Top Tips and Tricks To Remove a Broken Key From a Lock

by Daniel on

Only people who have ever broken a key in a lock will understand the sense of dread that fills you when you find yourself in the midst of such an unfortunate predicament. To some people, being in this situation might feel like the end of the world, but it is not! 

It is important to keep a clear head while you are in the midst of getting your having a broken key stuck in your lock. First, you should know that your lock and your key can always be repaired or replaced by a professional local locksmith, which means there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Second, you should step away from your lock and stop tampering with it to prevent the damage from escalating. This cannot be stressed enough. If you continue to use your lock in its current state, you run the risk of damaging the lock if it still remains intact. 

The tips and tricks that will be outlined below will help you find the perfect solution to get your broken key out of your lock. You should be aware that some of these tricks will work for your particular predicament, while others will not. 

Regardless, you should keep a level head, and go through each tip to see if it can help you. Before we dive into these tips and tricks, here are a few of the things you should do before you start trying to remove your broken key, as well as some of the things you should be mindful of:

  • Stop trying to use the lock with a broken key in it. Trying to connect the two pieces of the key inside the lock is not a viable option. Attempting to do this will only push the broken key piece further into the keyway of the lock.
  • Before you begin trying to extract the broken key piece, you should lubricate the lock. This makes the process much easier to carry out. Lubricants like Tri-Flow or WD-40 are good for jobs like these. In lieu of these a graphite based lubricant works well.

With these in mind, here are some tips and tricks you can use to remove a broken key from a lock:

1. Using A Broken Key Extractor Tool

It only makes sense that we start by discussing a trick commonly used by professionals to remove broken keys from all kinds of locks. These locks include residential door locks, as well as car door locks. This trick simply involves utilizing a broken key extractor tool. The name of the tool is somewhat self-explanatory as to what it does.

The tool is simply a means by which you can easily get your key out of your house door lock or remove a key from a car door lock. Before you begin the use of this tool, you should assess the door lock to see how far into your keyway the broken key piece rests. Also, as was stated above, you should lubricate your lock before you begin trying to extract the broken key from the lock. 

The broken key extractor tool is simple enough to use. Essentially, the tool is gradually inserted into the keyway alongside the bitting of the broken key. Once the extractor tool has caught hold of the broken key piece, you can begin to twist and pull it out of the keyway. 

Now, the explanation of this seems rather simplistic, but the process can be quite difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before. So stay patient and take your time to see if you can successfully remove your broken key from the lock.

2. Use A Pair Of Tweezers Or Needle Nose Pliers

In addition to the use of a broken key extractor tool, another easily accessible tip, and trick that people can take advantage of involves the use of a pair of tweezers or needle nose pliers. It should be noted that using a pair of tweezers to remove your broken key from a lock is not always going to be the best-suited solution. 

This method will only succeed if part of the broken key piece is extending out of the keyway. If the broken key piece does not extend out of the keyway, it will be nearly impossible to use a pair of tweezers to remove it from the lock. 

It should also be noted that due to the nature of keyways, you will have to use a set of tweezers that are suited to the task. This is why needle nose pliers are the specific type of pliers that work well. Their size makes them perfect to grip the edge of the broken key blade firmly enough for it to be extracted.

3. Buy A Mini Hacksaw Blade Or Jigsaw Blade

In theory, using a mini hacksaw blade, or a jigsaw blade will help you achieve the same results you hope to get when you use a broken key extractor tool. Essentially, you will be hoping to hook the bitting of the broken key piece on a toothed or serrated edge that allows it to be conveniently pulled out of the keyway in question.

This is one of the easier tips and tricks to utilize because the tools required for the job are very easily accessible. These tools act as facsimiles to the professional tool that a home locksmith will use that is simply called a “broken key extraction tool.”

This method also often requires the use of a pair of tweezers or needle nose pliers, to pry the key piece out of the keyway once it has been pulled outward by the use of the mini hacksaw blade or jigsaw blade. Another benefit of this tip is that the mini hacksaw blade is fairly easy to come by if you pay a visit to a local hardware store in your area.

4. Take Advantage Of Super Glue

Now, I know that super glue sounds like it would be an unlikely solution for extracting a broken key from a lock. However, you should rest assured that under the right circumstances, it can actually be a nifty and very successful solution for removing a broken key from a lock.

The idea behind using glue to extract your broken key piece is relatively simple, and it can be done with simple items that you can usually find in your house, or that can be purchased from a nearby hardware or supply store.

However, in order for this particular method to work, the broken key piece should be visible in the keyway. If the piece is broken off deep in the keyway, you should resort to using an alternative method, like a broken key extractor tool or a jigsaw blade. The glue method is simple.

All you have to do is make use of a thin material like a matchstick or a wire. Simply apply some glue to the end of this material and then connect it to the visible key piece. The idea here is to let the two sections bond so that the matchstick/wire can be used to gently pull the key out.

5. Remove The Lock Cylinder & Tap The Key Out

Another neat trick that comes in handy when you break a key in a lock is to remove the lock cylinder and tap the key piece out of it. It goes without saying that this approach can only work once the lock cylinder has been removed.

If you do not have the tools necessary to remove your lock cylinder, or if you do not know how this method might not be the best trick for you. Ideally, the lock cylinder should be pointed downwards so that the application of force and gravity work together to dislodge the broken key piece that is still within the keyway.

Unlike some of the other tips and tricks discussed above, this method doesn’t really require much in terms of tools needed to successfully pull this off. If you are able to remove the lock cylinder, the only tool you really need is something that lets you strike the lock with enough force to facilitate the removal of the broken key piece.

Final Thoughts

The tips and tricks above should help you successfully remove a broken key from a lock. However, you should know that this is only the beginning of the process involved in getting a working key back in your possession. 

Ideally, you should contact your local locksmith to help make you a new house key or car key and to also have them assess the state of your door locks.

In instances like this, door locks often suffer damage that might lead to the need for a door lock repair or door lock replacement. Give the team at Locksmith Pros USA a call if you need assistance with any of these services.

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