Don’t Panic! Here’s How You Can Deal With The Broken Keys

You come back home late at night after a long and tiring day at work. All you really want to do now is go to bed. But the universe has other plans for you…

As soon as you turn the key in your door lock, it breaks and you’re left standing there, just staring at what just happened.

It is quite natural to panic. Your first impulse would usually be to grab a pair of pliers from the car to pull out the broken key or just try to poke it out. Know that you could do more harm than good!

There are multiple solutions at your disposal but they all depend on your situation. Before we take a look at these solutions, let’s first unravel the mysterious reasons behind this untimely problem:

Why Did The Key Break?

Majority of the door keys are made of nickel silver. This material is quite sturdy however; even the strongest material can wear down after some time and break.

The chances of breakage are higher when the key has been through endless number of rotations in the lock. This is because the force you apply— called Torque— varies everytime.

However, it is not just old keys that can break down. Sometimes newer keys can also break when you apply excessive amounts of force. There are times when people do not insert the key properly in the lock and try to turn it any way.

They exert additional pressure on the key when the door does not open. This can easily result in the key breaking.

There are many people who turn to locksmiths in order to get their broken house keys fixed. A common problem that they face is that the key snaps in the lock.

However, repairing the key in such cases might not be the most effective tactic because there is always a possibility that the key will break again in the same place after it has been used a couple of times.

Keeping this in mind, here is a look at some of the ways in which you can fix the problem with your key:

Avoid Using The Key Again In The Future

Some people assume that even if the key is broken, you can still use it to open the door by inserting a part of the key. That’s a big NO.

What many people do not realize is that when they insert the key again in the lock, they push the blade further inside the lock.

With repeated use, it will become a lot harder for you to open the door. In addition to that, you might also end up damaging the door lock and might need to get replaced after some time.

In order to prevent your lock from getting damaged, it is preferable that you instead take the broken key parts to a locksmith and have a spare made.

If you don’t have a reliable locksmith by your side, here’re a few ways to quickly extract the key.


It is entirely up to you if you want to opt for lubrication or not. It certainly makes extraction easier.

Start with applying the lubricant on the key way. It is preferable that you use a dry lubricant since oil based lubricants find their way to the internal components of the lock and damage them.

On the other hand, the only problem that you might face with spray-based lubricants is that they might stain the locks. You can avoid this problem by making sure that the nozzle is in line with the keyway when you spray.

Materials That You Can Use

Some of the materials that you can use to extract the broken key include:

  • Safety pins
  • Metal hair clip
  • First aid kit

In addition to that, some of the items that you can use include:


One of the major obstacles that you are likely to face when using tweezers is the thickness of the tongs. Of course, you’re pretty lucky if you have the right pair at your disposal.

Make sure that the tweezers you use are wide enough so that they fit around the lock but they are not so thick that they do not fit the side of the keys.

Ideally, you should use tweezers when a part of the key is protruding from the lock. If the key is too far inside the lock, it is best that you avoid using tweezers.

Key Extractor

Another tool that you can use in order to extract the key from the lock is a key extractor. Majority of the locksmiths use this tool. In order to use it, you need to place it in the keyway. The hooks of the extractor will be attached to the hooks in the key way.

Once the tool has been inserted in the keyway, it is turned. You will need to pull the tool while turning it in order to extract the key. The process can be time consuming since you will need to repeat it multiple times before you can extract the key.

Jigsaw Blade

People who do not want to buy a key extractor can instead rely on this method. A jigsaw blade is actually a small metallic piece that is inserted in the keyway. You hold onto one end of the blade and turn it in the lock in order to extract the key.

You will need to line up the serrations on the blade and make sure that they bite into the key. Just repeat the process in case you are not able to extract the key from the lock.

Tap The Cylinder

You will need to make sure that the keyway is pointing downwards if you want to tap the cylinder. While the lock is in that particular position, strike it using a hammer. There are some locksmiths who would suggest that you strike the side of the cylinder.

The trick is to make sure that the lock stays still throughout the process. However, you need to be careful with this method since even the slightest problem can result in excessive damage to the internal components of the lock.

Probing The Keyway

This method involves using two thin pieces of metal in order to probe the keyway. The process involves lining up the pieces of metal on both sides of the key and applying pressure. While doing so you slowly pull the key towards you.

You will need to repeat the process multiple times in order to move the key bit by bit. In addition to pulling out the key, you also have the option of prying it out.

Unforunately, all these methods are too complicated if you don’t have specific locksmith experience. Don’t fret! We offer emergency locksmith services just so we can help our customers out of such situations.

Get in touch with us. We offer residential and commercial locksmith in New York City. We have over 22 years of experience in this field. We also offer car locksmith services. You can contact us at 917-472-1252.

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