Fix a broken key in the lock

Edited by Maria

Well, great...the key just broke off in the lock of the new camper top for the new truck....jpg

The key breaks in the lock of the door - now what? Read on to see how to open the door anyway and what to do next.If a broken key got stuck in a door knob, you may think of a locksmith immediately, but could save money if you try it on your own.

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Steps

  1. 1
    First, do not panic!
    Your lock can be opened without damage. Enter the rest of the key in the lock, exerting pressure for the two pieces of key touch. Turn gently to open by maintaining the pressure, without forcing. If your door is not completely closed, so that it does not force the lock, push the door slightly with your knee or shoulder.
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  2. 2
    Once you have opened the door, use a strong magnet to draw the piece of broken key out enough to grab it with tweezers or needle nose pliers.
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  3. 3
    If the magnet does not work and not enough of the key is showing, use a tiny watch screwdriver to pry the key out enough to grab it with tweezers.
    Be gentle to avoid damaging the lock.
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  4. 4
    Take the spare key to a key cutter and get it duplicated.
    If you do not have a spare key you can bring the broken piece and most key cutters can make a new key from that piece, unless it is too badly damaged.
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  5. 5
    If you cannot get a new key cut, call a locksmith to re-key the lock.
    He will provide you with two new keys but this option is much more expensive.
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  6. 6
    Alternatively, if it is a lock for the door of your house you can go to your local home depot and buy a new lock and install it.
    It's pretty easy and most people can do it themselves. This route is likely cheaper than the locksmith.
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How to Remove Broken Key from a Door Lock

Equipment:

  • Selection of drill bits (one ¼" drill bit minimum)
  • Electric drill
  • A selection of straight blade screwdrivers

Process

  1. 1
    If the key is broken while being inserted in the lock, you can operate the lock.
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  2. 2
    If there is a portion on the key that is still protruding from the lock, what you can do is to remove or twist the key using pliers.
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  3. 3
    The pliers method needs pulling or pressing on the door knob by the other hand so there is a little pressure to the lock's bolt.
    Notice if the bolt is free from pressure while you turn the pliers and unlock or open the door.
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  4. 4
    If there is a remaining key left, pull the broken key.
    When the key is snapped between the unlock and lock position, it requires to be twisted to any position before it can be withdrawn.
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  5. 5
    When there is not protruding key left in the lock, use a blade screwdriver or any blade small enough to put little pressure in the keyhole.
    Pull or press the door knob with one hand so that there a little pressure on the bolt. Twist the screwdriver to operate the lock in a same way as if the key was attached to the end of the blade, this is to unlock or open.
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  6. 6
    As the door knob is unlocked, open the door then twist the screw driver in any directions.
    Make sure that you can unlock or lock it using a screw driver.
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  7. 7
    If you are in a hurry, lock the door using a screwdriver then leave.
    This will make the key not apparent that it is in the lock, and attend to it later. When you have available time, lock mechanism will need removal or / and disassembly enable to remove the broken key. A hardware shop must be able to make a new key or a part of it.
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  8. 8
    When the key is broken while it is inserted, push the other part of the key into the lock, this should make unlock and lock operation of the lock.
    Lock mechanism will need removal or disassembly to remove the broken key. A hardware shop should be able to make you a new key or parts to set the entry operable.
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  9. 9
    If the above mentioned techniques does not work, you may unlock the door knob using drilling or locksmith.
    Drilling is affordable but most damaging. Drilling too far may make the lock set unserviceable. Locksmith so less damage but will cost much.
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  10. 10
    Drilling will be in the depth of equal to the left part of key that is inserted in the working lock.
    Select a drill bit to remove the metal from the lock cylinder. Lock cylinder is the part of the lock that turns with the key. Usually, most home locks are drilled with a ¼" drill bit.
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  11. 11
    If the bulk of the cylinder metal is removed, pry the remaining metal of the pins and cylinder so that the operation will twist to unlock.
    Remove the lock set and show it to the hardware store to get new key or lock cylinder.
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  12. 12
    Begin with drilling ¼" bit, since you may not keep the drill at the center of the cylinder.
    Then gradually adjust to 1/4" bit to distinguish how big a bit can be used without destroying the lock-set.
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  13. 13
    Drilling too deep may damage the lock-set.
    Drill only to a deep that a working key could go.
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  14. 14
    Using too big a drill bit may damage the lock-set.
    Drill only the cylinder.
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How to Remove a Broken Key on a Car Lock

Equipment:

  • Lock lubricant
  • Key removal tool

Process

  1. 1
    A broken key may not only be unusable key but also unusable lock.
    If a key is broken in the car lock, the key becomes lodged in the lock action. When the lock is locked as the key was broken, it cannot be reopened. So the way to remove broken key is to:
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  2. 2
    Remove the head of the key.
    When the head of the key was not entirely broken, pull it back and forth until it gets apart from the body of the key. Key head is unusable.
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  3. 3
    Align the lock to perform removal of key.
    When the lock is rotated into position between the operate positions and key insertion, use a small stiff object or you thumb to rotate the lock to the insert position.
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  4. 4
    Clear the car lock area.
    Remove all paper, cloth or loose debris along the area.
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  5. 5
    Lubricate the lock.
    Use powder lock lubricant or spray dispensing liquid. Use enough amount of spray to lubricate all angles of the key.
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  6. 6
    Have a lock removal tool.
    It can be bought at automobile parts or hardware shops. If the tool is not available, you may use a homemade substitute.
    • Select a tool that is adequately narrow to slip into the lock key way. That is the straight opening in the lock that extends from the key opening. The tool should have one or more hooks at the end to be inserted to the lock.
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  7. 7
    Select a tool that has hooks or pointed hook.
    The hooks should extend towards the key so to engage them to the key teeth. The hooks must be angled back towards the outer lock opening so that it can be used to pull back the key without slipping off from the key teeth.
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  8. 8
    Put the key removal tool.
    Lightly insert the tool into the way of the lock key. Twist the hooks and hook sideways while the tool is inserted so that they could not catch on the teeth of the key while on insertion. Lightly jiggle the tool as needed to make a complete insertion of the tool.
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  9. 9
    Place the key removal tool.
    Twist the tool so that the hooks and hook are facing towards the key. Gently and slowly pull the tool back, jiggling the tool as necessary to involve 1 or more of the key's teeth.
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  10. 10
    Pull the key removal tool smoothly and slowly.
    When the key does not start to come out along with the tool, the hooks or hook did not get the teeth. If this occur, reinsert the tool and make a second attempt to operate the key removal tool.
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  11. 11
    Remove the key.
    When a good proportion of the key was released out from the lock, grabbed it using a fine pliers or your fingers. Pull the key removal tool and key out together. The broken key is unusable.
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How to Remove Broken Key from a Door Lock

Equipment:

  • Screwdriver (optional)
  • Penetrating oil
  • Jig saw or scroll saw blade
  • Needle-nosed pliers

Process

  1. 1
    Spray penetrating oil into a keyhole to make the works loosen up.
    This is specifically useful if the lock has been hard to operate recently.
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  2. 2
    Check on how much part of the key was broken.
    When the key is broken at the middle and the portion you are holding involves key cuts, the lock may still be aligned to let the key pass in and out. When the part that you are holding only has the head of the key and nothing from the cuts, you may have twisted the part of the key before it is broken. Put a screwdriver into the lock, then twist it back to its original vertical position.
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  3. 3
    Place the tip of the pair of needle-nosed pliers into the keyhole.
    Hold the broken key and pull it out. This method may work when the head of the key is broken and the cuts are inside of the lock. If you cannot pull out the key, remove the pliers and set aside.
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  4. 4
    Move the blade of the jig saw or scroll saw into the keyhole, and the teeth facing downward.
    Push it until you sense that the teeth of the blade got one of the cuts on the key. Pull out the saw blade from the keyhole. It must get out along with the broken key.
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Tips

  • If the key was grabbed using a fine pliers or by the fingers, make sure to pull out the key straight. Any side pressure will make the key resistant from being withdrawn and may cause a key breakage again.
  • If you do not have the tools needed because they are inside, search where the key has snapped. If only half of the key is stuck in the lock, no one will be able to grab the lock while you look for your tools. When the key cuts are in the lock, anyone can twist it using a screwdriver. Let someone watch out for the key as you gather your tools.
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Questions and Answers

How to remove a broken key with a magnet?

If your key is made of iron or another metal capable to be magnetized, then you can try using a magnet. It won't work if it's made of brass or bronze.

Equipment

  • Magnet
  • Paper clip

Process

  • Check to see if you key is attracted to a magnet. Keys that are made mostly of iron, nickel, cobalt can be magnetized.
  • If your key is attracted to magnet. Although some of our tools are magnetized, such as drill bits it is much more suitable to find a stronger magnet to work with.
  • Straighten the paper clip enough to insert the clip from the lock.
  • Hold the magnet and place it against the paper clip.
  • Try to insert the paper clip and see if the clip can contact and pull out the broken key.
  • If the paper clip doesn't have enough power to pull out the key's broken pieces, try to leave the key's remaining part in with the magnet to add enough magnetizing power on the key.
  • Insert the remaining part of the key and see if you can pull the rest of the key's broken pieces out of the lock with it.

Note

Some broken parts will be lodged too tight to be pulled by the magnet. Try another option if this won't work.

Can I put back the two pieces of key back together?

Hi, I tried to open my office door but my key got stuck as I tried to open it with force, the key got bent so I tried to straighten it but instead it got broken. so please I want to know if there is anything that I can use to put it back together. Thank you.

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Broken key stuck in metal gate?

I have an iron gate on my balcony and the key wasn't opening it due to rusting, I forced it and the key wouldn't come out anymore. Now the key got broken so I got part of it stuck in there and I have no idea of how to get that piece of stuck metal out

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Key has broken off in internal garage door. Head broke off key but can't unlock it as it is stiff?

How do I get it unlocked? I have tried using pliers but no use.

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I have an antique upright steamer trunk. The key broke off in the lock?

I have an antique upright steamer trunk. The key broke off in the lock. I have tried to pry it out but could not get enough out to grab it with tweezers. It fits pretty tight. The back of the lock is soldered and I don't really want to break the joints.. I have tried: Prying it out with a variety of very tiny pointy tools like a large safety pin. Grabbing whatever part I can with tweezers.. I think it was caused by: I left the key in while I was moving the trunk and it was broken in the move.

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How to remove the broken key in lock (file cabinet)?

How to remove the broken key from lock?. I have tried: Using paperclip

There are small needle pliers in hardware stores. You can also use WD-40 or any other machine oil dispenser to ease the movement of the key. Spray some of the oil into the lock and pull the key with the pliers. If the key part is too deep, then a small scroll saw blade for metal cutting will help to move the key a bit. Insert the scroll saw blade with the teeth pointing towards the key not to damage the lock and pull the key towards you.

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There is a key in my lock, and also apparently my problem is not long enough?

There is a key in my lock, and also apparently my problem is not long enough?. I have tried: Trying to get it out. I think it was caused by: The key broke off

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I was trying to pick a lock with a paper clip but now its stuck inside?

I was trying to pick a lock with a paper clip but now its stuck inside. help. I have tried: Pulling it out but it didn't work. I think it was caused by: I put the clip in and now its stuck

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