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6 Simple Ways To Get A Broken Key Out Of A Lock

Handyman fixing the door with screwdriver

The sound and sensation of a key snapping off in a car lock can be demoralizing. Then there’s that false sense of optimism that maybe you can still open the door. Before embarking on a scheme to extricate the key shard from the lock, you may want to just call a professional locksmith. But if you are determined to take a crack at the lock, considers these DIY methods to get the broken key out of the lock.

Make Preparations

The method that you employ may depend on factors such as key depth, the location and situation. Regardless of which method you try, this could take a while.

The first thing to remember is not to try and thrust the piece in your hand into the lock and force it. This is one of the more common mistakes that people make. Rather than solve the problem of getting into the car, it is far more likely that you will jam the key shard deeper into the lock. That could make it impossible to remove and end up irreparably damaging the lock. Put the portion you have in a safe place. Now, gather these materials.

  • WD-40 or similar lubricant
  • Sturdy Metal Hair Clip
  • Several Paper Clips
  • Several Safety Pins
  • Several Button Pins
  • One First Aid Kit
  • Gerber Utility Tool (Needle Nose Pliers)

Take the WD-40 or similar lubricant and work it into the lock. It should come with a small straw-like spray option that can help get it into the keyhole. Take your time and be precise.

Use Needle Nose Pliers

If you can see and grab the end of the broken key, attempt to latch on to it with the pliers from the main part of the Gerber or needle nose pliers. These are one of the stronger tools in terms of traction. Give the key a small, partial turn to the left and right to make sure it’s lined up for retrieval. If it comes out reasonably resistance free, great. But, don’t force the issue and do damage.

Try The Tweezers

If the broken key cannot be secured with the pliers, tweezers tend to be thinner and can be inserted into the lock. They lack the sturdiness of pliers but can help move the shard outward. Utilize a similar method of working the key into the retrieval position and try to back it out. Tweezers are unlikely to give you enough traction to due damage, so don’t worry about doing your best to get it out. If you can back the shard out enough, switch to the pliers.

Buy A Broken Key Extractor

Professional locksmiths use this tool because it can reach deep into the lock and grab the shard. Even a do-it-yourselfer can have a high success rate using this device. Of course, it most likely means making a major purchase and you may never use it again.

Super Glue It

Squirting fast-acting glue into a lock may seem counterintuitive. Some lock novices try to get the glue to adhere to the shard by filling in the portion of the missing half. It has a low success rate and may gunk up the lock as well. Could result in a costly repair.

Probing The Shard

Using all the little tools, try to work them into the lock and loosen it enough to get movement. This will take considerable trial and error and a significant time investment. If you can get some retrieval movement, then utilize the tweezers and pliers when practical.

The No. 1 Key Removal Method

The most time- and cost-effective way to retrieve a broken key and get into your car is to call an expert. The trained technicians at All Hour Locksmith provide roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you break a key in your vehicle’s lock, call All Hour Locksmith at (810) 833-3220.

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