How to Disassemble a Deadbolt Lock

Two hands unscrew a deadbolt lock from a door.
What You'll Need
Protective gloves
Phillips head screwdriver
Flat-head screwdriver

Deadbolt locks are hard for intruders to pick, so they're the main line of most home defenses. If you lose the key to yours, you should replace the system as soon as possible, and that will require disassembly. This article will guide you through the steps and show you how to remove a deadbolt lock for replacement.

Step 1: Evaluation

Deadbolt locks are not all the same. Look at the door from both sides to find the screws. In most cases they are located inside the home.

A power drill unscrews a deadbolt lock

Step 2: Unscrew

Make sure that the deadbolt is in the unlocked position before you start, as it can be difficult to unlock once it's loose. Unscrew the deadbolt and place the screws to the side.

Step 3: Excess Pieces

It is very likely that you will find more pieces that need to be unscrewed once you have opened up your deadbolt lock during step 1. Unscrew them, too, place them to the side, and remove any adapters or cylinders holding the deadbolt lock in place.

The pieces of a disassembled deadbolt lock

Step 4: Final Removal

Gently pull apart the deadbolt lock while holding on to both sides. Watch for any falling pieces that you may have missed.

Now you can place a new deadbolt lock in your door, or cover the hole if you do not wish to replace it.


Some deadbolt locks will have metal plates over the top of the inside screws. Use your gloves and a flat-head screwdriver to remove any such plates for access to the screws underneath.

Most deadbolt locks will have oil or grease on the inside of the deadbolt, so use gloves you don't mind getting a little soiled.

The most important part of the job it to prevent small pieces falling to the floor that would cause a choking hazard for small children and animals. Keep in mind that you might need to rearrange the steps, since deadbolt locks vary in design.