Broken key in a lock : what to do ?

Who has never broken their key in the lock? By dint of opening and closing a door, you can overcome a key, especially if it is of low quality. Call a locksmith, change the lock? Most of the time, you can recover the key piece yourself. One of these methods just might save your lock…

Above all, do not use your key anymore!

It’s tempting to try to put the piece of key you have in your hand back into the lock… But that’s a bad idea! You just risk pushing the broken key a little deeper into the lock. Result: Recovery methods do not work if the key is inaccessible. Put your half hitch in the pocket and keep it for later. When you have recovered the other piece, you can use it to make a new key.

A high-risk method: superglue

This method assumes two conditions: that your broken key is accessible (not at the very bottom of the key) and that you are very thorough. The use of glue presents a risk; an overflow of glue, and farewell to the lock. In short, take it easy.

You need a tube of extra strong glue, such as super glue, and a metal object such as wire. A piece of wire coat hanger will work fine, or the other piece of key you have kept in your pocket.

  • Pour a drop glue on the end of the wire.
  • Introduce gently the glued end in the lock, until it comes into contact with the broken piece. During this delicate step, be careful that the glue does not run into the lock.
  • Hold it contact while the glue dries. Do not push, so as not to push the broken key further. Drying may take a few minutes (check the time indicated on the tube).
  • After drying, the key piece is glued. Remove gently the assembly by performing a slight rotational movement.

The broken key protrudes a little: the tweezers

If the key has broken outside the barrel, the inner part may protrude a few millimetres. In this case, try to recover it with flat pliers, tweezers or even needle-nose pliers.

  • start with lubricate the lock with an oil spray or WD-40 (sponge if the oil overflows from the groove).
  • With a screwdriver, push the lock back into its initial position.
  • With the pliers, gently grab the piece of key that protrudes and pull it

Key broken inside: a fine tip and pliers

If the broken key is invisible, you’ll have to trick it to convince it to come out.

  • Use a product lubricant to facilitate removal. For example, spray a little spray oil into the lock.
  • Enter a pointe very thin in the lock, with which you will try to bring back the piece of key. For this, you can unbend a paperclip or use a needle.
  • As soon as the piece of key starts to come out, grab it with a clamp

Of the fine tip scissors (electrician’s scissors type) can also give good results. Insert one of the points into one side of the lock, so as to leverage the key and gradually withdraw the piece.

The easy way: a big magnet

Here is a method for those who do not have the patience to tamper with the lock. Take a strong magnet (not a fridge magnet). Place it at the entrance of the lock. Hold it… and wait for the broken key to come out on its own. If she’s not stuck in the lock, it shouldn’t take long! No metal key can resist the pull of a handsome, muscular magnet.

How about a broken key extractor?

This requires a small investment, but the game is worth the candle.

The puller kits that you find in the DIY department contain a handle and a hooked rod which is used to activate the pin of the lock. Your challenge is to find a puller the same size as your lock. In a kit, there are several thicknesses available. In any case, know that the locksmiths themselves use this type of material.

In the same spirit, you can use a jigsaw blade (or scroll saw). Slide it into the locks as follows: teeth down and pointing towards you. The metal will slide next to the key and catch on it. When a tooth has taken the key, gently remove the blade, and the key with it.

The door wasn’t locked? Disassemble the barrel.

Your key broke without the door being locked. Take the opportunity to disassemble the barrel, this can simplify the extraction of the piece of broken key. When you have removed the barrel, spray it with a product penetrating oil. You still have to put the barrel with the side containing the key on the ground side. On the other side, tap gently with a hammer (gently though). The key comes out by itself.

You have two solutions left to find a functional lock:

  • with the two pieces of keys, make a double your key and wind your lock;
  • or buy one outright new barrel with his new keys.

Nothing works: call a locksmith

If you haven’t managed to recover the broken key and you have to go home…, all you have to do is call a locksmith. The intervention of a professional can be expensive, do not hesitate to ask him for his prices and to compare them with two or three other locksmiths. For a single door, plan a budget of 60 to 80 euros. An armored door can be repaired around 100 to 150 euros. Obviously, if you have a pro move at night or over the weekend, it will be 20 to 30% more expensive. Your insurance policy may cover this type of repair. Give your insurance agent a quick call, you never know.

I don’t want my key to break anymore, is that possible?

If we can avoid this kind of problem, it is always better. A few precautions are necessary so that your key will serve you well for a long time to come:

  • If possible, invest in a lock good quality, with solid keys. The risk of breakage is limited.
  • Be careful when using your key. Over time, a key becomes fragile and eventually cracks. Don’t wait for it to break; it’s time to make one double.
  • Yes force never a key. If it gets stuck, it is often because it is badly positioned. Insert it gently, it should spin smoothly.
  • Pamper your lock by lubricant from time to time. It’s a simple way to make your key last longer.

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