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How to Get a Broken Key Out of a Door Lock

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

✓ Verified & Tested Information

So you’re stuck with a broken key in your door lock. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to get that key out and have your door lock working again in no time.


Before attempting to get a broken key out of a door lock, it is important to prepare accordingly. First, you will need to gather the necessary supplies, including a pair of needle-nosed pliers, a small flat head screwdriver, and a container to store the broken key pieces. Then, you will need to make sure you are in a well-lit area to help you see the key in the lock when you are attempting to remove it. Once you have the materials and the correct lighting, you are ready to begin.

Gather the necessary tools

Before attempting to extract a broken key from a door lock, it is important to make sure you have the necessary tools on hand. This may include items such as pliers, tweezers, needle-nose pliers or even a pair of safety glasses so you don’t accidentally get any metal splinters in your eyes. You may also want to prepare some lubricant or graphite powder so that you can lubricate the lockset after it is freed of the broken key fragments. By having all the necessary items on hand before starting, you will save yourself time and effort.

Put on safety glasses

Before attempting to remove a broken key from a door lock, it is important to protect your eyes. Put on an appropriate pair of safety glasses to ensure that you do not get any metal particles or other debris in your eyes. This is an especially important step if you plan on using force, such as hammering, drilling or grinding, to remove the key. Further safety steps should also be taken, such as wearing protective gloves and closing off the workspace for debris or dust caused by the removal process.

Attempt to Retrieve the Broken Key

If you have a broken key stuck in a door lock, the first thing to do is to attempt to retrieve the broken key. You can start by using needle-nose pliers or tweezers to try to grab the broken key piece and carefully pull it out. If that doesn’t work, you may have to resort to other methods such as using a hook or key extractor tool to Break Open the broken key. Let’s look at some of these methods in more detail.

Insert a small flathead screwdriver into the keyhole

If you have a small flathead screwdriver, you can attempt to use that tool to retrieve the broken key. First, insert the flathead screwdriver into the keyhole as far as it can go. Then turn it clockwise and pull out the broken pieces of the key with your hand or a pair of pliers. Be sure to remove all pieces so that they don’t interfere with unlocking or relocking the lock. If possible, you may want to refer to an instructional guide that is specific to your lock system so you know precisely how much force and pressure are necessary for successful extraction.

Try to grab the broken key with needle-nose pliers

Using needle-nose pliers is the first step in attempting to retrieve the broken key from the lock. Make sure that the grip of the pliers is secure and steady. To do this, use a pair of tongs or tweezers that have well-matched fine tips made from strong material, preferably stainless steel. Clamp down on what remains of the key and then pull it firmly using a steady grip. Depending on how much of it breaks off, you may be successful in retrieving the whole key without further assistance. If this does not work, other methods should be considered for retrieving the broken piece from inside the lock cylinder.

Use a Broken Key Extractor

If you’ve ever had a key break off in a door lock, you know how frustrating it can be. Fortunately, there are a few simple methods for removing any broken key from a lock. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using a broken key extractor. This device is designed to slide into the lock and remove a broken key in a quick and safe manner. Let’s discuss how to use it and some other strategies for getting a broken key out of a door lock.

Insert the broken key extractor into the keyhole

Once you have gathered your tools, you can begin the process of removing the key. Start by inserting the broken key extractor into the keyhole. Depending on which type of extractor tool you are using, you may need to either turn it clockwise or insert it straight into the keyhole, then twist and pull at the same time to create tension and grip your broken key.

Continue slowly turning and/or pulling on your extractor tool until you feel it catch onto part of your broken key. At this point, some extractors will require an additional pushing action to get a better grip, while others might require an extra twisting motion to further hold onto the broken piece. You may also need to remove any excess dirt or dust from inside the lock before continuing with your extraction – always make sure to keep yourself safe by wearing eye protection if necessary and taking care not to damage the internal components of your door lock while working!

Turn the extractor to grab the broken key

Once you have inserted the broken key extractor into the door lock, you will need to start turning the extractor counterclockwise. As you turn, the extractor will start to catch any of the broken pieces left inside and pull them upwards. Once all of the pieces have been extracted from inside, you can then pull out both the extractor tool and all remaining parts of the broken key.

Be sure to go slowly as it takes a fair amount of pressure to turn it in order for it to grab onto a piece of metal. If it is not turning or doesn’t seem like it is catching anything, remove it and start again with a fresh grip on it. The more pressure that is applied when turning will help ensure there are no remaining fragments left behind.

Use a Lock Pick

A broken key in a door lock can be very frustrating. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to the problem that requires no special tools: using a lock pick. With a little patience and the right technique, you can use a lock pick to extract the broken key from the lock, saving yourself time and money. Let’s take a closer look at how to do this.

Insert the lock pick into the keyhole

When you insert the lock pick into the keyhole, it should be inserted at an angle that follows the same direction as the bottom of the keyway. If your tool is inserted too far or at an incorrect angle, it can cause damage to the inner mechanisms of the lock.

Once in place, you will want to feel around for any pins or notches that you can use to unlock your door. The best way to do this is to move your tool back and forth within the keyhole, paying attention to where there is more resistance. When you have made contact with a pin or notch, rotate your pick either clockwise or counterclockwise until you feel it drop down into the lower groove of what’s called its gate. This will free up some tension between itself and a corresponding driver pin, allowing you access.

In order to break open a lock that has no key, maintain constant pressure on all of these pins while turning and pushing the handle at the same time. This process may take several attempts before being successful, but if done correctly and with enough patience it can be rewarding! With that said remember when attempting this action use caution and supervision if needed as improper usage could cause irreversible damage.

Move the pick around until you feel the pins move

Once the tension wrench is in place, the pick can be used to move the pins within the lock up and down. This is done by carefully inserting it into the keyway and holding it steady while you feel for each of the individual pins. When all five pins are depressed, you should feel a slight clicking motion as your turn the tension wrench and gain access to your locked area.

The process of feeling for each pin can be difficult for beginners. You’ll want to ensure that you have adequate lighting and a steady hand when working with a broken key inside of a lock. Working slowly, and patiently adjusting the pick according to what you feel in each pin is key to success here. Choose a good quality pick for this task, as cheaper picks tend to bend easily and lack sensitivity when inserted into tight spaces like door locks.

Call a Professional Locksmith

When it comes to dealing with a broken key in a door lock, it’s important to call a professional locksmith and not attempt to remove it yourself. Professional locksmiths have the right tools and experience to locate and remove the broken key without damaging the lock. Plus, they know how to re-key or replace the lock in case it’s not salvageable.

Explain the situation to the locksmith

When you reach out to the locksmith, it is important to provide an accurate description of what has happened. Explain that you have a broken key stuck in your lock and if possible, describe the brand and age of the lock. It is critical that you are honest about the status of your lock and the damage inflicted by your key so that the locksmith can adequately determine a plan of action and give you an accurate estimate for labor costs. Give them your address to allow them to come to your property with the required tools and materials.

Have the locksmith come to your location and remove the broken key

One of the best ways to remove a broken key from a door lock is to call a professional locksmith. If you’re in a situation where you already have one or more broken keys stuck in your lock, having the locksmith come to your location and remove them is often the quickest and easiest solution. Professional locksmiths have the proper tools and expertise to extract broken keys quickly and safely. Whether your key has snapped off in the cylinder or it’s lodged into an intricate shape inside your lock, they can usually get it out without damaging either the key or lock itself.

Professional locksmiths also have access to a wide range of locks, enabling them to replace the one that’s currently installed on your door. This not only allows you to avoid running into any further issues with blocked keys, but it also enhances your home security – especially if you opt for an upgraded high-price lock with increased protection against attempts at forced entry. Furthermore, depending on the type of lock you decide on, many modern electronic models offer convenient features such as wireless remote control and automatic locking after time delay settings.

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