Changing a Mail Box Lock
Every person is going to deal with the mailbox keys sooner or later. No, not the keys to your email inbox, but the keys to your real mail box, the one that envelope with bills and money mailer come in.
I have done so many mail box lockouts and changes I lost count a few years back. None of them are memorable; the process is so dull you forget about the job within the hour.
There is an appointment. You meet the customer. They point out the box, and you confirm that it’s the right box. You drill or pick, change the lock and invoice the customer. Simple as 1,2,3.
I had the pleasure of helping a customer last night with her rental unit mail box. She had the key and told me that it just stopped working. Honestly, that is an odd statement because locks just don’t stop working (for the most part). I thought this is a quick one since she probably has the wrong box or wrong key.
I met the customer around 7pm and asked her 5 times if this is the correct box. She told me that she owns this property for a few years and unless we are at the wrong complex this is the right box. I tried a few keys from her key chain and nothing worked.
Time to go to work: Changing the Lock
I drilled the lock and got the box open in no time. Now: to install a new lock and I’m out of here. I look at the old CAM and see that the new one has the same type of tail piece (CAM), so I set up to use the new CAM, but nothing works. I start to break down the issue but can’t get it to work. I try the old CAM and this, too, will not work. I’m stuck, I need to fabricate my own CAM, a task easier said than done.
After an hour of grinding, banging and multiple installation attempts I finally got a version that I liked and worked. At that point, I went back to my stack of CAMS to see what the deal is and saw that there is one that is very similar to the one I made. I changed the two to see what the difference was between the both and why mine is working and the original part is not. That is when I saw what the difference between this mail box and all the others were.
Just my luck
You can see in the photos, this mailbox is next to the post office control lock. My guess is that all the other boxes have space for the CAM to fit in, but this box doesn’t. So, you need to modify the correct CAM by shorting the end of it so that It can fit in the small space there is and lock the box.
I asked the customer who is now waiting for over an hour for what should have been a 10 minute job (and I am sure is thinking that I have no idea what I’m doing) if she can spare a few more minutes while I modify the original part to work. I feel like that will work better than the one I made in the back of my van (at night in the dark). She was patient and gave me a few more minutes to finish the job right. I thank her for that. I feel 100% confident that the new modification will last a long time and that I and Squaw Peak Lock & Key gave her the best customer service possible.