How to replace an apartment mailbox lock

Written by damon koch
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How to replace an apartment mailbox lock
Replacing a lock on an apartment mailbox should take just a few minutes. (apartment mailboxes image by Aaron Kohr from

Apartment mailboxes are generally in common blocks. The block contains multiple mailboxes and there is a door that the postman can open to access all the boxes at once. The locks on the individual mailboxes are a simple latch-type lock. The locks have a catch that slides in and out of a slot on the frame when the key is operated. The lock is attached to the inside of the door with two tabs that slide through two slots on the lock and hold it in place.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Replacement lock
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Lubricating oil

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  1. 1

    Open the door to the individual mailbox. If the lock is totally inoperable or the key is lost, you might need to wait until the postman opens the entire block.

  2. 2

    Locate the two tabs that hold the lock on the inside of the door. Notice how the tabs are bent to hold the lock in place.

  3. 3

    Use a pair of needle nose pliers to gently pry the tabs up until they are horizontal. The lock will slip off the tabs.

  4. 4

    Insert the tabs into the slots on the new lock. Ensure that the key hole on the lock is facing toward the front of the door.

  5. 5

    Bend the tabs over the slots with the needle nose pliers to secure the new lock in place. Be careful not to over-bend the tabs because they can break very easily.

  6. 6

    Spray the lock and the catch with a lubricating oil to make it work smoothly.

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