Your Key Is stuck In A Lock. Now What?
A broken key in a lock can be one of the most frustrating and inconvenient things you may encounter; and knowing what to do in such a case is invaluable.
There are several instances where your key can snap, but obviously the most common are:
- In your car’s ignition
- In a door lock at home or at your office
When your key breaks off in your car’s ignition or in your front door lock, it usually happens at the most inconvenient time possible. Not only do you need to get the broken piece of the key that is stuck in the lock out, but, if you do so successfully, you also have to get a spare key to drive your car or lock your door.
If you are lucky enough to have access to some tools, then there are a few things that you can try to get the key out. Broken key extraction is a difficult operation that might not be successful without professional help, but it is still worth a try.
What Tools You Will Need For A Broken Key Extraction
- A pair of bottle nosed pliers or a pair of tweezers
- A small flash light
- Lots of patience
Extracting a Broken Key From A Car’s Ignition
Using the pair of bottle nosed pliers or tweezers, you are now ready to try to get the broken piece of the key out of your ignition. It will help if you can see the end of the key, but even if you cannot, you can still attempt to extract it.
Use the flash light for added visibility and then insert the pliers or tweezers and feel around for the end of the key; once you have a hold of it, you can gently pull it out. This can be a frustrating task and can take some time, but it can be done. You will sometimes get hold of the key only for it to slip from the pliers. You have to be patient and keep trying.
In some instances the key breaks off so far down that the wafers and pins of the lock close behind it. In this case you have to pull the pins out of the way to reach the end of the key to pull it out.
It has been claimed, and it is tempting, that you put some superglue on the end of the tweezers (they will be useless after this) and let it bond to the broken end of the key. The risks, however, of getting superglue on a part of the ignition switch is too great, and if this happens it can ruin the ignition switch completely. This is definitely not recommended because you can ruin your ignition switch and replacing it can cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars; turning a simple broken key extraction into an ignition switch replacement and a very expensive mistake.
Extracting a Broken Key From a Door Lock
Getting a broken key out of a door lock is very similar to the one described above. Fortunately, door locks are easier to access and there is higher visibility and maneuverability. Again, be careful, because if you are careless you can damage your lock and will now need to replace the lock instead of just needing a new key.
Ultimately, a broken key can be a minor or a major inconvenience depending on how you deal with. If you are in any doubt about removing a broken key then you would be well advised to call in the professionals. Your local Locksmith in Jacksonville is a broken key extraction specialist and will sort out your problem quickly and with no damage to your property; and he will even be able to provide you with a spare key if you need one!