Why Do Keys Break In Locks?There are many things that can cause a key to snap off inside the lock some of the main issues include:
- Over time the key has become damaged, or it may be old and has weakened or become brittle, this will make it more susceptible to breaking.
- If the lock has become jammed or is not well lubricated, it may be dirty or clogged, this will make it difficult for the key to turn smoothly and could also cause it to break.
- The lock could be misaligned, this can put extra stress on the key which could cause it to break.
- The key has been forced into the lock, this can result in the teeth breaking off the key.
- Standard keys are made from soft metals such as nickel and brass, low-quality materials are prone to breaking or bending.
What To Do When a Key Breaks In The Lock
If you are in the situation where your key has broken off in the lock, here are some of the steps you can follow to try and remove the key yourself:
- Try removing the broken key with a pair or tweezers, be careful that you don’t apply too much pressure as this may result in the key breaking off and cause further damage to the lock.
- If the broken key is sticking out, you can try and use a pair of wire cutters to cut it off.
- If the broken key isn’t visible or you can’t remove it with pliers or wire cutters, you can try using an extractor tool, these specialised tools have been designed to hold onto the broken key and allow you to pull it out of the lock.
- If none of the above seems to work, we recommend you call a professional locksmith, the team at No Shut Sure Lock have all of the tools and expertise needed to safely remove the key without damaging the lock.
Regardless of how the key broke off in the lock, getting the broken key extracted should be your top priority:
- Broken keys can cause damage to the locks and you may need to consider a replacement lock.
- You could be left locked out or locked in your property.
- You may not be able to lock your door leaving your property unsecured.
What Not To Do When Your Key Breaks Inside a Lock
When your key breaks inside a lock, here is what NOT to do:
- Don’t try to turn the key in the lock whilst it’s broken, it can cause the broken key to be further lodged in the lock.
- Don’t use a hammer or blunt tool to hammer the key out of the lock, this may damage the lock and make it much more difficult to remove the key.
- Don’t try to pick the lock yourself, unless you have experience and the right tools. Trying to pick the lock can cause further damage to the lock and make it much more difficult for a locksmith to remove the key.
If your key breaks inside the lock, it’s important to remember to remain calm and try to carefully and methodically remove the key using the right tools and techniques. If you can’t remove the key or you’re not sure how to, we advise that you seek the help of our professional locksmith team.
How To Get A Broken Key Out Of A Lock?If you can see a small portion of the key still sticking out of the lock, then you can attempt to pull the key out yourself using a pair of pliers or even a strong magnet if you have one to hand. However, you do need to be careful as you could end up damaging the lock itself. The best thing to do in this situation is to call out your local locksmith who has the skills, tools and experience needed to carefully carry out broken key extraction.
Broken Key ExtractionAnother solution to removing a broken key includes using a lubricant like WD-40, this will loosen the broken key, all you need to do is spray the lubricant into the lock and try to gently wiggle the key to remove it. Take a look at the following step-by-step:
- Spray a generous amount of lubricant into the lock, make sure that you cover the area where the broken key is stuck.
- Let the lubricant sit for a few minutes then give it time to penetrate and loosen the broken key.
- Gently wiggle the broken key back and forth, try to loosen it from the lock.
- If the key doesn’t move, you can use a tool like small pliers or tweezers to pull the key out of the lock.
- If the key still won’t come out, you may need to call a locksmith for assistance.
How To Prevent Broken Keys?
There are a couple of precautions you can take to help prevent broken keys:
Being too forceful – avoid using too much force when turning the key in the lock, if you find that you use a lot of force to turn the key, the lock may be damaged or it could be the wrong key.
Lubricate locks – Keys can break in locks when the lock has not been well maintained. You can use a silicone-based lubricant to spray the keyhole every six months, this will keep the lock well lubricated. It is important that you never use oil-based lubricants such as WD-40 as these types of lubricants will clog the locks overtime and lead to much more serious problems. By keeping your keys clean and lubricated, dirt and grime can cause keys to stick in locks, this can leak to them breaking. Using WD-40 will help to prevent keys from sticking and breaking.
Stressing the key – having too many keys on one keyring can cause stress, and the more keys and keyrings, the more stress on each key when it’s being used. It can cause them to bend and break.
Bent or damaged keys – avoid using keys that are bent or damaged, if a key is damaged it might be more likely to break when used in a lock.
Replacement keys – Due to the frequent use of keys they are prone to wear and tear so as soon as you see any signs of wear it is worth going and getting a new key cut and disposing of the old one.
Keyless system – you could consider having a keyless lock system installed, they use electronic codes or fingerprints instead of physical keys. These can eliminate the risk of broken keys altogether
Following these tips will help you to prevent broken keys as well as the frustration and inconvenience that comes with them.