How to Get a Broken Key out of the Door Lock

July 05 / 2020

How to Get a Broken Key out of the Door

Placing a correct key into a lock should be a simple way to open a door. While this is usually the case, there are times when keys get stuck or break during insertion or while being turned. This can be a disaster for a business or a home, as it means you are locked out.
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to open your front door, and a broken or stuck key will prohibit entry to your property, even if you have the spare key. Why do keys break or get stuck? This sometimes happens from using an old key, not inserting it correctly, placing the wrong key in a lock, or due an old door lock.
While contacting an experienced professional locksmith like Colorado Springs Locksmith is the fastest and more comfortable way to get immediate help, if a broken or stuck key happens to you (or even if it hasn't happened yet) these are the steps you can take.

Apply Lubricant 

First, apply a lubricant to the key-lock or keyway. While this is not a mandatory, a lubricant will increase your success in removing the broken or stuck key. An oil-based lubricant such as WD-40 is a good standby, but a better option is a graphite spray lubricant. Graphite lubricants won't further block the inside of the keyhole or lock. 
However, graphite's drawback is that it can stain. You will need to very precise in your application. 
Accurately line the nozzle of your choice lubricant alongside the keyhole, and have a rag or paper towel nearby to wipe up any spills. 

Hands-On Approach

This tried, and true technique requires using physical strength and power. It works best if the key is jammed inside part of the lock but not completely broken. Using one hand, hold the door or handle and begin to firmly juggle the exposed portion of the key with the opposite side. Take note how deeply the key is inserted.
If the key is stuck inside too deep, it may not be removable by this method. Repeating the technique several times will help, but only if you feel the key loosen or move out of the lock a little more each time. If the key feels in danger of breaking, stop immediately. 


If physical strength weren't enough to remove the broken key, you would need incorporate the use of tools. Popular tools include needle nose pliers, metal hair clip, paper clips, tweezers, body pins, safety pin, a Swiss army knife, or button pins. Pliers are the best choice to help with grip as you remove the exposed keys more easily. 
While a significant portion of the extended key is the simplest to remove, if you see any visible part of the key, use pliers on the piece. While you must have the better to bobby or safety pins, those everyday home items are unlikely to give you the grip the needed to remove the key. Using tweezers is another option, but a key jammed tightly into a keyhole means that it is difficult for most tweezers to grab around the key, due to space constraints.

Other Methods 

Other methods is that people with broken keys sometimes use to include tapping the lock with a hammer or using superglue. While you might find mention of these methods online, neither is idea.


Superglue is rarely strong enough to assist you in removing the broken or stuck key. Using a hammer to strike the side of the lock, as you remove the key, often dents or damages the lock, which then needs replacing at additional expense. 
Whether you were able to withdraw your key or needed the help of a local locksmith, make sure that you no longer use the broken key. Once a key or lock stops working, it is time to replace it. Colorado Springs Locksmith can explain why the key was jammed and give you insight on what remedy is needed.

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