How to Extract Broken Keys from a Lock: A Complete Guide

As frustrating as it may be, a broken key stuck in a lock is a common occurrence that can happen to anyone. In this article, we’ll go over step-by-step instructions on how to extract a broken key from a lock without causing further damage. We’ll also cover some preventive measures to help you avoid this situation in the future.

Understanding How Keys Break

Before we dive into the extraction process, it’s important to understand why keys break in the first place. We’ll cover some common causes of broken keys and how to avoid them in the future.

Common Causes of Broken Keys

  • Worn-out keys
  • Improper key usage
  • Rust and debris buildup in locks
  • Physical damage to the key or lock
  • Preventive Measures
  • Use a quality key
  • Use the correct key for the lock
  • Lubricate your locks regularly
  • Keep your keys and locks clean
  • Tools You’ll Need

To extract a broken key from a lock, you’ll need some tools that can help you complete the task efficiently. Here are some of the essential tools you’ll need:

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Lubricant spray
  • A thin, sturdy wire
  • Tweezers or a small screwdriver
  • Super glue (optional)

The Extraction Process

Now that you have your tools ready, it’s time to start the extraction process. Here are some step-by-step instructions to help you remove the broken key from the lock:

Step 1: Lubricate the Lock

Spray some lubricant into the lock to help loosen up any debris or rust buildup that may be preventing the key from turning.

Step 2: Use Needle-nose Pliers

Using the needle-nose pliers, gently grip onto the broken key and pull it out. Be careful not to apply too much force as this can cause the key to break further or damage the lock.

Step 3: Use a Thin Wire

If the needle-nose pliers aren’t successful, try using a thin wire. Straighten the wire and insert it into the lock next to the key. Move the wire around gently until you feel the broken piece of the key. Then, pull the wire out slowly, bringing the broken piece along with it.

Step 4: Use Tweezers or a Small Screwdriver

If the wire method doesn’t work, try using tweezers or a small screwdriver to pull out the broken key piece. Again, be gentle to avoid further damage to the lock.

Step 5: Use Super Glue (Optional)

If the broken key is too far inside the lock, you can use super glue to remove it. Apply a small amount of glue to the end of a thin object (such as a toothpick), insert it into the lock, and wait for the glue to dry. Then, slowly pull out the broken key piece.


Extracting a broken key from a lock may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done without causing further damage. Remember to always use high-quality keys, lubricate your locks regularly, and avoid using excessive force when turning the key.

Frequently Asked Questions About Extracting a Broken Key From a Lock

While WD-40 can help lubricate your lock, it’s not recommended as it can attract more debris and dirt, causing further damage to the lock.

Can I use any type of wire to extract the broken key?</h3

It’s best to use a thin, sturdy wire such as a paperclip or a hairpin. Avoid using flimsy wires as they can break inside the lock

If you’ve tried all the methods mentioned above and the key is still stuck, it’s best to call a professional locksmith. They have the expertise and tools to extract the broken key without damaging the lock.

Yes, the same extraction methods can be used to extract a broken key from a car ignition. However, if the key is broken inside the ignition, it’s best to call a professional automotive locksmith.

How can I prevent keys from breaking in the future?</h3

To prevent keys from breaking, it’s important to use high-quality keys and lubricate your locks regularly. Avoid using excessive force when turning the key, and make sure to keep your keys and locks clean. If you notice any signs of wear or damage to your keys or locks, have them replaced or repaired as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. The methods and techniques mentioned may not be suitable for all situations, and we strongly advise readers to do their own research and consult with a professional locksmith before attempting to extract a broken key from a lock. We are not liable for any damages or losses that may occur as a result of using the information provided in this article.

Free No Obligation Quote

By phone or email


    Related Post

    skeleton key
    DIY Locksmith
    Skeleton Key Semantics

    “Keys have certainly been updated, but these keys will never be outdated.” -LPI   There are two types of keys

    Read More »