It happens all too often, someone tries to unlock a door, only to be left with part of the key in their hand. Once a key breaks off in a lock, there is not much you can do to get into a room or your home until you remove the broken part.
Let’s start by looking at why keys tend to break off to begin with.
Why a Key Breaks Off
Here are some of the reasons why keys break off in locks:
- Wear and tear have set in and the key is old
- The key snapped due to physical pressure
- A lack of maintenance has caused the lock to malfunction
What to Do When a Key Breaks
If the key broke off while the door was unlocked, it’s important to act quickly to reduce the risk of theft. Even if the door was locked when the key broke off, it is still important to sort the issue out sooner rather than later. Particularly if you can no longer access your home or vehicle.
While you could attempt to remove the broken key yourself, contacting a certified locksmith is always a better option. With the right tools and know-how, a locksmith can prevent further damage to your lock.
If for any reason you cannot get hold of a locksmith in your area, here are some tips that might help you get the key out.
If the key is sticking out…
If a part of the broken key is sticking out of the lock, you have a much better chance of getting it out yourself.
Naturally, the first step would be to attempt to remove it with your fingertips. If that doesn’t work, grab some needle nose pliers and try and remove it with those. If you can’t get into your home, finding pliers might be tricky.
Keep in mind that using pliers could result in further damage to the lock. Or, you could end up pushing the key deeper into the lock.
If the key is stuck inside…
If no part of the broken key is sticking out, the chances that you can remove it yourself is slim. The only way that you could potentially remove the key is by using a flathead screwdriver to maneuver the key out. Unfortunately, this almost always results in lock damage.
The cost and time associated with replacing a broken lock makes contacting a professional locksmith well worth it.
Preventing Broken Locks in the Future
To avoid having to deal with a broken key, there are a few preventative measures you can take.
- Lubricate your locks regularly. Maintaining a lock is as easy as lubricating it on a regular basis. Apply a silicone-based lubricant to the keyhole every 6 months to prevent unnecessary friction when locking and unlocking the doors.
- Know when to get rid of a key. As soon as you notice your key is starting to wear, throw the old key away and use the replacement. Just make sure that you replace the spare key in case of emergencies.
- Watch out for ice. Keys can break off in vehicle locks too. If you live in a state where the winters are severe, de-ice your vehicle door locks before you use them.
Always have the contact number of an emergency locksmith on hand in the event that you ever experience a broken key or any other lock and key-related issues. Quickly Locksmith is available 24/7.