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How to Remove a Broken Key From 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

If you’re stuck with a broken key in your door lock , don’t despair – there are a few ways you can remove it yourself. Check out our blog post for a step-by-step guide.


Before attempting to remove a broken key from a door lock, it is important to prepare yourself properly. Make sure you have the appropriate tools to complete the job, such as a pair of needlenose pliers and a small flathead screwdriver. It is also important to wear protective gloves to minimize any risk of injury. Additionally, it is important to take the time to familiarize yourself with the lock before attempting to remove the broken key.

Gather necessary tools

Before you begin the process of removing a broken key from a door lock, it is important to make sure that you have the necessary tools to complete the job. Depending on the type of lock and security system in place, it may be necessary to use a professional locksmithing tool such as an extractor or specialty keys that fit into tight spaces. Lock lubricant or graphite powder are also recommended items to have on hand, as these products can help loosen stuck parts in the lock more quickly. In addition, you may want to wear safety glasses and protective gloves in case sharp pieces of metal are scattered by your work.

Ensure you have good lighting

Before attempting to remove a broken key from a door lock, it is important to ensure that you have good lighting. You may need additional lights in order to provide enough light for you to be able to see the keyhole. Flashlights and headlamps are great tools for providing additional lighting. Focus the light into the keyhole and position yourself so that the light illuminates the broken piece clearly. This will help to ensure that you can properly identify the placement of all components inside your door lock, and make it easier for you to complete the process of removing a broken key.

Assessing the Problem

If you have a broken key stuck in a door lock, the first step is to assess the problem. Firstly, you need to determine how deep the key is stuck in the lock and if it is possible to extract it with basic tools. You may also need to assess the type of lock you are working with, as different locks require different methods for removing a broken key. It is also important to establish if the broken key is stuck in the lock cylinder, tumbler, or keyway. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you start the process of removing a broken key from a door lock.

Determine the type of lock

Before attempting to remove the broken key, it is important to determine the type of lock. Most traditional door locks will be either a cylindrical or mortise lock. Cylindrical locks are identified by their two faceplates and a thumb turn on the inside. Mortise locks will have a large rectangular deadbolt and no visible handle on the inside; these are typically more common in commercial settings.

Once you have determined which type of lock requires repair, you can consider several options for extracting the broken key. It is possible, depending on the type of lock, that a paper clip, tweezers, or needle nose pliers may provide an effective solution for retrieving the broken key from its housing. If this fails then you can consider professional assistance from a locksmith who will be able to safely remove the broken key without damaging your door or its locking mechanism.

Identify the broken key

Before you begin any key removal process, the first step is to identify the broken key. This can be difficult depending on how much of the key remains in the lock. Take a close look at what remains and try to determine whether it is the entire key or just a portion of it. If there is enough of the key remaining that you can get a better idea of its shape and size, this will help you decide which tools and techniques you need to use for removal.

If your key has broken off in such a way that part of it is still sticking out from the lock, then be careful not to damage it further as this could affect your chances of removing it successfully. You’ll need to take extra care not to push any pieces further down into the lock while trying to remove them.

If all that remains visible is the end of your broken key, then you may have more difficulty figuring out which type of tool or technique will work best for its removal. At this point, you may need to resort to trial and error before discovering which one works best for your specific situation.

Removing the Broken Key

Removing a broken key from a door lock can be difficult and will require patience. Depending on the type of lock, you may need specific tools to pull the broken key out of the keyhole. Removing the key can be a tricky process but it can be done without damaging the lock. Here are some tips to help you safely remove the broken key from the door lock.

Use a broken key extractor

A broken key extractor tool can be a godsend when faced with a broken key stuck in a door lock. This handy tool is easy to use and available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. The broken key extractor consists of two pieces – one with teeth designed to grip the broken end of the key, and one with a smooth cutting edge that can be used as a handle.

To use a broken key extractor, insert the tool teeth into the lock cylinder until it securely grabs onto the broken end. Once this is accomplished, turn the handle counterclockwise until you are able to remove the entire set from the lock cylinder. With patience, accuracy and a gentle hand, this should release most keys from their locks without causing any further damage.

Use a pair of pliers

Using a pair of pliers is one of the most time-tested and reliable methods for removing a broken key from a door lock. Depending on how deep the key is stuck in the lock, you may be able to use simple needle nose pliers to reach in and gently extract the remnants.

You should start by attempting to grip the head of the key with the pliers and gently pull it out. Be careful not to snap or break off any more pieces as you go, otherwise you may damage the internal mechanisms of your door lock.

If you are unable to grab onto a sufficiently large piece of metal with your pliers, then you can attempt to use a larger pair such as vise grips or locking pliers. Place these onto either side of the head of the key and tighten until it begins to pull out from the lock. In addition, another helpful tool for gripping and extracting small pieces is tweezers. Sometimes these can be useful for grabbing that last bit that may be just out of reach using other tools.

Use a hacksaw

Using a hacksaw is the easiest and quickest way to remove the broken key. It’s important to be careful not to damage the lock mechanism in any way when using a hacksaw. To begin, insert a small blade into the slot where the broken key is located. Very slowly and gently maneuver the blade of the hacksaw back and forth until you have made a groove in the metal of your broken key. Keep applying gentle pressure and sawing motion until you can remove most of your broken key from the keyhole. Pull it out with tweezers or pliers if needed, making sure not to damage any of the internal parts of your lock’s mechanics.

Replacing the Lock

If you have a broken key stuck in your door lock, replacing the lock may be the only way to remove it. Depending on your exact situation, you may have to choose between rekeying or replacing the lock. In this section, we’ll look at the pros and cons of both options and weigh the best choice for your situation.

Remove the old lock

If your key broke off in the door lock, the first step is to remove the old lock so that you can work on it more freely. In some cases, depending on the type of lock, you may be able to use some needle nose pliers to remove any broken pieces of the key that are in the locking mechanism.

Unscrew and remove all screws holding the lock in place, including those holding its strike plate in place. Standard locks come with 3 screws through the faceplate, 2 “security screws” at each side (which may require a special bit driver), and 2 additional screws on each side which secure it to the door’s edge. Once these screws have been removed and any broken pieces of key have been carefully extracted from within the lock cylinder, The entire assembly can be taken out from either inside or outside.

Install a new lock

After you have successfully removed the broken key, it will be necessary to replace the lock. Installing a new door lock is a simple process that can be completed with just a few tools and supplies.

Begin by gathering the materials you need: your new door lock, a mortising kit, drill bits, and screws. Start by removing the original lock from your door. Use an allen wrench or flathead screwdriver to unscrew the previously installed bolts or screws and then remove the old part completely.

Next, mark on your door is where you’ll install your new lock using a ruler and marking guide. With a mortising kit, cut out a shape for your new lock to fit in your doorframe, ensuring that it fits snugly.

Carefully install the new lock into place within the mortise slot before fastening it with appropriate screws or bolts from the kit you’ve bought. Finally test out if turning both keys works smoothly before fastening all components firmly in place (if necessary).

Test the new lock

Before replacing the door lock, it is important to make sure that the new lock will fit the existing door. Generally speaking, it’s best practice to replace the entire lock assembly instead of just the key cylinder. Begin by testing that the diameter of the cylinder from your new lock matches that on your door. Additionally, test whether or not your new lock matches up with any backdoor locking mechanisms you may have, such as a deadbolt or knob-turn handle. Once you are sure that all of these components match up and fit properly, you can now proceed with replacing your broken lock.

How to Remove a Broken Key From a Door LockCheckout this video:

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