How to Replace a File Cabinet Lock

July 10 / 2022

How to Replace a File Cabinet Lock

Replacing your file cabinet lock is essential in securing and protecting your private documents. No matter the location of the file cabinet, you need reliable and sturdy locks for proper protection.

And when the file cabinet lock is having issues, the replacement procedure is relatively easy, especially for experienced persons. However, a few issues might still pop up along the way after the installation. If that happens, you should contact Colorado Springs Locksmith right away. Below is a detailed file cabinet lock replacement procedure from the basic to advanced.

Basic File Cabinet Lock Replacement

The basic file lock replacement is quite simple and easy. The first step you would need to take is to remove the old lock.

Removing the Old Lock

The first step in file cabinet lock replacement is detaching or removing the top drawer. After that, reach out for the C clip which is often located behind the lock cylinder. A flathead screwdriver may come in handy as you try to pry the C clip loose. After removing the clip, you need to assemble the linkage piece which is often attached to the cabinet lock assembly and the cylinder’s cam. If there is a significant difference between the old and new cylinders, you will need to install a new linkage piece. Remove the lock cylinder from the knockout.

After removing the old lock, the next step is to reverse the aforementioned processes using a new lock.

Installing the New Lock

Mount the new cylinder into the knockout and fasten it in place with the clip. Install the new linkage piece to the cam (you can use the old one if it is still in good shape). Try locking the cabinet with the new key to be sure everything has been properly installed. Re-install the top drawer.

Lock and unlock your cabinet a few times to make sure everything is working perfectly.

Control Keys

The processes involved in replacing the lock of your file cabinet may require unique tools like a control key (often referred to as a removal key, pull key, or change key). This kind of key works together with your file cabinet key to permit the removal of its lock core. Once you open the lock, you need to insert the control key to detach the cylinder from the cabinet. Keep in mind that this procedure only uninstalls the lock core and does not in any way replace any other hardware.

The procedure is as follows:

  • Use the file cabinet key to unlock it.
  • Insert the control key.
  • Without turning the control key, pull out the lock core.
  • Insert the control key into the new core.
  • Place the new core into the lock housing.
  • Keep the new core in the housing as you remove the control key.
  • Test your new lock core with the new key.

If you need a control key, purchase one from your lock manufacturer.


Check your file cabinet constantly to ensure that its lock is still reliable. If you notice any form of vulnerability in your cabinet’s lock, contact Colorado Springs Locksmith for lock replacement services.

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