Dealing with a broken key is a hard enough situation on its own, but add to it that your broken key is stuck in the lock?! This is outright frustrating, but we at ASAP Locksmith want to help you with this less than pleasant situation. In this article, we are going to cover the different ways to remove a broken key from a lock.
To deal with this situation in the best manner, it is important to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, these solutions are ways to safely remove your key without damaging the lock. These are not ways to unlock your door with the broken key or for continued usage of the key after removal.
After you successfully remove your key, you will need to get a new one made. Place the broken half in your hand to the side to take to the locksmith when buying your replacement. Do NOT try to put both pieces back together again. This will only cause the broken half to be pushed further into the lock creating a bigger problem.
If you spray a dry lubricant, such as graphite or silicone-based one, then it will make the removal easier. Also, most of these methods will only remove the key to get a secure grip on the broken half. It is a good idea to have a pair of needle-nose pliers with you to remove half the rest of the way.
The Key is Visible
The first methods we will discuss are when you can see your key. In this case, a lot of the time, you will be able to remove the key on your own and won't need to have a professional come out. Remember that all of these solutions help you remove the key, so be careful not to push the key further in.
If you've ever played any hidden object games, you know this is the most common way you see broken keys removed in these games. Unfortunately, this is not a very accurate representation of this method. Most tweezers are not sized correctly to allow you to use them in removing broken keys.
For tweezers to work, you need to have a wide enough size to fit around the key and not so thick that it won't fit in the lock on either side. In most cases, a pair of tweezers will make this problem worse by pushing the broken key further into the lock. However, if the key is still visible, this method may work and allow you the grip you need to remove the key.
This method is not to put the key back together to use. The glue will not be strong enough to handle the turning of the key, and your problem will become much worse. Your objective is to stick the broken half to either a wire or match and remove the key.
Make sure you use something strong enough to pull the key out. This method doesn't always work and should only be used if the key is still visible. Try taking a match, wire, or another thin but strong object and applying your quick glue. Immediately stick the object to the key and wait until it dries. Once it dries, attempt to slowly and carefully remove the key. Be sure to gently adhere to the object so you don't inadvertently push the key further in.
The Key is Not Visible
The following methods can be used if either your key is not visible or if the above ways do not work. These methods have varying success rates and difficulties. Make sure to take your time so you don't cause any undue damage to your lock. If at any time you feel overwhelmed, please don't hesitate to call a locksmith. A locksmith will typically be able to remove the key quickly with no undue stress and can make you a new key as well.
If you have access to a small thin blade such as a mini hacksaw or a jigsaw blade, you can use this to try and remove your key. For the blade to work, it must fit into the keyway along the side of your broken key, so the blade must be tiny and thin. To try this method, place the blade into your keyway with the serrations pointing towards you. You aim to line up the blade serrations with the biting on your broken key. Once lined up, then turn and pull. This should cause the key to coming out.
Two Thin Strips
Another method is to use two thin strips of plastic, metal, or even card stock. The material should be thin enough to fit on either side of your key. The goal is to use the strips to grip the key and pull it out. This process will take a lot of patience as the key will only pull little by little, but once it is visible, you can use your needle nose pliers to remove it the rest of the way. You can also try prying the key out by turning your wrists when you pull.
This method will not be relevant for most locks; however, it may assist you with a padlock. You need to aim your keyway toward the ground and then gently hit the lock with a heavy object. This will often work to knock the key out of the lock because it keeps the lock still and allows gravity to knock the key loose.
This is the tool that will most likely be used if you call a locksmith. This is a machine that requires special skills and training. It will quickly extract the broken key from the lock with the least amount of damage. If you have tried all of the above options or the process gets too frustrating, please do not hesitate to reach out to a locksmith.
Here at ASAP Locksmith Dallas, our top priority is to fix your problem as quickly and efficiently with as little stress as possible. So, if we can help, please give us a call; we are happy to assist!