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How to Remove a Broken Key From a Car 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

If you’re stuck with a broken key in your car door lock, don’t panic! This blog post will show you how to remove it quickly and easily.


Before attempting to remove a broken key from a car door lock, it is important to prepare the area and the tools needed. Put on a pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes. Place a sturdy tray or a cloth below the lock to catch any parts that may fall out. Have a set of long nose pliers or a pair of needle nose pliers on hand. You will also need a small flat head screwdriver and a tension wrench. Now that you have all the necessary materials ready, let’s get started.

Gather the necessary tools

Gathering all the necessary tools before you get started is crucial to success and safety. For this job, you will need a pair of needle-nose pliers and two slim flathead screwdrivers, one of which should be bent at a 90 degree angle. It is also a good idea to have some lubricant on hand in case you need to lubricate the lock or hinges after you’ve removed the broken key. Have these items ready near your work area before beginning the process.

Put on protective gloves

It is important to make sure that you have taken all the necessary safety precautions before attempting to remove the broken key from your car door lock. To reduce the chance of infection, wear protective gloves while handling the broken key and any tools. Be aware that if the key is deeply embedded in the lock, you may need to use a strong adhesive to attach a grip so it can be removed. In addition, keep any other items such as cigarettes away from active work areas, as they can lead to sparks which can ignite gasoline residuals in some automobiles.

Removing the Broken Key

If you’re dealing with a broken key in a car door lock, your goal should be to safely remove the broken key without damaging the lock. There are a few different methods you can try, depending on the type of lock and the type of key. This section will talk about the different ways to remove a broken key from a car door lock.

Insert a thin flat-head screwdriver into the keyhole

The first step in removing a broken key from a car door lock is to insert a thin flat-head screwdriver into the keyhole. Make sure the blade is wide enough to reach the stem of the broken key. Once the blade of the screwdriver is firmly lodged between the sides of the broken key and the inside walls of the lock, slowly rotate it to break up any built-up debris or rust within. Keep inserting and turning until you’ve cleared away enough material within to gain access to extract your broken key. Be sure not to damage or distort any other parts within your car door lock during this process, as that will only complicate your task.

Pry the broken key out of the lock

Once you have access to the lock, you need to carefully pry out the broken key. You can use a flat-head or Phillips-head screwdriver, an auto tool such as a trim pad remover or a pocket knife. Make sure the tools do not damage the lock’s mechanism as you attempt to remove the broken key pieces. Take your time while applying pressure and attempt to pry out each piece of metal without scraping, scratching or damaging any of the other parts of the lock. If possible, try to remove any debris that is left behind from the key as this could interfere with how well the new key works in unlocking and locking your doors. Once you have removed all of pieces of metal from the lock, use a vacuum cleaner to clean up any shavings and small pieces inside of it.

Cleaning the Lock

If a key has broken off in a car door lock, one of the first steps to take is to clean the lock. Cleaning the lock can help to remove any debris that could be obscuring the broken key and preventing it from being pulled out. This process can also help to lubricate the lock and make it easier to manually remove the broken key. In this section, we’ll discuss the best ways to clean the lock.

Use a vacuum to remove any debris from the lock

Using a powerful vacuum cleaner, remove as much debris from the lock as possible. This will help to ensure that any moister or rust particles that may be holding the broken key in the lock are removed. Make sure to empty the canister often and inspect its contents for any bits of broken key parts that may have been left behind. When you’re finished, check once more to make sure no piece of the broken key remains in the door.

Insert a lubricant into the keyhole

The next step in the process of removing a broken key from a car door lock is to insert a lubricant into the keyhole. This can help to reduce the friction between the broken blade and the cylinder wall. Before inserting any kind of lubricant, make sure to use a cloth or paper towel to remove any remaining debris that may have been left behind from when the key broke off. When choosing a lubricant, make sure it is safe for use in cars and follow any instructions for application. Depending on your vehicle’s make, model, and condition, you may need to use something like graphite powder or oil-based lubricants such as 3-in-1 oil. Inserting enough lubrication into the keyhole should help loosen up any pieces of the key still lodged inside and make it easier to remove them with pliers.

Replacing the Lock

If a broken key is stuck in your car door lock, the best course of action may be to replace the lock altogether. This can be a more costly approach than just removing the key but it will give you peace of mind that there is no broken key left in the lock. This section will cover the steps of replacing the lock.

Measure the lock to determine the size of the new lock

Before replacing the lock, you will need to remove the broken key from the car door lock. To do this, you will first want to measure the size of the existing lock. Having a tape measure is ideal for this task, but if one is not available a ruler or other measuring device can also be used. Measure the length of the cylinder and any additional components present in order to best determine the size and type of new lock that you will have to purchase. In addition to taking accurate measurements of all components, note whether there are any special features such as interchangeable cores or another security feature on your broken key in order to ensure that a replacement lock with these same specifications is purchased.

Purchase a new lock of the same size

Before you can begin to replace the broken key from your car door lock, you will need to purchase a new lock of the same size and make sure that it is compatible with your car door. Your local hardware store should have a selection of locks in stock. If you cannot find one that is compatible with your car, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Knowing the make and model of your vehicle will be helpful when looking for an appropriate lock. It may also be a good idea to bring along the broken key when shopping so that the store attendant can better assist in finding an appropriate replacement. Make sure to read all labels carefully before purchasing so that you can be certain that the new lock will fit into place correctly and provide the desired level of security.

Install the new lock into the car door

Installing a new lock into your car door can help to ensure safety and security if you’ve broken or lost the key. Locks come in varying levels of complexity, from simple cylinder locks to more complex deadbolts, depending on the type and make of your car.

Before you begin installing the new lock, first make sure that you have all the necessary parts and tools for installation. You will need a new cylinder as well as your screwdriver, Philips head drill bit, lubricant (either silicone grease or WD-40) and wire brush.

Once everything is ready to go, locate where the old lock was installed in the car door – usually near the handle – then remove it. Take note of any screws or bolts holding it in place; these should be removed with your screwdriver. Once they are taken out you should be able to pull out the remaining pieces of the old lock from within their cavity inside the door panel.

Next, place your new cylinder lock into position inside of its cavity in place of where it was previously located. You may need to wiggle it around until it is seated securely and angled properly before inserting any screws or bolts back into place to hold it tightly against the car door surface. Use some lubricant on any moving parts before tightening them down completely to ensure smooth operation when locking/unlocking later on down the line!

Preventing Future Issues

Removing a broken key from a car door lock can be a tricky and time consuming process. Once the key has been removed, it is important to take steps to ensure the issue does not happen again. This includes making sure the lock is properly lubricated, using a good quality key, and making sure to not push the key too hard into the lock. In this article, we will discuss ways to prevent key breakage in the future.

Use a lubricant on the lock regularly

Using a lubricant on the lock regularly is an effective way of preventing future issues like a broken key from occurring. Many people are unaware it’s possible to use a lubricant in and around their car door locks. Using the lubricant twice a year can increase the longevity of the lock and help to keep it working properly for years to come.

It’s important to select the right kind of lubricant for your car lock – some chemicals can be detrimental to different types of materials which may end up causing further damage if applied incorrectly. Start by consulting your car’s owner’s manual or doing research online as to what type of lubricants are suitable for the lock you have. If you have any doubts, it’s always best to use a penetrating oil such as WD40 or 3-in-1 Oil instead.

Spray a little into and around the keyhole, gently working it into all of its parts. This will help reduce build-up which can let dust and dirt enter, making keys harder and more difficult to turn in locks eventually resulting in breakage. It’s also beneficial for withstanding harsher weather conditions such as freezing temperatures which would otherwise make keys stiffer and more brittle over time.

Do not force the key into the lock

In order to prevent future issues, it is important to understand that a broken key should never be forced into the car door lock. It may seem like an easy solution but doing so will only cause further damage and make the job more difficult in the long run. If a broken key is forced into the lock, it may break further and cause greater issues. Additionally, bits of metal may remain lodged in the lockset, making it even more difficult to remove without damaging any internal components of the lockset and causing further costly repairs.

Therefore it is best to take preventative measures to arrive at an effective resolution if you encounter a broken key in your car door lock. While this can happen for a variety of reasons, including wear and tear over time or attempting to open a jammed door where keys dropped out of your pocket, following these steps will help to get you back on track:

-Carefully inspect the shape of the key and use appropriate tools if possible
-Do not attempt to force pieces out
-Attempt gentle removal with pliers or small tweezers
-If unable to remove by hand, seek professional assistance

Have the lock inspected regularly by a professional

It is always wise to have your car door lock inspected regularly by a professional locksmith or car auto locksmith. This will help you identify any potential issues before they become larger problems. A professional will be able to identify if the lock is damaged or not, as well as check for any signs of wear and tear that could lead to future damage.

Regular maintenance can be an effective way of protecting your property and deterring theft. Most modern locks come with an anti-theft feature, so it’s very important that these are tested on a regular basis as well. This type of system is designed to prevent access from outside sources, so if it has failed in some way then it could be rendered useless and leave your property vulnerable to theft.

Ensure that any locks which are not connected to an alarm system are checked over often and do not require more than simple cleaning and lubrication – both of which can be done by yourself at home or done by professional locksmiths who are experienced in maintaining such products. Doing this can go a long way in preventing future issues caused by broken keys or damaged locks.

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