Key Won't Go Into Lock - Causes and Solutions.

key inserted to a lock
Publish at Jan 13, 2022 By: Dustin Fernandez
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The most frustrating thing is coming home, and the key won't go into the lock. Whenever you face such a problem, try fixing it by yourself.

There are several reasons behind the non-functioning of a key and lock system. Nuance alterations to your lock or minor things can do this to you.

You won't believe that minor changes are the reason behind the maximum number of faults in the lock that can be self repaired. Here we have enlisted some easy fix techniques that can aid you in self-repair of the lock.

What Are The Things You Need To Know When The Key Is Not Turning In The Lock?

You've been trying hard to look for reasons for the non-working of the key in the door lock. Here are some common reasons that might help you figure out the correct cause that fits your scenario.

Dirt or dust in the door lock

Even a tiny foreign object can make the key stop working correctly. Here, the small foreign object refers to dirt or just that might have accumulated inside your lock.

You have to remove the dirt and dust that can be self-done without a professional locksmith.

The reason behind dirt or dust could be slow action of dust due to weather or not cleaning the door lock regularly. The dust and dirt slightly shift the pins in a partially raised position.

You can try to remove dust from the inner side of the lock, which is very difficult. So, to ease the passage of the key, apply lubricant on the key, then insert it.

The lubricant will help the key smoothly get inside. Also, apply a dry lubricant as the liquid lubricant will make the dirt stick to the keys.

The broken key inside the lock

Hold on if the key won't turn inside the lock. If it's not going, and something is stuck inside the lock, it might be your old key that is broken inside.

Remember, the extreme force will break the key, so do not apply force when inserting the key. Once you have figured out the problem, it's time to get the broken key outside the lock.

A trick for getting the stuck key is, you need a sharp pin to get it out of the cylinder. Slightly insert the pin inside the lock, and it will support the damaged key to slip outside the lock. If it's not working, try getting a small metal wire and get the key outside with the help of its support.

Key not working in freezing weather

Imagine being stuck outside the house in the days of frost because the key won't turn in the lock. It sounds so uncomforting and annoying. But don't worry, it's not because you crashed the cylinder into your lock.

The lock is not working due to the frost outside, and you can self-fix it without any trouble. Heat the key on a direct flame constantly for a few minutes.

For safety, use a tong or a hand glove to hold the key, else you will end up burning your hand. Insert the hot key inside the lock, and it will melt the ice inside. Repeat the process until you obliterate the ice from the lock.

It's not the Right key.

Since you've been trying hard to find the reason behind the non-functioning of the key, it's time to accept that it might not be the right key. The wrong key might have any one of the following reasons:

  1. Poorly carved edges of the key or poorly cut keys
  2. Corroded pin inside the cylinder
  3. Worn-out pin chamber
  4. Broad key tip

If any reason exists, you should search for reputable locksmith services around. Since you might not have the right tools to fix these faults, it would be wise to phone call a locksmith.

However, if you have any idea about the right key, you can get a new key yourself.

What Can You Try To Fix The Key?

When you are tired of making the keys work for the lock and are stuck in your own house, you need to have patience. There are simple techniques that you can use to fix your key.

Most people apply a simple lubricant that does the job. There can be many other reasons for the non-working of keys. A normal example includes:

  • Bent key unable to get into the lock
  • Corroded or damaged keys
  • Change in the original shape of the lock barrel due to dirt

If the door is still locked, double-check the keys, you might be using the wrong key.

When Should You Call A Locksmith?

It is essential to figure out when you should reach for professional help. Sometimes, the mechanism by which doors and their locks work can be highly complicated, and only professional help can curb it. It's better to reach a locksmith than a broken lock. Here are certain things that you need to know to avoid damaging your door locks.

1. You can turn the key, but the door is not opening- If you are perfectly able to turn the key in the lock but still unable to open the door, then it's possible that the key structure does not fit in the mechanism of the lock.

Therefore, a locksmith is best suited to repair such locks. He will either repair the lock or carve a new key for you if needed.

2. The key doesn't work even after replacement- There is a set of pins in the lock function together as a unit.

 They work together to open and close door locks.

Poor alignment of pins can be a leading reason behind the non-working of the key even after getting it replaced. A trained locksmith will align the pins in the right and straight direction or replace the lock if you need.

3. Key only goes in the lock partly- If you cannot insert the key fully inside the lock, there must be a corroded pin in the lock, and the stuck pin can be misaligned and be a barrier to the key.

You should get the door replaced if this happens.

4. Mechanical failure is one of the most common problems with door locks. Locks deteriorate over time due to corrosion or overuse, and it becomes impossible to repair them. When it happens, it's best to get them replaced by a professional locksmith. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you pair the key to the lock?

To work the key for the lock, you can apply lots of appropriate lubricants. In the case of dirt, we recommend a dry lubricant, as the wet one can stick. It would help if you lubricated the door at regular intervals for proper functioning.

You can also use graphite powder instead, and graphite aids in making the keys work for locks.

Is it safe to use WD-40 for locks?

WD-40 is suitable for one-time usage, and you cannot use it regularly as it is water-based. Its viscosity will attract dust and dirt, which is not suitable for the long run. Henceforth, it would be best not to use it in the long run.


If you are locked or stuck inside the house due to non-working keys, you have tried every possible thing to make it work. It's time to contact locksmith services, and a locksmith will take minimum time to resolve the fault in your lock. Furthermore, it's better to reach the best locksmith services to avoid future faults.

Where To Search For a Professional?

ASAP Locksmith

If you are searching for reliable and quick locksmith services around, then ASAP locksmith Dallas, TX, is all you need. We provide 24-hour emergency locksmith services for residentialautomotive, and commercials. All you have to do is call us at 469-208-0041 and know more about discounts and offers.

Article written by: Dustin Fernandez
I am Dustin Fernandez, and I'm the owner of ASAP Locksmith in Dallas. My company is a family business, and we provide locksmith services to residential, commercial, and automotive customers. I've been in the locksmith industry since 1995 when I was just 20 years old. I started by working for another locksmith company before eventually starting my own. Over time, my father joined me as a partner in this venture, which made him proud to help his son succeed at something he loved doing!