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Find Out How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock

If you have a key that gets broken in a lock, your first instinct might be to panic. Remain calm and assess the situation. You may not need to call a locksmith, depending on your specific circumstances. In some instances, it is best to call a professional. Either way, it's important to take care of the problem immediately. You don't want to leave your house, car or business vulnerable because of a key that broke in the lock. This makes it impossible to lock the door properly and other people could get in easily. Find out why keys can break and how to get a broken key out of a lock.

How Keys Can Break

Breaking a key in a lock happens more often than people might think. There are several situations that reveal how you can break a key in a lock.

You were rushing

The most common reason that a key gets broken off into a lock is because you were in a hurry. Maybe you were late for work or getting the kids out the door. It's easy to rush and snap the key off in the deadbolt. It's important to slow down and take an extra second when locking your door as you leave.

You pulled the door closed with the key repeatedly

It's a bad habit to use the key to pull the door closed. Even though this may be convenient, it will weaken and damage the key over time. One day the key will be so weak that it will snap in the lock the next time you use it. Just use the doorknob to pull the door closed instead of using the key itself. This lengthens the key's lifespan significantly.

The key is in bad shape

If your key becomes weak, such as using it to shut the door, it is only a matter of time before it may break. Keys are not indestructible. Take care of your keys just like you do with your other possessions.

The key is notorious for sticking

The lock itself may weaken over time. The cylinders wear down, the springs weaken and then the pins sag. When the pins are misaligned, it can be hard to turn the key in the lock. One day, the key breaks or the lock will come apart. If the key sticks in the lock, call a technician to fix or replace the lock before a key breaks.

The lock isn't aligned properly

Other problems with the lock can cause problems with the key. If the door and lock aren't aligned properly, muscling open the door will not solve the problem. The stress you put on the door and in turning the key causes it to snap and you won't be able to get in.

You are using the wrong key

Maybe you're rushing once again and you use the wrong key. You may try it two or three times before realizing it's the wrong one. By trying to force the wrong key into the lock, you can do damage to both the key and the lock. Slow down and make sure you're using the right key.

The key is bent

If the key is bent, but you've procrastinated on getting a new one made, now is the time. This key is already weakened and can easily break at any moment. It can also do damage to the lock itself by having to force the key into the lock.

What Can I Do About the Broken Key?

Often the first reaction to a broken key in a lock is panic. But there are several rational steps you can take if a key breaks in a lock.

Loosen up the keyhole

By spraying a penetrating oil into the lock, it'll help loosen things up and make it easier to get the broken key out.

Use needle-noses pliers to pull out the broken key

If you turned the key before it broke, use a screwdriver to move the lock back to its vertical position. Then you can use pliers to attempt to remove the key yourself.

Call a locksmith

If you are unable to remove the key yourself or you fear that doing so may cause more damage, call a professional locksmith. This person will be able to get the key out of your lock and shouldn't cause any more damage to your lock in the process. Depending on other issues, you may need to look at replacing your lock, and this professional can handle that for you immediately.

Breaking a key is a frustrating problem. The best way to avoid this is to follow the aforementioned best practices. If you take a little extra time upfront, you can prevent many problems later. If you do end up with a key that breaks in a lock, the solutions listed above can help. If you have any questions on how to remove a broken key, be sure to reach out to a professional locksmith contractor.

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