Removing a broken key from a lock can be a frustrating experience. This is especially true if you’re in a hurry or don’t have the right tools. However, don’t despair, with a little patience and the right technique, you can often salvage the situation without calling a locksmith. The first step is to assess the situation and determine how much of the key is left in the lock. If a significant portion of the key is still visible, you may be able to use a pair of pliers or tweezers to gently pull it out. However, if the key is broken off completely or is jammed deep inside the lock, additional troubleshooting methods are necessary. In this article, we’ll explore a range of techniques detailing how to remove a broken key from a lock.

Before you begin…

You should know that the tumblers in locks have two positions. In one of these positions, the key can slide out easily. The other position holds the key in place. Therefore, before attempting to remove the broken key from a door lock, ensure that the lock is turned to a position that allow the key to release. In most cases, this means the lock will need to be straight up and down (AcmeLocksmith). If the lock was correctly installed, you should be able to turn it so that the key slot is straight up and down. In this position, the tumblers will release the key.

If the lock isn’t positioned in a way that will allow it to release the key, it’s possible to adjust the tumblers with just a couple of off-the-shelf tools. Here is a list of some methods you can try to remove a broken key from a lock:

Methods To Try

(Note that these methods are not recommended as they can cause damage.)

door lock repair
  • Try using pliers: If the broken key is sticking out of the lock, you can try using pliers to grip the key and gently pull it out. Be sure to use a firm grip and pull slowly and steadily. Pulling too hard or too fast could cause the key to break off further. You can also try to use a paperclip and get similar results.
  • Try a magnet: If the key is made of a magnetic material, such as steel, use a strong magnet to pull it out. Hold the magnet close to the key and slowly move it around until the key attaches to the magnet. Then, gently pull the magnet and key out of the lock. While this method doesn’t always work, it’s worth a try, and does work in some cases.
  • Use a lubricant: Applying a lubricant to the lock can help loosen the key and make it easier to remove. Spray WD-40 or graphite powder into the keyhole and let it sit for a moment. Then, using a paperclip, try to dislodge the broken key.
  • Use a saw blade: If the broken key is lodged deep inside the lock, you can try using a small saw blade to remove it. These narrow, fragile saw blades might be able to fit into the lock with the blade. Use a tooth of the hacksaw or jigsaw blade to try and hook onto the edge of the broken key (ParkSideMotors). A hacksaw blade or a jigsaw blade has a similar shape to the key extractor tools.
  • Broken key extractor tool: Lock-picking tools, such as the broken key extractor, is a tool made specifically for pulling broken keys out of locks or ignition switches. You can order them from online stores such as (LockPickWorld). There are also some brick-and-mortar shops that sell lock extractor tools, but they’re not always easy to find. You should also note that like any other specialist tool, they do take some skill to use effectively. 

Key Broken in House Lock or Ignition? Call Crown Locksmith

If you happen to find that your key has broken off in your house lock, don’t despair. You have options. In a house lock, you can usually remove the entire locking mechanism from the door. If you can successfully do that, you can take the whole unit to a locksmith, where they can extract the broken key for you. This is almost always cheaper than replacing the entire lock.

On the other hand, if your key breaks off in the ignition switch of your car, this won’t be an option. Unfortunately, you can’t just remove the lock and take it to a locksmith for repairs. Should this happen, we’ve got you covered. Our mobile locksmiths can come to you (CrownLocksmith).

Crown Locksmith is a highly-rated locksmith operating in the Atlanta area. We’re experts when it comes to getting broken keys out of locks. We can save you time, frustration, and money. Our mobile locksmiths are available to help you get into your house or get your broken key out of the ignition of your car. Contact us today if you need help removing any broken key from a lock.

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