Struggling with a broken key that’s stuck in the lock? A broken off key not only makes it unfit for future use, but renders the lock unworkable.
The good news is, depending on how much of the key is stuck in the lock, you should be able to do a simple DIY broken key extraction.
Get a broken key out of a lock
How to get stuck or broken keys out of the lock?
A professional locksmith would use a narrow, barbed tool that is specifically designed to extract a key, but the blade of a jigsaw or scroll saw is equally effective. Here’s how to extract a key from a lock—the DIY way.
Start by spraying penetrating oil into the keyhole to loosen it up a little. This is very helpful, especially if you were having problems turning the key in the lock before. The next step is to look at how much of the key is left in the lock. If the part that you’re holding still has some cuts, and the key broke in the middle, the lock might still be aligned to pull the key in and out.
If the part that you’re holding has no cuts, you may have turned the key part way before it broke off. In this case, insert a screwdriver into the lock, then turn it back to its vertical position.
Get a needle-nosed pliers and insert the tip of it into the keyhole. Reach for the key and try to get a firm grip before pulling it out. This technique is for a key that broke off at its head with all the cuts still inside the lock. If you’re unable to pull out the key, remove the pliers and set them aside.
Next, slide the blade of a jigsaw or scroll saw into the keyhole, allowing the teeth to point downward. Push it way down until you feel the teeth of the blade clutch the cuts on the key. Pull the blade out of the keyhole. You should see the broken key come out with the blade.
Broken key removal
Broken key removal
Don’t have access to the right tools?
If you’re not able to do the steps above because all your tools are locked inside, look to see where the key broke off. If only half of it broke off and you have the other end in your hand, no one will be able to pick the lock while you’re gone to look for tools.
However, if the key cuts are still in the lock, anyone can get it out with a screwdriver, so have someone you trust guard the lock while you’re gone. Another option is to find something flat and narrow to turn the lock so you’re able to get inside to access your tools.
While this looks like a very simple process, it is, but only for someone who has the patience and the will to go on. Acquiring the services of a mobile locksmith is your next alternative. This would only take a few minutes to complete, plus you’ll have the assurance that the job was professionally done. Most locksmiths also offer a full guarantee to go with their services, so you can always call them back in case you’re not satisfied after they’ve left.