How to Remove a Snapped Key from a Lock
Updated: Jun 26
The metal that makes up standard keys will, over time will, soften and fatigue with continuous and strenuous use. Eventually, your key may snap off inside a lock when you least expect it and can bring on some panic. Removing a key stuck in a lock should be handled with care to prevent any further damage or accidentally shoving the key further inside the lock.
There are some reliable methods you could try, depending on the severity of the situation, before you go ahead and call your local locksmith. Here are a few methods to help you remove a snapped key from your lock. Prepping the Lock Before you begin, you need to prep the lock to ensure the process is made easier. The first thing you will want to do is to ensure the key is returned to an upright position to ensure you can remove the key. If the key is turned, you will not be able to remove the key due to the pins within the cylinder lock holding it in place. After returning the key to the starting position, you'll want to apply a lubricant to the lock and within the keyway to help ensure the removal doesn't encounter friction and slides out with ease. How to Remove a Snapped Key Once you have ensured the keyway is well lubricated and aligned, you can use these methods to extract your key from the lock. Tweezers or Pliers – If you are lucky enough to have some of the key sticking out of the lock, you may be able to use pliers or tweezers to attempt the broken key removal. Be sure to attempt carefully and slowly to grip the broken key's end to avoid pushing the key further. Once you have a good grip, gently wiggle the key to help break it free of any grips that may be holding it in. Broken Key Extractor – This is the easiest way; however, most people do not have this lying around the house. You can purchase a broken key extractor from your local hardware store. This tool works by hooking teeth into the key as leverage to pull the key successfully out of the lock. Simply insert the extractor along the cut edge of the key, taking care to not push the key further into the lock and pushing the pins out of the way. Once the key extractor is in, twist the extractor and gently pull. This method may take a couple of attempts. Small Jigsaw Blade – Many people have small jigsaw blades available in their toolbox. This method works similarly to the broken key extractor. Insert the jigsaw blade within the keyhole and attempt to latch on to the first cut of the key, and gently pull the key out, cut by cut. Breaking a key inside your lock can be a major inconvenience and trying to remove the key yourself seems like the quickest solution. Sometimes, removing a snapped key requires more than household items. If you are unsuccessful in your attempts, it may be time to hire a professional locksmith to take on the task. They are equipped with the tools and experience to help you remove the snapped key and get you back to your day. Telford Locksmiths are the trusted, expert locksmith who can help you regain entry when needed. If you've snapped a key in a lock and need expert help, give us a call 24/7.