Having a key break inside a lock can be a frustrating and inconvenient situation. It can happen to anyone, whether it’s an old rusty lock or a modern one. However, you don’t have to panic or call a locksmith right away. With the right tricks and tools, you can remove a broken key from a lock on your own and save time and money. This is how.
How to Remove a Key That Broke in a Lock: 5 Tricks to Avoid Disassembling Everything
Having your key break in a lock can really hold up your day. Whether it’s your house, car, business, or other – it leaves you kind of stuck. Before spending time and money waiting on a locksmith, try some of these tricks to get your broken key out yourself. (1)
1. Needle Nose Pliers
One of the simplest and most common methods of removing a broken key is by using needle nose pliers. Start by gripping the portion of the key that is sticking out of the lock with the pliers. Gently and carefully pull the key out in the same direction in which it would turn to unlock. If the key is stuck tight, avoid using excessive force, as it may worsen the situation. Apply steady and gentle pressure until the broken key comes out completely.
2. Super Glue
Using a small amount of super glue can be an effective method for removing a broken key. Apply the glue to the end of a thin, sturdy object, such as a toothpick or bobby pin. Insert the glued end of the object into the lock and carefully press it against the broken key. Allow the glue to dry briefly to create a bond between the object and the key. Slowly and gently pull the key out with the object. This method requires patience and precision to avoid pushing the key further into the lock.
3. Jigsaw Blade
If the broken key piece is lodged deep inside the lock, a jigsaw blade can be a useful tool to retrieve it. Take a small, fine-toothed jigsaw blade and insert it into the lock alongside the broken key. Adjust the blade until it catches on the teeth of the key. Slowly pull the blade and the attached key piece out together. Be cautious to avoid any damage to the lock or potential injuries.
4. Lock Lubricant
Sometimes, a broken key becomes stuck due to rust or debris in the lock mechanism. In such cases, using a lock lubricant can help loosen the key and make it easier to remove. Spray a small amount of lock lubricant into the keyhole and let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate the lock. Gently insert a thin tool, such as a paperclip or a slim screwdriver, into the lock alongside the broken key. Wiggle it around to free the key and then carefully pull it out. Using a lock-specific lubricant is essential to avoid damaging the lock internals with incompatible substances.
5. Bump Key
A bump key is a specially designed key that can forcefully push out a broken key from a lock. To use this method, you will need a bump key that matches your lock type. Insert the bump key into the lock and tap it gently with a hammer or similar tool. The impact will cause the broken key to dislodge and pop out. This method requires caution and precision to avoid damaging the lock further or causing injuries. (2)
Breaking a key inside a lock can be a frustrating experience, but with the right tricks and tools, you can avoid disassembling the lock to retrieve the key. However, it’s important to note that these methods may not work in every situation depending on the specific lock and key involved. If you are unsure or uncomfortable attempting these methods yourself, it’s always best to seek the assistance of a professional locksmith to avoid any potential damage to the lock or injury to yourself.
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- “11 Ways to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock.” Art of Lockpicking. March 28, 2023.
- “Bump Keys and What Inspectors Should Know About Them.” Nachi. Nick Gromicko, CMI® and Kenton Shepard