Oh Snap! I just broke my key off in the lock. Now what?
While the thought of it raises your blood pressure, we have all most likely done it at one point. You may have been rushing to get in or out of the house, accidently used the wrong key, or have just put off having that faulty lock replaced. You heard the snap and look down and see the key has snapped in two leaving the most important part inside the lock. If you think about it, those keys rattle around all day (think about them in a purse, or pocket, etc.).
Normal wear & tear can affect how the key works with the lock. The good news is that it’s a pretty common problem and there are some easy ways to use tools to get that broken key out of the lock. Here’s what to do in certain situations:
Part of the Key Is Sticking Out of the Lock
If the key has broken in the lock and there is a small piece sticking out, then chances are good you’ll be able to get the key piece out of the lock yourself. You can try to pinch it out with your fingers, or you may need to grab the end with a pair of needle nose pliers and remove it. Having said that, the hardest part of this option may be getting access to the pliers if they are inside the house and you are stuck outside. We do recommend keeping a pair that either are part of a multi-tool or a stand-alone pair in your car. Those needle nose pliers will surely come in handy for a multitude of uses, being stuck outside your house is no exception!
None of the Key Is Sticking Out of the Lock
Well, now this is a different story. Although we won’t say this scenario is Mission Impossible, your odds of removing the broken key when there isn’t any of it sticking out are slim at best. First, you’ll need to be able to see at least a portion of the broken key inside the lock. If you can see it, there’s a small chance you can get it. Channel your inner spy and grab a small, thin screwdriver (like a jewelers screwdriver) with a flat head. If you can get the blade of the screwdriver in with the broken part of the key and edge it backwards until part of it is sticking out, you can then use your fingers or needle nose pliers to pull it out as described above.
Call a Professional Locksmith to Replace Damaged Locks and Cylinders
In either case, if you’ve been successful at getting the broken key out of the house and managed to get back in to grab your spare key, you will want to schedule time for a locksmith to come out in the near future and replace the lock. Most times, there is damage to the cylinder and other parts of the lock.
If you have any questions or need to have a lock replaced after experiencing a broken key, call us to schedule an appointment at 303-974-0215.