock which has now key? How did you remove it from your door? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Image source: Depositphotos/Q77photo

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x