Euro Profile Cylinder Replacement

There has been widespread coverage in the press and on television recently about how easily burglars can overcome euro profile lock cylinders on uPVC doors.  But it is just as easy to replace the lock cylinder with one that can’t be “bumped” or “snapped”.

European profile cylinder burglaries are on the rise

Most european or euro profile lock cylinders, as they are known, are fitted as standard on uPVC (PVCu) conservatory doors, and can also be found on some composite, aluminium and even wooden doors.  Euro or european ‘profile’ refers to the cylinder’s shape.

The cylinder is the vulnerable point of the lock.  It does’t matter how secure or elaborate the multi-point locking mechanism may be, if the cylinder is broken, the lock can be opened in moments.

The two most common ways to break these cylinders is by “bumping” (also known as the 999 method) and “snapping”.  A cylinder can be bumped using a bump key, an easily made key that simply unlocks the door, and because locksmiths use them they remain legal.  Snapping a cylinder is easy.  Information on how to do this is readily available on the web and because burglars don’t need any specialist tools there has been a spate of “copy cat” burglaries throughout the UK.  West Yorkshire Police disclosed that at the end of 2011, snapping alone was responsible for over a quarter of all the regions burglaries.

As these cylinders are easy to replace by an entry-level DIY enthusiast, surely it is worth it for peace of mind.

Replace your euro cylinders with a secure alternative

Anti-snap euro profile cylinders are not only inexpensive, they can be replaced by a layman in around ten minutes.  Watch our measuring and installation videos or download our measurement and fitting guide.  These are designed to both help with ordering the right size cylinder and fitting them correctly.  It is also extremely important to ensure that a cylinder is the correct size and properly fitted.

A euro profile cylinder should never protrude more than 2-3mm passed the door furniture.  Often, when cylinders have been replaced, the wrong size replacement has been used and this adds to it’s vulnerability.

Although several lock manufacturers have come up with practical solutions, CIA have added the four we consider best to our online store – The Mul-T-Lock Garrison Break Secure range, the Gege Kaba LAM pExtra range, the Yale AS (anti-snap) euro range and the Mul-T-Lock Garrison Break Secure XP range, as follows:

Mul-T-Lock have designed cylinders with a break-off portion so if attacked, although the cylinder is damaged, they leave the door secure and the key still opens the door.  Mul-T-Lock have called their range of cylinders Garrison Break Secure (buy here).  These cylinders can be keyed alike by our locksmiths so that many locks can be controlled by just one key.  And as these cylinders can be fitted in many different applications (eg in safes or mortice locks) and the range extends to padlocks, rim cylinders it can save having a bunch of keys.  The range can also be used for a Master Suite system, a hierarchical key form of access control which gives different keys access to different areas.

Kaba have produced a range of restricted key cylinders (authorisation must be gained by the registered lock owner before copies can be cut) called pExtra, of which the bottom of the range can still be snapped, others in the range are reinforced against snapping (Kaba pExtra LAM – buy here) and some have reinforcement and a snap-off portion (Kaba pExtra LAM SBS).

Yale’s range is called the Yale AS Euro range (buy here), the AS stands for anti-snap.  This range has been tested to the new TS007:2011 3 star industry rating (an enhanced security performance scheme – download a guide to TS007) and has been awarded a 1 star rating.  In short, this means that it needs door furniture (the handle and backplate) that has achieved a TS007 2 star rating to bring the lock up to 3 star.

NB: One important consideration is that Yale AS Euro cylinders cannot be keyed alike by a locksmith in the same way as Break Secure or pExtras can.  Instead, the Yale AS euro range comes with a line of factory keyed alike pairs, the pairs of which are always identical in size (buy here).

Mul-T-Lock have recently launched their enhanced security cylinder range, called Garrison Break Secure XP (buy here), which was awarded the full 3 star rating under the TS007 standard and can also be keyed alike (unlike the Yale AS Euro).

All of the cylinders we sell here on the site are BS EN 1303 compliant covering:

  • Anti-snapping
  • Anti-bumping
  • Anti-picking
  • Anti-drilling
  • Anti-plugging

How to identify a vulnerable door lock cylinder

These cheaper euro profile lock cylinders are installed as standard in almost all new uPVC doors, so unless special emphasis was put on the cylinder itself by the seller of your uPVC door (not the multipoint locking system, which is generally sold as a security feature), it is more than likely to be one that can be beaten in seconds.

However, to be absolutely sure, you’ll need to remove the cylinder from the door.  This is very quick and easy to do and all you need is a medium sized Phillips screwdriver.  Watch the ‘measure cylinder for sizing’ video in the margin, and it will show you how.

Once you’ve taken it out, look carefully at the side of the cylinder.  A secure cylinder will have a break-off portion, identified by a deep 1/3 mm wide recessed line several millimeters back from the front of the cylinder, and/or a strengthening reinforcement bar underneath the middle screw hole.  If it doesn’t, then your lock is at risk and you would be wise to replace it.

To avoid becoming a victim of this type of forced entry, check all door cylinders and if necessary, upgrade them to a more secure euro cylinders.


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