5 Tips to Extracting a Broken Key from a Lock

5 Tips to Extracting a Broken Key from a Lock

Losing our keys or getting ourselves locked out of our home or car is one of the most frustrating things to happen to us humans in the middle of a busy day, but there is another frustrating thing at the top of that list, and that is breaking our key in the keyhole. We hear that snapping sound and our stomach begins to twist and twirl, we start sweating, the panic attack kicks in and our entire day is ruin. After the initial frustration wears off a little optimism appears, and you think if you push hard enough you can at least get that door open, but do not never do that under any circumstance.

Before you do anything, make sure you read our article first, in it, we are going to tell you the best ways to extract a broken key from a lock. We are going to mention the top 5 ways, and out of these tips one will be better suited for the situation you found yourself in, so make sure that you read all of them and find the one that will help you extract the key from the lock.

The best way to resolve your situation will depend not only on these tips but also on where you are, what tools you have available, and how deep the broken key is, also once you have found the method appropriate for your situation, do not get frustrated if at first, you do not succeed in getting the broken key out. Most of these tips will require a little trial and error from you, after all, it is always easier to break something than it is fixing it, you may want to remember this little poetic jewel as you attempt to fix your problems.


People have a common belief that even though the key is broken inside, they can still use what’s left of it to try to unlock the door. Do not do that, never do that. If you employ this popular belief of reinserting the key all you are going to accomplish is pushing the broken part deeper into the lock. The tips we are going to share with you will be more successful and work faster if the broken key is closer to the entry point. The deeper you push it, the harder it will be for you to retrieve it. Depending on how further in you push the broken key, some of these tips are not going to be helpful to you. The best you can do after you have broken your key in the lock, is to put away the piece you have in your hand and forget about it, because you are not going to need it at any point while you are following these tips, however, do not throw it away, because after you pull out the other half from the lock, you can give both parts to the Locksmith so they can cut you a brand new key.


This step is optional, however, it will things a little easier for you, if you get prepared for the task at hand. Start by applying a little bit of lubricant into the keyhole. Try using a graphite spray lubricant or any other dry lubricator, oily lubricants like WD-40 will work as well, but, bear in mind that they have a tendency to start gumming up as time passes and after a while, it can be problematic.


Here is a list of tools you may have on you or close to you that will be very helpful to help you fix your problem:

Metal hairpin.
Bobby pin.
Safety pin.
Button pin.
First Aid Kit.
Swiss army knife.

1. Tweezers.

This is the first go-to move for almost every person whose key broke in the lock. Your main focus has to be the thickness of the tweezers and how deep inside the broken key is. Most tweezers are not suited for this task, they end up pushing the key deeper. The right ones will be able to go around the broken part and will work better if there is a piece of the key pointing out.

2. Broken Key Extractor.

A Broken key extractor is a professional solution, a Locksmith will use it to get the broken key out, but you can use it too. Place the machine inside the keyhole, and hook the tool to the broken key, once that done, start turning and pulling. As professional as this tool is, you won’t succeed at first, it will take you a couple of tries, do not despair and get frustrated.

3. Probe and Pull.

By using two very thin pieces of metal you can begin probing the keyhole and pulling the broken key out. No need to go deeper, just enough that you feel the pieces clinging to the key, and start pulling out very carefully but applying sufficient pressure during the process. Again, at first you are not going to be successful, however, try after try you will be pulling the key out.

4. Super Glue.

As counterintuitive as this method may sound, sometimes, this is all we have close by, and why not give it a shot? The idea behind this tip is to glue the broken key onto something like a match and then pull it out. This method is only recommended if the broken part is within sight, meaning, it is close to the entry point. If the key is too deep, then do not apply this tip.

5. Tapping the Cylinder.

To make this tip work for you, you are going to need to remove the cylinder from the door and be able to pound on it aiming at the ground.

Any of these methods will work for you on any given occasion in which you break your key inside the lock, and will work practically on any type of lock. Also, as long as you have the right tools you will make the job a little easier for you.

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