Being locked out of your own home is one of the most frustrating problems to overcome. This usually happens when keys are lost but it can also occur when a key is broken off in the lock. Calling a reliable locksmith to get a broken key out of a lock can cost hundreds of dollars. If it is not an emergency such as being stranded on the doorstep without any tools to get the key out there are several ways to try and resolve the problem yourself.
When it becomes obvious that the problem cannot be resolved, it really is best to hire a professional locksmith to remove the broken key without causing more damage to the lock mechanism and the surrounding door frame.
How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock
It is usually not that difficult to get a stuck key out of a lock provided that the mechanism inside has not been damaged. It could just be due to a loose part in the lock assembly, a bend in an older assembly, or a sharp ridge or burr on a new key. If this happens to an exterior door you must act quickly as it could pose a security risk and it is not recommended to leave a broken key in a lock as it can damage the lock permanently.
Things you should not do is to try and force the key out of the lock as it could damage the lock cylinder or try to take the door lock apart on your own. If you find that despite your best efforts the key won’t budge you should call a professional locksmith to deal with the matter.
Why do Keys Break in Locks?
According to professional locksmiths, there are three primary reasons why keys break off inside locks:
- When an old key has become damaged due to wear and tear it can snap in half;
- When a lock becomes faulty due to lack of general maintenance or regular use;
- When an individual in a rush has managed to snap the key in half under physical pressure.
4 Easy Ways to Remove a Broken Key from a Lock
If a large section of the key is sticking out it will be easier to remove it. Try to get a firm grip with two fingers and slide the key straight out. Be careful not to cut your fingers on the sides of the key where it has broken off.
If only a small portion is sticking out you can try using a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers to gently remove the key, being careful not to snap it off with the remainder of the key left inside the lock.
If there is no visible portion of the key protruding from the lock you can use a small flathead screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the lock and attempt to pry the key out. Be careful as this can sometimes cause more damage to the lock cylinder and the interior of the lock chamber.
How to Prevent Broken Keys
- Examine your keys and if any are damaged or old keys they should be replaced to prevent them from being broken off inside a lock. Discard any bent keys or problematic ones that have given you trouble when trying to open a lock.
- Keep at least one spare lock mechanism in stock as a replacement.
- Maintain your locks regularly by spraying a silicone-based lubricant into the keyholes at least once every six months.
- As soon as you notice any grinding, friction, or sticking when attempting to turn a key immediately apply some silicone or oil-based to the lock lubricant until the problem is resolved.
Locksmiths deal with broken keys on a daily basis. If a key has irretrievably broken off inside a lock you may need a replacement lock and key. Whether you need to replace the keys in your home or you need repairs, lock installations, or rekeying of deadbolts and locks, our team of expert locksmiths at Casey Locks is available 24/7 to attend to any emergency or routine lock services.
Please call us today on 0416 161 332 or contact us through our enquiry form.