How to get a broken key out of a lock

How to get a broken key out of a lock.

Need to know how to get a broken key out of a lock?  Look no further.  When you have broken a key off in a lock you feel like its only a job for the professionals, fear not, this is yet another job that is much simpler than it appears, and you can save money and get the broken key out of the lock yourself without calling professionals in.

Your approach will depend on the following factors:

  • How far in the key is wedged, and how much of the key is still protruding.
  • The make and style of the lock.
  • The tools are available.
  • How quickly you need to rectify the problem.

broken keyYou may need to try different solutions before getting it right, so be patient, and work your way through – something will work.

WD40 is, once again, your first friend.  If you don’t have a tin of this at home then it really is worth getting one.  It has multiple uses and makes many jobs easier.   Give the entire lock a liberal dousing of this lubricant.  It will make the extraction easier and potentially solve the problem that caused the key to breaking off in the first place!

  1. Do not try and use the remaining part of the key to open the door – tempting as it is, pushing what is left in your hand into the lock to open the door is only going to make the broken bit harder to remove because it will be further in. The more you have to get hold of, the easier your job will be.

TOP TIP: Hang onto the remainder of the key – you may need it to get new ones if you have no spare.

  1. Your first go-to solution is a pair of needle-nosed pliers. Now not everyone has them available, but if you can lay hands on a pair, and there is a suitable length of key still protruding from the lock, this could be a simple job.  It’s the best solution – lovely length of key still there, good grip with the needle-nosed pliers (be careful you don’t push it in further), pull gently but firmly with the lock at the correct point in the rotation, and hopefully after your liberal WD40 application the broken piece will slide right out.
  1. No needle-nosed pliers? Tweezers or pointed end scissors can double up, but both make it easier to push it in further, and harder to get hold of it – take care and be gentle.
  1. If you can’t remove the key, but the lock will turn then you can probably grab it with the pliers or tweezers and at least open the door. One problem solved!
  1. key and lockProfessional Extractor Tools. To state the obvious if you cannot get it out easily, and call a locksmith, he will have professional tools.  On the off chance you have a set on hand for the day when you need to get a broken key out of a lock then you insert the hooked key extractor down the top of the key, snag an upright of the key face, hook onto it and pull the key out in one gentle motion.  There is also the possibility you have a sawtooth extractor, which is used in exactly the same manner, or a spiral tool which is used on the side of the stuck key.
  1. Potential alternatives to Professional Extractor Tools. The very small jigsaw blades, hack saw blades, even a tiny drill bit – can all be pressed into service.  These are also much easier to source from your local hardware store, but the chances of them having a professional key removal kit are fairly slim.  You may need to break the blade to make it into a suitable form to try and remove the key, but it’s worth trying.
  1. Any small long metal piece, if you have the space to create leverage on the sides will do – if you slip something along each side, a bobby pin for example, and can make a pincher movement, you may be able to draw the key out. This method makes it very easy to push it further, once again, a gentle approach is vital.
  1. The riskiest way is to utilize superglue. Don’t dash to this as an option, but if you have sufficient key exposed, you can glue onto that anything that will enable you to draw the key out.  Use an unwound paperclip, bobby pin, anything strong, thin and straight.  Apply the super glue to the end of the tool – not to the key – and make sure that there will be no dripping onto the lock, or excess to spread.  Carefully, I’ll say it twice, carefully apply the glue covered end to the key that is sticking out of the lock.  Hold it still to bond, and then pull back.  Do not do this if you can’t see the end of the key.

How do I get a broken key out of a lock?  To get a broken key out of a lock you need to withdraw the fractured key portion.  The more key that is visible and protruding the easier that job is likely to be, removing a broken key from a lock is easy with the correct tools, but there are a number of other things you can use to try and achieve the same end result.

Author: Kyle Baxter

Kyle Baxter is married with one young son. A very short career in investigative journalism, and a particularly unfortunate experience over the purchase of a major household appliance that took many months to resolve when he could ill-afford the costs led Kyle to his current position as a consumer champion. When not seeking out guidance on the best-on-the-market Kyle enjoys watching baseball and tries to get away from the house long enough to do some off-road cycling.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *