How to Remove a Broken Key from a Lock?

How to remove a broken key from a lock – the description of three ways how to solve this problem and the last resorts, which you should go to, if nothing helps.


Opening a door to your apartment or garage you might get in a situation, when one part of the key stays in the lock, while the other one appears in your hands.

Usually in such situations you are in a hurry, hoping to call in a house or garage to take a thing and run away, but one wrong movement and you realize there is no sense running anymore.

When you break a key inside a lock the important thing is to avoid panic and doing stupid things, lest you made the situation even worse.

You must not push the part you’ve got in your hand in the lock, pushing the remaining piece still further.

You’d better use the advice given by professionals on how to remove a broken key from a lock, which we gathered in this article.

Why can a key break inside the lock?

Before you learn all advice on how to remove a key from the lock, firstly define why it can be broken.

Reasons why a key may break inside a lock:

  • Poor quality of the material, out of which they were manufactured.

    Keys manufactured from the unclear material can easily bend by a light push of a thumb.

    There is no wonder the part of such opener sooner or later will get stuck in a lock and create hardships for its owner.

  • The worn out mechanism of a lock.

    It’s the most widespread reason why a key is broken – this is a gradual breaking of the secret part of a locking device.

    Naturally its “organs” are gradually worn out, and some dust or mud gets there.

    Every time you have to apply still bigger efforts to open the door.

    When you avoid cleaning the device, pushing it with strength will lead to its breaking in a “wonderful” and least expected moment.

  • Human factor is also considered to be a reason why the breaking often takes place.

    Perhaps, we should not tell you the details of what a person is capable of, though being not silly from nature.

    An eclipse happens and here you are – face the results.

    How can one logically explain the attempts to open a door by the key, which is only partially in a lock?

Sparing 4 methods of how to remove a broken key from a lock

The least threat which prevents you from coming in a house is the situation, when a key is whole, but simply stuck in a door.

In order to get it out you simply need to clear the dust.

To do it you need to grease a lock with one of the following products:

  • WD-40;
  • motor oil;
  • solid oil;
  • liquid silicone.

If there are no other options, you might use usual oil and pour it there.

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In order to do it you need to know how to perform the following actions:

  • It’s very comfortable to do it using pressure gun.
  • You have to wash literally the heart of a lock.
  • When it is simply stuck, you cannot do sharp movements but carefully turn it with slow and loose movements removing a key.

Sometimes a mechanism is blocked by the broken details inside a lock.

In this case you need to bring up a broken detail with the help of a pin or hairpin and to take a key out.

However, how can you remove the part of a key in such case?

In order to do it successfully you should use the following methods.

Ways how to remove a broken key from a lock:

  • Oil has the same principle as in the case with a whole key.

    To grab it you may use a pincer or pliers, if the part, which is sticking out, allows catching it.

  • Fret saw is considered to be the most efficient and popular method.

    You do not require the whole instrument, but only its cutting part.

    The blade is pushed in the heart of a lock under the key and carefully turned, so that the teeth appeared at the top.

    This way you should take up the part of a key and contacting with the teeth get it out.

  • Self-tapping screw is an option which will suit only thick parts of keys.

    By means of a drill you make a hole in the broken place and put there a self-tapping screw.

    Then you need to catch it by the pliers and remove together with the broken detail.

  • Vibrations.

    Firstly, you should attentively apply grease to the pins and move them together with a key in one position.

    Then, from a different side you hit a lock by a hammer and under the influence of the vibrations a key should be pulled out a little.

    Then you’ll have to catch it and remove by means of pliers.

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Method how to remove a broken key form a lock

If you managed to try everything described earlier, but still do not know how to remove a broken key form a lock, perhaps, you’ll have to dismantle the mechanism itself in order to get into your apartment.

The ways of removing the locks are different for different types and it’s much easier to cope with the cylinder types.

Let’s see how to remove the key together with a lock from the doors:

  • Knock out a cylinder.

    In order to do it you need to take off from the other side the protector, if there is one, eliminate the screws and knock at the cylinder, which sticks out, by a hammer.

  • Catch the heart of a lock.

    You may learn how to use an awl, thin screwdriver, pin or other instruments at hand.

    An instrument is pushed into a lock and then it raises the pins inside of it to set the key free and to open the house.

    In such situation it’s very easy to break the mechanism, that’s why you should do everything extremely carefully.

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  • Drilling out a cylinder is a standard way to open a door.

    The cylinder is drilled above the hole, is a little turned and removed.

  • To wrench off a lock you’ll need gas pliers.

    The cylinder, which sticks out, must be caught by an instrument, turned 90 degrees and then take it out.

  • Shift off the end.

    If the door stayed open, you may simply get the lock from the doors and take it to pieces.

    Besides, the key must not prevent you from it, i.e. to stick out.

Exotic ways how to remove a broken key from a lock

It should also be noted that there are some rather unusual ways to remove a broken detail from a lock, which are also suggested by the professionals.

Let’s discuss them, because they definitely deserve our attention:

  • Two awls.

    The essence of this method is that two very thin awls are pulled in a lock with a broken key.

    They catch the part of a key.

    If you succeed, you may try to get it out by the waving movements.

    Do not forget to grease the mechanism before the “operation” with rust-preventive compound or motor oil.

  • Fret saw’s file.

    In order to remove a key by means of the fret saw’s file you need to cut it, so that the end of it had a kink.

    Carefully push in the lock this file with a kink looking up and turn it from one direction to another.

    If you succeed in catching the piece of a key, you will be able to remove it gently.

  • A brass tube and a blowlamp.

    If you have close at hand a brass tube, which is a little thicker in diameter than the broken key, you can try to put it on the broken piece using your strength.

    Then, you should heat with a blowlamp this tube and wait till it cools down.

    Now, you may bend it a little and remove together with the remaining part of a broken key.

  • A fish hook.

    Such operation is not simple at all and it requires much patience.

    However, it is really known as the efficient one.

    Moreover, you cannot break a lock with it.

    In order to remove a broken key you should unbend a fish hook and the end with fluke push in the mechanism and start catching the broken detail.

    As soon as you catch it, pull it out carefully and repeating this many times you are likely to achieve success.

Extreme measures of how to remove a broken key from a lock

The extreme measures, which would allow opening a lock in the doors, if you broke your key there, are unlikely to satisfy any owner.

However, sometimes you cannot go without them.

If all methods mentioned above bring no result and you need to get in the house, you must pull yourself together and break the doors.

Last resorts, where you should go to, if you cannot remove the broken key from a lock:

  • One of the ways is to cut the catch lock.

    To do it they must be seen between the door and the wall.

    You may use arm-saw or angle grinder.

  • Moreover, you can cut out the lock, but in such situation the doors with be destroyed.

    Surely, you may weld the metal and bring everything to order.

  • Another option is to cut the butt, thought it is not always possible, because modern construction have special protection and bends, lest the doors could be taken off this way.

In order to avoid the situation, when you need the ways how to remove a broken key from a lock, you should regularly examine the mechanism and grease it.

When you discover some seizures, immediately fix them.

Moreover, pay attention to the key’s condition: if it is bent or cracked, throw it away to avoid future misfortunes.

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