How to Repair a File Cabinet Lock

Updated April 17, 2017

Many businesses and companies still use filing cabinets instead of computerised filing. Homeowners with offices at home are also likely to own multiple filing cabinets. These pieces of furniture are essential for organisation within a business and for document security. Filing cabinets often come with a lock assembly to help keep documents safe. However, with time the lock can become defective and will require repair and replacement. You can fix the lock assembly yourself and avoid having to obtain a new filing cabinet.

Unlock the filing cabinet and open the filing cabinet drawer the lock is in. If the lock is severely broken and you cannot open the drawer or you do not have the key, try turning the cabinet upside down. Most locks are gravity based and will open with gravitational movement. If the lock still does not open, use a drill to insert a drill bit through the cylinder of the lock. Pull the drawer open once the lock is drilled through.

Use a wrench to loosen the nut on the back of the lock. Remove the coder pin that secures the lock in place with pliers and push the lock out through the opening on front of the cabinet. Apply pressure with a screwdriver to remove the lock from its position.

Position the new replacement lock inside the opening in the same position as the old lock with the keyway upright. Ensure the lock is unlocked by testing it with the key. Insert the coder pin with the lock in an upright position to secure the lock in place. The pin will fit into the pre-drilled holes on the lock's body and be flush with the inside of the cabinet.

Reattach the bolt on the back of the lock to secure the lock. The lock bolt should align with the locking mechanism. Test the lock with the key to ensure proper functionality.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Replacement lock
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About the Author

Scarlett Gauthier began writing in 2003. Gauthier has a graphic design/arts DVS from Rosemount Technology Center in Montreal.