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broken key inside lock

On a sunny day, when you return home from the supermarket, place the key in the lock and ‘click!’ You just broke the key, and now there’s nowhere to go in. Situations like these can be panicking and can ruin your day.

Now, all you have is a broken key in your hand and another half in the lock cylinder core. Out of anxiety, you push the broken half key in your hand against the lock and try to unlock the door. But the stubborn lock won’t rotate. Moreover, the half key inside the lock cylinder has become even stiffer and hard to extract.

You, indeed, make the worst decisions in panic situations. So, hold back, grab a glass of water, and think about what best you can do to take yourself out of such problems. We suggest you not push the broken key as it becomes impossible to extract it.

Why did the key break?

Keys are not easy to break. There might be various reasons why your key broke inside the lock cylinder, some of which are worth noting and could save you from such accidents in the future.

Here, we have mentioned some possible reasons for breaking the door key:

  • No lubrication: Locks can jam over the years, and inserting a key in a jammed lock can break it. Locks need lubrication for proper functioning. Therefore, it is essential to lubricate the lock at regular intervals.
  • Soft material key breaks: Keys made of soft metal can break easily. A variety of keys are available in the market, and some are made of soft metals that are comparatively easy to break. Soft metals mainly include metals like brass, copper, nickel, etc.
  • Force used to open lock: Applying excessive force to open the lock can break the key. So, the next time you are in a hurry never commits a mistake that can end you in trouble.

Apply some lubricants

Before starting the key extraction process, apply some lubricant to the lock. Lubricant will help pull the key out of the stiff lock by making the passage smooth. Apply a good amount of lubricant carefully in the lock. Ensure the lubricant goes deep into the key cylinder and covers most broken fragments.

Use graphite powder since it is solid and works well in the case of locks. Avoid using WD-40 or petrol. They are water-based and volatile. Also, they don’t stay very long. Applying a lubricant will also ensure no further damage to your lock.

While using liquid lubricants, use oil-based lubricants because they stay longer. Also, it’s easy to apply them because they can seep into crevices. After application, use a paper towel to clean the excess lubricant dripping down.

Ways to remove broken keys:

Unlike your local locksmith, you might not have a professional kit to extract the key. Therefore, to remove your broken key stuck in the lock, you need simple tools available in your household.

Removing a broken key is not a complex process; it just requires patience and accuracy. You will use some standard and readily available tools in this whole procedure.

Broken key extractor:

A key extractor is a small object that removes the stuck key from a lock. A broken key extractor projects a sharp metal stick; by its usage, a key broken in the lock is extracted. They are available in a variety of shapes, some of which are:

Spiral extractor

As the name indicates, a spiral extractor is a spiral elongated metal stick that extends up to a few inches, and a tread is wrapped around the shaft to make it appear spiral.

You need to insert the spiral extractor into the lock where the key is stuck. After that, bend the extractor a little and start rotating it. Due to its helical surface and spaces inside the key, the rotation will support the broken part of the key to slip outside.

Hook extractor

Hook extractors are fish hook-shaped flat metal bars. You must hold the handle and push the bar inside the lock between the spaces. Rotate the bar a little to grip the broken key firmly. Now, slowly pull the broken piece of the key back.

Readily available tools:

Except for professional tools like key extractors, you can also use various tools readily available in your household. You have to use them correctly, and they’ll do the job. Some of them are mentioned below.

Needle nose pliers

Needle nose pliers are small objects for personal hygiene available in almost every house. Nose pliers can grab small things and pull the key out of the lock.

To retrieve the key, you need to hold the nose plier correctly. Now, try grabbing the broken piece of key inside the lock. Once you do it, jiggle the key twice or thrice to get it out. After rotating it twice or thrice, you’ll be able to retrieve it.

Small jigsaw blades

Many of you might not be convinced that a jigsaw blade or a Mini hacksaw blade can be used to extract a key. A saw blade is enormous enough to be inserted as such in the edge, so you need to modify it.

Trim the blade thin enough to push it inside the spaces between the lock and the broken key. Do not trim the side with irregularities because they’ll support the broken key out. Also, cut the excessively long part, which is not required.

Insert the blade inside the lock and support the key out.

Small drill bit

The drill bit is used to make enough space to insert a tool that can pull out the key.

Although it is a tricky process, it works most of the time. All you need is to drill exactly near the broken key into the lock. Do it carefully, or you’ll end up damaging the whole lock. After drilling, insert a sharp object which could support the key out.

Flathead screwdriver

Use a flathead screwdriver to pull out the broken key from the lock. All you need is a flathead screwdriver with an elongated shaft to reach the cylinder and rotate it horizontally or vertically to support the key out.

Make sure that you choose the screwdriver whose handle you can grip tightly.

Paper clips

A paper clip is a tiny piece of coiled wire used to hold papers in their place. Surprisingly, you can use paper clips to remove the broken key from a lock.

It would help uncoil the paper clip to support the key from slipping out. Ensure the broken edge is small, as the paper clip won’t hold it. Now, use the thin pieces of clip to grab the key from all sides and slide the key out.

Fishing hook

Before pushing the fishing hook inside the lock, flatten it with your hands or a plier.

Push the hook inside the lock between the spaces. Rotate the hook so that the bent end can grasp the key. Now, slowly pull the key out.

Sharp knife

Be careful while using a sharp knife to retrieve the key because you may hurt yourself. Since the keys are flexible metal, the shape knife would embed itself inside the key. Therefore, you need to pull the key out with more concentration.

Other methods for removing broken keys include:

Since you have made every possible effort, it’s time to use some weird stuff to remove the broken key.

Superglue to remove a broken key

While using the super glue to retrieve the broken key, you must be extremely careful.

A professional won’t recommend that since using such superglue is tricky and requires a lot of care.

You need to apply a small amount of superglue carefully on the key blade and stick the key against the edge of the broken bit within a fraction of a second. Please make sure the broken key is attached to it. Now, rotate the key with soft hands and gently pull it out.

Hot glue-stick

To remove a broken key using a hot glue stick, you need the necessary materials, including a hot glue stick and a lighter. Cut the excess glue stick and patiently head its tip. Stick the glue stick to remove a broken key from a lock.

Make sure that the key sticking out the keyhole is enough to grasp with the help of bare hands. Now, discard the old key and use a new key to unlock the door.

~If you still can’t retrieve the key out of the lock after several attempts, then the last you can do is use lock picks. These tools aren’t familiar, so it’ll be best to pick the lock once. If not, arrange the lock picks instrument by which you can easily extract the key.


What to do if I accidentally push the key inside?

Never risk pushing the broken key once you break it. If you do, do so at your own risk. If pushed forcefully inside, then it becomes hard to extract the key. In such a scenario, only a professional locksmith can aid your situation.

What to do if I broke the only working key of my car lock?

Keys break accidentally. Therefore you shouldn’t panic. Try extracting the key by yourself. If you can’t, it’s better to call for professional help.


The correct key position should be partly outside for most key extraction processes. Removing a broken key becomes tricky if you can’t even reach the broken piece. The wisest thing will be to call for professional aid if this happens.

Time to call a professional!

Whenever stuck in such a situation where you feel helpless, don’t give a second thought before calling Flat Rate locksmith Atlanta. All you have to do is call us at 678-686-7426 and learn more about discounts and offers.

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