How To Get A Broken Key Out Of A Lock? Here Are 5 Effective Hacks

Key Takeaway

  • To remove a broken key from a lock, first, observe how far your key is inside the lock.
  • If the key is visible from the keyhole, you may tap the lock cylinder from the back to displace it. You can also use a pair of tweezers to remove the key.
  • The key seated far inside the lock may be grabbed and removed using an extractor tool.

Today, we cannot envision a world where there are no locks. We all use them in our everyday lives in different forms, like bicycle locks, car locks, deadbolts, luggage locks, gym locks, etc. But have you ever encountered a situation where you broke your key inside the lock? If you are here reading this, you likely have a broken key stuck in a lock and are looking for ways to remove it.

Having a key stuck inside a lock can be annoying, but thankfully, with the help of appropriate tools and the right guidance, you can remove it. You may also consider calling a locksmith to remove the broken key but trying your hands on the task can definitely save you some money.

In this article, we will learn different ways to remove a broken key from the lock. I tried and tested all the methods listed in the article, and at least one method should work for you. Read through the hacks carefully to choose the one that suits you.

How To Remove Broken Key From Lock

How To Remove Broken Key From Lock

With the right tools and a bit of patience, you’ll be able to get your broken key out and be back to normal in no time. Read on to find out how! 

Below are a few ways to remove a broken key snapped off in the lock. To know the best method for you, look for what tools you have and how far your key is seated in the lock.

1. Tap The Lock Cylinder To Remove The Key

Tap The Lock Cylinder To Remove The Key

If the key stuck in your deadbolt is just at the keyway and in a position where your hands cannot hold it, instead of straightaway holding the key to remove it, tap on the lock cylinder using a hammer. Tapping the cylinder will result in shock that will displace the key from its position and bring it out, so you remove it. While striking, ensure striking the back of the cylinder. Else, you may end up pushing the key far inside the lock.

In fact, you can try this technique even if the key is slightly on the inner side of the lock, as it may help you bring it closer to the exit.

2. Use Tweezers To Remove The Key

Use Tweezers To Remove The Key

Using a simple tool like tweezers can help you remove a broken key from your lock if the key is not far inside the lock. To do so, you first need to align the keyhole of your lock in a vertical (locked or unlocked) position. You can only remove the key if the lock is aligned vertically. After that, spray some silicon-based lubricant into the lock keyhole. Then take your pair of tweezers and gently insert them inside the lock to grab the broken key. Be careful while carrying out the task, as a slight force can push the key far inside, making it more challenging to be removed.

3. Removing The Key Using An Extractor Tool

Removing The Key Using An Extractor Tool

To remove a broken key from a lock using an extractor tool, you obviously need an extractor tool. Most extractor tools to remove keys come in sets that include different hook and spiral extractor tools. You can purchase them both online and at any hardware shop. 

The key hooks feature long and thin rods and have various sizes and types of hooks at the end. The spiral extractors have flexible rods and evenly spaced tiny hooks.

It could take a little effort to identify the right tool that fits properly in your lock and helps remove the broken key. Start by using the smallest hook, as, in most cases, the smaller extractor tools can grasp most keys.

Once you have the required material, you can follow the given steps to start extracting the broken key stuck in the lock.

  • Step 1: It is important to align your lock cylinder in a locked or unlocked position before removing the key from the lock. If the lock is somewhere in the middle of these stairs, the broken key won’t come out for sure. You may use a needle nose plier and insert it into the keyhole to align the lock’s cylinder.
  • Step 2: Once the lock is appropriately aligned, penetrate the lock’s keyway with lubricant. Insert the straw attachment of the nozzle into the keyhole and spray it. I recommend using a silicon spray as it is water-resistant and protects your lock against rust.
    Insert the straw
  • Step 3: Next, you need to know the exact spot where you would use the extractor tool. To find that out, use the remaining key as a guide and place it slightly into the lock to use it as a guide. The spot where the toothed part of the key touches is where the extractor tool goes.
    use the extractor tool
  • Step 4: Now, take an extractor tool that fits your lock the best and slide it into the lock through the keyhole. Ensure to insert the hook where the toothed part of the key touches and slide it in with the hook facing upward. You should point the tool such that when sliding inside, it should run parallel to the stuck key to be able to hold the groove of the key.
    slide it into the lock
  • Step 5: Next, turn the key extractor so that the hook on it can grasp the key and draw it out. Pull the extractor out while pressing the handle end away from the lock. If you lose control of the key while pulling it out, try again until you get it out. You may also use a pair of nose-pliers to remove the key if you can bring it close to the exit of the keyhole where it is visible.

4. Removing The Key Using A DIY Saw Blade Extractor Tool

Removing The Key Using A DIY Saw Blade Extractor Tool

If you do not have a key extraction kit, you can make your own DIY extraction tool using a saw blade and duct tape.

Given below are the steps to make an extractor tool of your own and use the tool to remove the broken key from a lock.

  • Step 1: The first step is to break one small portion, around 5-6 inches, of a saw blade. You can do it easily by bending the saw, as usually the blade is made up of brittle material that breaks easily
    saw blade.
  • Step 2: Next, use duct tape to secure the unbroken end of the cut-out blade. Wrap multiple layers of duct tape across the blade. If the blade teeth continue to poke through the duct tape, simply add more layers to the tape until the blade’s pointed teeth are concealed. This end of the saw will serve as the handle that you will hold.
    secure the unbroken end
  • Step 3: Align your lock cylinder in a locked or unlocked position before removing the key from the lock using nose pliers, as the key would only come out if the lock is vertically aligned. 
  • Step 4: Once the lock is appropriately aligned, penetrate the lock’s keyway with a silicon spray lubricant. Insert the straw attachment of the nozzle into the keyhole and spray it. 
  • Step 5: Slide the DIY extractor tool made of a saw blade into the keyhole and align it alongside the key. Keep the pointed teeth of the tool upwards to make it easier to grab the key.
  • Step 6: Once the saw blade is parallel to the key, twist the handle to enable the toothed end to hold the key and then pull the extractor tool. If you can’t get the key out the first time because you lost control of it, keep trying until you remove it successfully. If you can get the key near the visible exit of the keyhole, you may remove it with a pair of nose pliers.

5. Use Superglue To Remove The Key

Using super glue to unjam a lock appears absurd as this tactic has a high chance of failure. But this is an alternative if you are in a pinch and have the resources. The goal is to secure the key with adhesive so that you may remove it afterward.  

The first thing to note is that you shouldn’t attempt this if your key is stuck deep back in the keyhole and no metal is visible, as the super glue method can only be used when the broken key is reachable.

Put some super glue on the tip of a short wire, toothpick, or other thin, pointed object. Remove any extra glue before placing the object close to the keyway as the lock might get damaged by too much adhesive. 

Next, hold the object with the superglue against the broken key’s edge. Make sure not to force the broken key farther into the lock while exerting pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. I am unable to insert the key into my lock. What could be the possible reason?

Answer – If you cannot insert the key into your lock, either the key or the lock cylinder is likely corroded. Penetrate some lubricant into the key way that permeates the entire lock to smoothen the passage and help the lock to open smoothly.

Q2. How to remove a broken key from a deadbolt if the conventional methods don’t work?

Answer – If the lock is in the unlocked position, you can disassemble the lock to access the cylinder. You can do so by removing the screws that mount the deadbolt on the door. Once you have access to the cylinder, you can open it to remove the broken key. To learn about how to remove a deadbolt, click here.

Q3. Can I unlock my lock with the space key if one key breaks in the lock?

Answer – Do not insert the spare key inside the lock if there is a broken key fragment inside the lock, as this will further push the broken key inside, making it harder to remove it. Moreover, you will not be able to unlock the lock with a spare key if there is a part of the broken key already inside the lock.

Q4. How much does a locksmith charge to remove a broken key from inside the lock?

Answer – A locksmith would charge somewhere between $25 to $65 to remove a broken key from the lock. It could cost more to remove the key from a car lock than to remove it from a door lock.

Conclusion

If you have ever been in a situation where your key broke off in the lock, I am sure you understand the frustration and stress that comes with it. But there is a way to get the broken key out of the lock without having to call a locksmith. In this blog post, we walked you through a few simple steps to help you remove a broken key from a lock without needing a professional.

If you found the information in the article helpful and one of the methods worked for you, please share the experience in the comment section. You may also leave your questions about anything related to home security. I will be happy to help you resolve the issues.

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Hey! I am Mark. Though I am not a locksmith by profession, but locks have always fascinated me since my teens. And it all started when I got locked out of my house and I had to pick the lock. Since then it has become my hobby to learn more about different kinds of locks, understand their working and methods to pick them up. In due course of time, I have also become better aware of how installing the right lock goes a long way in ensuring iron clad security. I aim to share my passion (about locks) through this blog. If you are also passionate about picking locks or are just looking to beef up the security, hop on the ride.