Every so often, you might find yourself in an unlucky situation: you put your key in your deadbolt to come home from a long day’s work and your key breaks off right in your lock. Why do keys break in locks?
There are a few issues that can cause this problem.
- Standard keys are made of relatively soft metals, like brass and nickel.
- The key has been damaged by wear and tear over time.
- The lock itself is not adequately lubricated or has jammed.
What to Do After a Key Breaks in the Lock
No matter the circumstances behind the broken key inside the lock – whether it’s a house lock, business lock, or car lock – it should be addressed immediately.
- The broken key can actually cause damage to the lock.
- If the key broke inside lock before the door was shut, you’ll be unable to lock the door, thereby leaving your home, car, or office at a greater risk of theft.
- If the key broke off in lock after you’ve closed the door, you may be unable to reopen the door until the issue is resolved.
How Do You Get a Broken Key out of a Lock?
If a key has busted off inside of the lock and you notice that a portion of it is sticking out of the lock, you should consider yourself lucky. If this is the situation, you may be able to extract the piece of key remaining in the lock by simply pinching it between your fingers and pulling it out.
If you can’t get ahold of the piece remaining inside the keyhole, it’s time to grab your toolbox.
Tools for Removing Broken Keys from Locks
If there’s only a small amount of key sticking out, the job will be more challenging. You can try extracting it using a pair of needle nose pliers or a strong magnet that can pull out the remaining piece.
If you have to poke and prod and can’t quickly grab the key, you may be doing more harm than good. You risk pushing the broken piece further into the lock, causing damage. So, we actually advise against this – proceed with caution!
When Part of the Key Isn’t Sticking Out of the Lock
If no part of the key is sticking out of the lock, the chances of you being able to remove it yourself are slim – especially if you don’t want to damage the lock in the process.
It may be possible to use a flathead screwdriver small enough to fit into the keyhole. By inserting it in the lock, you can try to lever or loosen the positioning of the key until part of it extrudes from the lock. At that point, you should be able to extract the broken piece with needle nose pliers or a strong magnet.
Again, it’s possible to cause further lock damage by forcing tools into the lock. It may be better to call in the help of a professional locksmith.
How to Prevent Broken Keys
There are a few things that you can do to prevent a key breaking off inside of a lock from occurring in the first place.
Often, keys snap inside of locks because the lock hasn’t received proper maintenance. A silicone- based lubricant should be sprayed into the keyhole about every six months, or whenever you notice grinding or excess friction when locking the door.
Keys are subject to a lot of abuse and are used very frequently. So, if you notice that your keys are starting to wear, it’s time to have a copy made and toss out the old one.
Time to Call a Locksmith?
Whether you need a replacement key or you need to change your locks, be sure to visit A1 Lock and Safe to see how we can help you protect your home. Notably, we sell safes where you can store firearms and your most prized possessions in the event that you are robbed. Thankfully, A1 Lock and Safe specializes in changing locks, making duplicate keys, and more for your safety. If you so much as suspect that someone could break into your home or office because your locks are faulty, let our Durham locksmiths know and we will replace your keys and locks for an affordable price.