There is nothing worse than getting home from work, the shops or a night out and finding yourself locked out. If the cause is a broken key stuck in your front door lock, you will probably feel helpless – not to mention frustrated.
If you don’t know what you are doing, removing a broken key from a lock can be a tricky, stressful business. That is why we have prepared this handy guide – so you know exactly what to do when the unthinkable happens.
Key snapped in door? Broken key stuck in lock?
Take a deep breath and use the tips below to work out exactly what has happened and the best way to remove a key stuck in a door.
Top tip: never push the unbroken part of a key back into the lock. This will only ram the broken end further into the locking mechanism. Put the part of the key you still hold to one side and forget about it.
Tools to remove a key when it is stuck in a lock
Every-day items can be used to remove a key stuck in a door. However, the effectiveness of each item will depend on the location of the broken part of the key.
The following could come in handy: lubricant, metal hair clip, tweezers, paper clip, safety pin, pliers, or a Swiss army knife (not recommended).
Before attempting to remove a key snapped in a lock, apply a lubricant. While WD40 can be used, most locksmiths recommend a graphite spray because it will not clog the inside of the lock.
If you don’t have any of these tools to hand, call a locksmith. It will be much quicker. You will be back indoors in no time at all, and you will have a new lock and key.
Fixing a snapped key in door
If you can see the broken-off part of the key and have applied lubricant to the lock, try using a pair of tweezers to gently pull the piece of metal out. If tweezers are too big for the job, try a metal hair pin, safety pin or paper clip. It is important to take things slowly. Rushing could force the snapped part of the key further into the lock.
When attempting to remove a broken key from a door lock, try to stay calm and keep your hands steady. One false move and you could lose any chance you had of recovering the broken part of the key.
Other ways to remove a key broken in lock
If you have access to a shed or can gain entry to your home via a window or other door, find some super glue. Carefully applied to the tip of a matchstick or similar item, it can be bonded to the broken part of the key and used as a handle. Be aware, excess glue can leave a matchstick stuck in the lock.
The best way of removing a broken key from a lock is to use a special type of key extractor tool. If you don’t have one of these, a locksmith will.
Professional locksmiths deal with keys broken in locks all the time. They offer the least stressful and often the quickest solution.