HELP! MY KEY BROKE OFF IN THE LOCK!
What a horrible way to start the day!
While aggravating and inconvenient, a key broken inside a lock is also kind of a big deal. Typically this happens happens when somebody is in a rush to lock or unlock their door. After a long life, keys get worn down just like any other material. Keys are made out of metal, and often suffer and endure a excessive amount of wear and tear (rattle around all day inside purses, pockets, etc.) also keys can get worn down with aggressive use, poor metal quality, and low quality hardware that dirties the keyway with gunk. Regardless of the circumstances behind the busted key within the lock – and notwithstanding whether or not it occurred in a residence lock, business lock or vehicle lock – a key broken off within your lock is something that ought to be addressed at once.
- If the key gets broken off within lock before the door was shut, you’ll be unable to lock the door, thereby keeping you at that location or exposing your home, automobile or workplace to a higher risk of stealing.
- If the key snaps off in the lock once you’ve closed the door, you will be unable to open up the door till the problem is resolved.
- The broken key can even damage the locks internal mechanisms.
When the Key is sticking out from the Lock
If enough of the key protruding is sticking out, you might be able to merely pinch it with 2 fingers and withdraw it. If there’s barely anything to grab hold of on the protruding key, matters are often a little more difficult, however you still may be able to extract it by employing a pair of needle nose pliers. The largest challenge sometimes is having to use the needle nose pliers, however, it may very well be worth a try if your key has snapped and you happen to have the appropriate tools on hand or in your home.
Although you should be able to extract the key if there’s some of it sticking from the lock, it’s worth keeping in the back of your mind that if you are unable to remove the key yourself or if you discover that you may be causing potential injury to the lock, it may be time to call a locksmith.
When the Key Isn’t Sticking Out of the Lock
This maneuver involves finding a paperclip that is sufficiently small to fit into the keyway. Needle Nose Pliers would also be handy to have. Try to insert the paperclip into the top part of the lock and wiggle gently as you pull towards you. If you are able to get a small part of the key out, you may be able to remove or pry it out with the needle nose pliers. Be gentle as to not damage the lock.
Again, this is not a guaranteed method for success, and calling a professional locksmith could be the best option.
Preventing Broken Keys
- Lock lubrication: Typically keys will snap off inside of your locks due to the age or other factors of the lock. Small dust particles and dirt build up in the lock cylinder and over time can cause issues with the key spinning correctly due to friction. Try spraying some WD-40 or Lock Lube in the key hole.
- Replacement keys: As we all have a tendency to require new keys, either after losing our old pair, getting a new pair, duplicating, or rekeying. It's always good to keep a spare key hidden somewhere so you can avoid having to call a locksmith out to you to make a key on the spot.
- Automobile locks: If you park your vehicle outside during the winter season, you may run the danger of your automobile locks freezing over. You can try to heat up your key with a lighter, this heats the key up and sometimes allows you to unfreeze the lock and turn it. If that doesn't work, you could try to dip your key in Vaseline and then administer the key to the lock. This occasionally works as a de-icer.