How to Remove a Broken Key from a Lock

Step-by-step guide to remove the broken key and prevent future incidents

How to Remove a Broken Key from a Lock

We use them every day, so it is normal for keys to eventually wear down. In addition, all locks are exposed to inclement weather, which is unpredictable throughout the year.

Over time, both keys and locks rust and it becomes increasingly difficult to turn them. If you are not careful and don’t notice the appearance of rust or cracks, something unfortunate may happen to you: with the key breaking inside the lock. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common mishap, both at home and in offices, or even in the car.

Because of their numerous advantages - one of which is to prevent such situations from occurring - at Omnitec Systems we promote the use of electronic locks. But what can you do if this happens to you, and there seems no way to get a broken key out of a lock? Don't worry! Before you call a professional locksmith, there are several tricks you can try to solve it yourself. You only need a bit of dexterity and some simple tools.

In this post, we are going to show you the essential steps to remove a broken key from a lock.

1. Turn the cylinder to its original position

First of all, take a good look at whether the cylinder with the broken key is in the locked or unlocked position. It´s easiest when it is in one or the other because the key will sit vertically in the lock. If not, you need to get the cylinder into one of its usual positions: open or closed.

Using a thin screwdriver, turn the cylinder slot until it is vertical, in its normal position. This can also be done with a long hook you can bend into position.

If you don't take this first step, removing a broken key from a lock is almost impossible!

2. Lubricate the lock

Once you have the cylinder in the proper position, you may need some oil for lubrication before removing the broken key from the lock.

Only a few drops are needed to lubricate it well and thus reduce the internal friction points in the mechanism, helping you remove the broken key more easily.

3. Take out the broken key

Now it's time to remove the broken key from the lock. You can choose any of these methods for this, all of which are effective:

    • A strong magnet: The classic way to remove a broken key from a lock is with a magnet, as many keys are usually made of cobalt or nickel. Of course, it must be a strong magnet to be powerful enough for the magnetism to do its job.
    • Narrow clamps or pliers: Either device can help you in this situation, but only if part of the key sticks out a bit. If the key does not stick out, it is better to use another method or you could damage the lock.
    • Silicone bar: A silicone bar can be very useful for removing a broken key from a lock. How is this done? You melt one of its ends and press it on the lock. When the glue hardens, carefully pull on it. Hopefully, the key will be stuck to it and come out completely.
    • A pen and a lighter: Recently, the BIC pen and lighter trick has gone viral on social media and it can help you too. Empty the pen, melt its tip using a lighter and stick it to the lock – just like with the silicone bar. Wait a few moments until the plastic sticks to the key, then pull it out little by little!
    • A metal clip: Its thinness and flexibility make it a viable option. Before you start, grease the lock to make movement easier. Unfold the clip into a straight line with a small hook on the end. Insert the hook into the lock and carefully hook and remove the broken key. This method is ideal if the broken key does not protrude from the lock.

    4. Take your key to the locksmith

    Once you finally manage to remove the broken key, don’t throw it away. We suggest you take it to a locksmith for repair or get him to cut a new one.

    Remember, it’s always best to have a spare key, just in case a situation like this occurs.

    5. Forget all about broken keys and get an Omnitec electronic lock

    If you don't want the same thing to happen to you again, you have two options: take very good care of your keys to minimise wear and tear or get a new lock. In our opinion, the best thing you can do is change the lock for an electronic lock.

    At Omnitec, we have been manufacturing and selling this type of lock for over 15 years. Together with our safes, access controls and mobility sensors, electronic locks have become our flagship product: sold in more than 70 countries, and especially in the hotel sector.

    Omnitec electronic locks can never split or break, as they do not need actual keys. They are opened via a keyboard and numerical code, by proximity or even your mobile, via Bluetooth. Hence, safety and convenience are two of their great advantages.

    If you are interested in this solution for your business or home, contact our professional team. We will be happy to help and advise you in choosing the product that best suits your needs.