12 Ways To Get A Broken Key Out Of A Lock
Whether it’s undue stress on the key, a sticky lock, or bad luck, sometimes your key breaks off inside the lock. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get that key back out, each ranging in difficulty.
An easy and reliable way to remove a piece of a broken key from a lock is to grab a pair of tweezers and carefully pull everything out. Try not to push the key further inside, or extraction will be more difficult.
If your lock can be turned to face the ground, you can try to use the power of gravity and kinetic energy to tap it out. Strike the lock several times until you hear the broken end of the key fall out.
Unravel the paperclip and try to push one end into the teeth of the broken key. Lever it outward from there. If that doesn’t work, use two paper clips like a tweezer to pull what you can out of the keyway.
A solid, sharp knife can be used similarly to the paper clip, as long as the end is small enough to fit in the keyway or the key is sticking out far enough for the knife to grab it. If it’s sharp enough, you might be able to skewer the side of the key as you pull it out.
5. Fishing hook
Fishing hooks tend to be less common than paper clips, but if you have one on you, it can make a solid alternative. Use pliers to bend the hook and see if you can fit it in the keyway.
6. Saw blade
A small saw blade, like a mini hacksaw or jigsaw blade, can hook onto the teeth of the broken key and help you pull it out. You might have one sitting in a toolbox or pumpkin carving kit somewhere.
One type of broken key extractor is screw-shaped. Under the right circumstances, you can use an actual screw. If the key is close to the entrance of the keyway and you have a thin screw, you can press it against the key and rotate it to help extract it.
Glue is a very risky way to extract a key, and you must ensure you don’t get any of it stuck inside the keyway. You can try attaching a small amount of superglue to the end of a paperclip or pressing a soft hot glue stick to the end of the lock and hoping it sticks to the key.
9. Broken key extractor
If all else fails, you can get a broken key extraction kit to remove the broken key. These come with hook key extractors and spiral key extractors, and both are good at removing broken keys from locks.
10. Lock dismantling
If worse comes to worst, you can take the entire lock apart. If the door is unlocked, you may be able to remove the cylinder and push the broken key piece out of the back, but the exact method of dismantling depends on the lock type.