5 Easy Ways to Remove a Broken Key Out of a Lock

broken key inside lock

Keys wear down over time, the metal fatigues, and keys come apart. When turning the key, a break can sometimes occur within a lock cylinder. How can you extract the key from the lock if this happens? Locking yourself out because of a broken key can be frightening, luckily a competent locksmith can quickly address the problem.

Remember that a key that has broken off in a lock should not be handled or tampered with unless there’s a purpose behind it. A broken key bit can easily be pushed further into the lock if not dealt with properly, and doing so might make things worse.

Depending on how far you press the key into the lock, some of these procedures won’t work depending on how far you push the key into the lock. Place the portion of the broken key that you have, or keep it in your pocket. This part is completely unneeded. However, you should not discard it. Keep the half that remains with you so that you can give one piece to your locksmith or local hardware store. A locksmith can cut a new key once they have both halves of your key.

How to Remove Broken Keys From Locks

When attempting to extract a damaged key from the lock yourself, take a few moments to survey the position and gather your thoughts. When inspecting the keyhole for the broken piece, consider the following points:

  • What resources are available to me?
  • Is there a local hardware store that is close by?
  • Do I know someone with a functional key, or do I have a spare?
  • How far has the damaged key been pushed into the lock?
  • What is the shortest period of time I can wait before seeking expert assistance?

Businesses and homeowners who have additional keys should avoid trying to pick the disabled lock and instead use another entrance or window to gain access to the premises. Once inside, dealing with the disabled lock is considerably easier and safer.

If you find yourself in this scenario and decide to try to fix the problem yourself, consider the following advice and methods for extracting broken keys from locks.

Lubricate the Keyway in Preparation For Removing Broken Key

Spraying a lubricant into the keyhole and around the damaged piece before attempting to pull out the broken key bit is strongly advised. Although dry lubricants are typically the best option, if you’re in a pinch, WD-40 can suffice. A dry lube like Dry Lock Lube will not leave any residue behind over time that may accumulate dirt and grime, unlike an oil-based lubricant.

Tools to Remove Broken Key from Lock

After a lubricant has been injected into the keyhole, it’s time to get the necessary tools. If you’re determined to get in yourself and still have access to a car, go to a local hardware store and pick up the supplies you’ll need. If you’re locked out of your house and the only functional key has been destroyed, it’s time to call a locksmith since removing the broken part will not open the lock. Neighbors can also be of assistance in situations where a key is broken within a lock, especially if they have tools or a phone that may help. 

Some handy equipment to have on hand while attempting to remove the broken bit yourself includes:

1. Pliers

Needle nose pliers can come in handy if the broken bit is sticking out from the lock slightly. It’s sometimes feasible to pull the broken bit straight out after lubricating the area and allowing ample time for it to soak.

2. Tweezers

Tweezers are useful for grasping small pieces if needle nose pliers are too big and clunky. Tweezers don’t have the same pulling power as pliers, and they can slip off a fractured bit when lubricated, making them less effective.

3. Hacksaw Blades.

Small jigsaw and hacksaw blades might be the ideal tool for removing a broken key from a lock if you have one of these. If the keyhole is big enough, pushing a jigsaw or hacksaw blade into the top portion of the keyhole may put it far enough back into the lock to allow you to use the serrations on the blade to pull the key out.

4. Paperclips

Like a tiny jigsaw or hacksaw blade, paperclips, may be inserted into the top of a keyhole above the broken key bit. The paperclip may be bent into a straight line to be inserted into the top of the keyhole above the damaged key bit. The paperclip, once pushed far enough into the lock, can be twisted downward to grab the back of the broken key that’s deeply inserted. The damaged bit may be extracted thanks to the paperclip hooking on to it. Paperclips might come in useful in situations involving locked keys when used with pliers and/or tweezers.

5. Superglue

The superglue approach requires finding a tiny piece of wire or a tiny item that will fit into the keyhole, such as the wooden portion of a matchstick. Insert a single drop of superglue onto the tip of the matchstick, paperclip, or similar object and carefully push it into the keyhole without touching the sides.Wait for the superglue to set before attempting to remove the broken key. Once the superglue has hardened, take out the object and pull out the shattered key.


There are a number of methods to extract a broken or snapped-off key from a lock. Household items may not be enough in some situations, and if that’s the case, a professional locksmith will be needed.Locksmiths with years of expertise and the right equipment can address lock and key difficulties such as broken keys getting trapped in locks.

Locksmith Liberty is a full service locksmith company serving all of Los Angeles. We are experts in lockouts, lock rekeying and installation, broken key extractions, key duplication and more! You can count on us for any type of emergency situation that you may find yourself in. Our services are available 24 hours a day to assist the public with their lock and key needs.

Locksmith Liberty

Los Angeles, CA


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