If you have a filing cabinet that is still in good condition but the lock is broken, the existing lock is not secure enough, or perhaps the keys have been lost, you can change the lock. Even if the current lock works fine, expert locksmiths recommend changing it from time to time as an added safety measure. As you will see from the steps provided, changing a lock on a filing cabinet takes very little time and effort.
For many people, a locked filing cabinet is essential. With this, proprietary business files, important personal documents, and other items not intended for public view can be stored safely and securely. Most filing cabinets sold today come equipped with a lock and, in some cases, a plunger or cam locking mechanism, but even older locks are actually easy to replace.
Change a Lock on a Filing Cabinet with a Replacement Kit
You will need to purchase a replacement lock kit, which is sold at home improvement and hardware stores, as well as through locksmiths. For the job itself, all you need is a drill, preferably one that is cordless (simply because it is easier to use), and a pair of pliers.
To begin, open the drawer located closest to the locking mechanism. If the keys have been lost and the filing cabinet is locked, there are a few things to try. Keep in mind that most filing cabinet locks are based on gravity, so start by flipping the cabinet upside down, at which time the drawer should open. If that does not work, use a standard drill bit to drill through the lock’s cylinder, taking care not to cause damage to the actual cabinet.
After the drawer has opened, reach around the back of the lock and with the pliers firmly grasp the C-shaped clip to pull it out. With this done, the lock will slide easily from the opening. Following the instructions provided with the replacement lock kit, install the new locking mechanism.
Remember, instructions will vary somewhat based on the exact manufacturer, model, and type of lock chosen. However, the process to change a lock on a filing cabinet is much the same. Start by putting the key into the lock and turning it to make sure it is in the unlocked position. Next, the new lock will be placed in the hole while keeping the keyway (which is where the key is inserted) upright and the tailpiece (also referred to as the cam) pointed downward.
Make sure the C-clip remains flush to the interior wall of the filing cabinet. Into the holes on the lock body that have been predrilled, insert the two prongs onto the clip. With this, the locking mechanism remains firmly in place.
Be sure the lock bolt, located on the backside of the lock, is aligned correctly with the cabinet’s locking mechanism. Once everything has been installed, insert the key to confirm the lock can be locked and unlocked without any problem.