How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock

Getting a broken key stuck in a lock can be a frustrating and inconvenient situation. It’s a scenario that many of us have encountered at least once in our lives. Whether it’s your front door, car, or a padlock, a broken key can quickly turn into a headache. However, with the right knowledge and tools, you can often resolve the issue without having to call a locksmith. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to get a broken key out of a lock effectively.

Understanding the Problem

Types of Key Breakages

Not all broken keys are the same, and understanding the type of breakage is essential. There are generally two types of key breakages:

  • Partial Breakage: In this case, only a part of the key snaps off and remains inside the lock, while the rest is still in your hand.
  • Complete Breakage: Here, the key breaks into two separate pieces, making it even more challenging to remove.

These two types of breakages require different approaches for removal, so it’s important to identify which type of breakage you’re dealing with when attempting to extract a broken key from a lock.

The Importance of Dealing with it Properly

Dealing with a broken key properly is essential to prevent further damage to the lock. If you try to force the key out without the right technique, you risk pushing the broken part deeper into the lock or damaging the lock mechanism itself.

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Tools You’ll Need

Before you begin, gather the necessary tools:

  • Tweezers: These are useful for removing the broken key if it’s visible and protruding from the lock.
  • Needle Nose Pliers: If the key is broken deep inside the lock, needle nose pliers can provide the necessary grip to pull it out.
  • Lubricant: A lubricant, such as WD-40, can help ease the extraction process by reducing friction.
  • Jigsaw Blade: In some cases, you might need a jigsaw blade to cut a groove into the key for better grip.

Step-by-Step Guide to Remove the Broken Key

Assess the Situation

Before you start, examine the lock and the key. If the broken key is sticking out, try using tweezers to gently pull it out. If it’s not visible, proceed to the next steps.

Use Tweezers or Needle Nose Pliers

Insert the tweezers or needle nose pliers into the keyway and carefully grasp the broken key. Be patient and gentle to avoid pushing the key further in.

Apply Lubricant

If the key is stubborn, apply a lubricant like WD-40 into the lock to reduce friction. This will make it easier to slide the broken key out.

Try the Jigsaw Blade Method

If the key is still stuck, you may need to use a jigsaw blade to create a groove in the broken key, allowing you to grip and pull it out.

Seek Professional Help If All Else Fails

If your attempts to remove the broken key are unsuccessful, it’s best to call a professional locksmith. Attempting to force the key out can lead to further damage to the lock.

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Preventing Future Key Breakages

To avoid future key breakages, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use a Duplicate Key: Instead of using the original key for everyday use, consider using a duplicate key. This way, you can preserve the original key and reduce the wear and tear on it.
  • Be Gentle When Turning the Key: When using a key to unlock a door or operate a lock, be gentle and avoid using excessive force. Applying too much pressure can increase the risk of key breakage.
  • Regular Maintenance and Lubrication: It’s a good practice to regularly maintain your locks. Lubricate the lock mechanism with a suitable lock lubricant, such as WD-40, to reduce friction and prevent key breakages due to wear and tear.

By following these simple tips, you can extend the life of your keys and reduce the likelihood of encountering key breakage issues in the future.


Here are some FAQs related to How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Lock

How do you remove a key that broke in a lock?

To remove a key that has broken in a lock, you can use tools like tweezers, needle nose pliers, or a lubricant to gently extract the broken key. If these methods don’t work, consider seeking professional help to prevent further damage to the lock.

What is the best tool to remove a broken key from a lock?

The best tools to remove a broken key from a lock are tweezers or needle nose pliers, as they provide a good grip for extraction. Additionally, using a lubricant like WD-40 can help ease the process by reducing friction.

How do you get a key that’s stuck in a lock out?

If the key is stuck in a lock but not broken, you can try gently jiggling it while applying slight pressure to the turning direction. If that doesn’t work, consider using a lubricant to ease its removal. If the key is broken, refer to the previous answer for key removal techniques.

Why is it hard to get my key out of the lock?

It can be challenging to get a key out of a lock due to various factors, such as a broken key, misalignment of the lock pins, or a buildup of debris and dust. Applying a lubricant can often help in such situations.

What happens when your key gets stuck?

When a key gets stuck in a lock, it can lead to inconvenience and difficulty in using the lock. In some cases, attempting to force the key out may result in breakage, which can further complicate the situation. It’s important to address the issue carefully to prevent damage to the lock and ensure a successful key extraction.


Dealing with a broken key in a lock can be a challenging situation, but with the right tools and techniques, it’s possible to resolve the issue on your own. Remember to assess the type of key breakage and use the appropriate tools, such as tweezers, pliers, and lubricant, to safely remove the broken key. In case of difficulties, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance to avoid further damage to your lock.