SE Locksmith : 24 hour Emergency Service in South East London Email: [email protected] Call now ( 24hr available ) : 07830431343 07830431343
SE Locksmith : 24 hour Emergency Service in South East London Email: [email protected] Call now ( 24hr available ) : 07830431343 07830431343

If you have just found your key snapped in lock, this article is for you. A broken key in a lock might feel like a real emergency. Most of the time, it really is. In London, no one has time to waste waiting outside. Also, there’s a big chance to be raining anytime soon – because we’re in London duh! If you are in this position, this article should be a must-read.

So, when your key snaps off in your lock, you’ll have a shock. Moreover, for a short period, you’ll hope that you’ll manage to get in somehow. For sure, you are thinking at least to open the door somehow. Definitely, you’ll try to sort the snapped key into the lock later on. But, here’s the catch: you have to get inside without damaging the lock. Otherwise, you’ll have to replace the entire lock and you still have a problem.

Analyze your situation first

Firstly, make sure that you have read this entire post before proceeding. Of course, there will be one optimal approach to your lock and remove your broken key. But are you going to be able to do it by yourself? We’ll see. In most cases, the best approach has to be determined by every specific situation.

What happened when you locked the door last time? What equipment do you have? Also, how far into the lock is the broken key? If the situation doesn’t look too tricky, you might try to operate the lock yourself. After reading the scenarios down below, maybe you’ll be able to discover what works for you.

We have to insist, please be careful with the way you try to remove the key and open the door. If you can’t get the broken key out of the lock with ease, it might be easier to ask an expert to come over.

What causes keys to break in locks?

A key can break in a lock for a variety of reasons. If the key snapped in lock is broken deep into the locking mechanism, we would suggest you try and get in touch with a professional locksmith company right away.

Anyway, the cause might be the normal wear and tear. To begin with, the key itself may have deteriorated with time, making it more prone to snap when turned (particularly if done in rush with extreme force). Alternatively, the lock may be malfunctioning or its mechanism has been blocked with debris. We’ll look at some of the most prevalent causes of keys breaking into locks and how to avoid them.

A Key That Is Weak

First things first, let’s analyze the key. What material are the keys made of? In most cases, the regular keys contain brass, a soft metal that isn’t as sturdy as we think.

Because keys are composed of soft metal, they are less expensive to produce and easier to modify. Therefore, a key accident can happen if, for example, the copy doesn’t fit exactly the lock.

Moreover, rather than breaking the original key into the lock, there are bigger chances to break a copy of the key. Most significantly, making keys from soft metals reduces the likelihood of them damaging the door lock when you insert them.

Why would a key break in a lock?

Another reason why a key can easily deteriorate is that it’s been used for a different purpose than opening your door. For example, we all know the beer opening trick, isn’t it?

Most likely, after using a key a different way than to gain access inside your house, that key is prone to damage. The soft metal of the key used for seemingly benign purposes other than their intended use could easily cause a lockout. From here, a key snapped in lock is the next step sooner or later.

So, using your key to open packages or paint tins, for example, is likely to wear the teeth of the key down. From here, when you put the key in your back pocket or loosely knock around in your purse, it stresses the body, causing the key to bend.

In other words, when a key gets damaged, it is far more likely to break off or get caught within the lock.

In conclusion, just try and use keys just for their intended purpose. We would advise you to try and keep them secured in tiny compartments within your bag, so they don’t travel and “bounce about” too much. More than that, if it’s hot, keep them out of direct sunlight. Another tip would be to avoid sitting on them. So, please try not to place them in your back pocket.

Is your door lock the problem?

Of course, the locks are also exposed to damage all time. Usually, locks degrade as a result of faulty installation, excessive temperature variations, dirt buildup in internal mechanisms, and/or harsh key manipulation. To prevent the possibility of lock damage while your key snapped in lock, we recommend lubricating locks at least once a year. This way, you will maintain the mechanism and it will run smoothly for a longer time.

Lubricate the lock to prevent key snapped in lock

Contrary to common opinion, try not to use WD-40 for this purpose. First of all, WD-40 is a solvent and not a lubricant. Therefore, it may remove any lubrication that is already in the lock cylinder. Second of all, you can try to use a lubricant based on Teflon, silicone, or graphite. For example, you can try something like Du Pont Multi-Use.

In conclusion, if you feel your lock isn’t operating as smoothly as it should, we recommend changing it as soon as possible. This way you’ll avoid breaking your key in the lock or, worse, a break-in. Why wait until you see the key snapped in lock when you can prevent the whole thing?

If you know what type of lock you require and you wish to install it yourself, just browse it online and go ahead. But, if you need a professional locksmith to come and replace your faulty lock, we can come over anytime. SE Locksmith can come to oversupply your lock and fit it for you in minutes. So, just get in touch and we’ll come over.

Avoid excessive force when key snapped in lock

First, you should never use force when using your door. In time, this method of opening your door can cause damage not only to your lock but to the door, as well. Instead, work with the lock anytime you feel that getting access to your home is not an easy process.

Intentional or not, you can use excessive force in many cases. For example, you’re in a hurry, carrying other objects (such as shopping bags), or have a stiff door lock (which you should replace), you’re likely to use too much effort to open the door. Therefore, you will put pressure on your key to unlock your door.

So, try and use your key appropriately, all the time, without using too much effort. This way you will reduce the danger of getting your key snapped in lock. If you are trapped outside with a half-turned lock that is blocking your way in, stop forcing the door and call a professional.

What’s the reason my key is stuck in lock?

Do you know why are you in this situation? It’s important to examine the key snapped in lock you’re in before taking action. For example, an important indicator would be the length of time the key was twisted. Try and think about what happened before your key got stuck. This important fact can provide some insight into the problem. For example, what’s the position of your key and your lock and the moment? Here are some scenarios:

  • The key will not turn in the lock.

If the key hasn’t turned at all and it is not snapped in lock, it’s probably because you tried to use the wrong key. It can also be just a badly cut copy or a damaged key you didn’t examine first. To begin with, try to open the lock with a new key if possible. Please make sure it’s the right one. Also, lubricate your lock with a Teflon, silicone, or graphite-based lubricant first. Avoid WD-40 because that’s not it’s purpose. More than that, if the key still won’t turn and it was recently cut, return it to the key cutters for a redo. If it is not a recently cut key, it might be a hint that the lock needs to be replaced.

  • The key is stuck and only halfway turned.

If the key isn’t turning in the lock but has partially turned before being stuck, this might indicate a lock failure or faulty lock operation. In this case, most likely you’ll need a locksmith. A key halfway turned might indicate that you need to replace the lock.

In any instance, do not continue to force the key into the lock. The easiest way is to seek professional help. Otherwise, you risk damaging the key within the lock.

Don’t do this if your key breaks inside a lock

If your key has broken off within your door lock, it may be tempting to keep pressing to force the lock open. But, if you have your key snapped in lock already, it’s better to stop pushing and analyze the situation.

Force pushing is likely to do more harm than good since it will embed your key even deeper into the door lock. This way, it’s making it more difficult to extract (even for a professional locksmith). The best idea for you, if you think you can do this, is to try and extract the key out. Please try to do this only if the key is visible and easy to operate. If you will push the key further into the lock, it might be impossible to extract.

How to extract a broken key from a lock

If your key becomes trapped within your door lock, there are some basic household objects you may try and use to extract the broken key yourself. More details about this are down below. But, if the key is stuck really well, or if you do not have access to any materials, we recommend contacting the emergency locksmith near you.

key snapped in lock, a new lock replacement

How to extract a broken key from a lock on your own

Most of these scenarios need some practice to lead to success, hence the locksmiths are a must ( most of the time). Their expertise is gained through years of practice – SE Locksmith is an emergency company with locksmiths working across South East London for years already! Like many other things, it’s so simple to break something and so difficult to repair it. But you might get lucky! Maybe you will be able to solve this after all. Here is some guidance on what you can do next:

First step: Don’t use your key anymore

Many individuals believe that if their key breaks in the lock, they may still want to unlock it by inserting the remaining key. Do not attempt this! That’s a big NO! You will drive the fractured section of the blade farther into the lock if you try to reinsert your key. The remaining part of the key that is inside the lock will be much easier to extract if the key is not too deep stuck inside. So, the further back the key is, the more difficult it will be to proceed with an extraction.

Also, some of these ways may not work in your case, it all depends on how far you insert the key into the lock.

Firstly, put away the broken component. However, don’t get rid of it, just in case. Keep your half so you can provide both halves to your locksmith or local hardware store. A key cut specialist can create a new key using both halves of your key if the lock can be saved.

Immediate Preparation

This is optional, but with this preparation step, there’s a better chance to succeed. Also, the entire process will be more smooth.

To begin, add lubricant to the keyway. Ideally, as we mentioned already, the lubricant should be a graphite spray lubricant or another type of dry lubricant. Oil-based lubricants, such as WD-40, will work, but they may clog the lock’s internals.

Please note, the main disadvantage of using a graphite spray is that it will discolor objects. So, before spraying, make sure the lubrication nozzle is positioned within the keyway. Moreover, you’ll also need a cloth or paper towel to wipe up any excess lubrication that has spilled out of the keyway.

Grab a set of needle-nose pliers as well, since while these methods will remove the damaged key, pliers will help you get it out faster. Once enough of the key is exposed, just pull it off with your pliers.

Useful Materials if Key Snapped In Lock

It might be tough to keep track of what we have to carry on every time when leaving the house. It is obvious that the extrapolation of similar materials may be difficult when reading about thin metal or matches. So here are some items you could have on you or around you that will assist you in getting your key out of the lock.

1. Small tweezers

When the key snaps in the lock, instinctively most people will go for the tweezers. The thickness of your tweezers and the distance to the broken key (that is in the lock) are really important to succeed. For example, most tweezers are too little for this operation and will only push the key farther into the keyway.

Check that your tweezers can open wide enough to fit around the key but are not too thick to fit around the edges of the key. Because of the warding on most keyways, standard tweezers will not fit.

Using tweezers to extract a broken key from a lock works best if there is some of the key protruding from the keyhole. When the key is too far back, the likelihood of you pressing it farther in increases dramatically. Only use this procedure if you are completely sure of your abilities and tweezers.

2. Key Extractor for Broken Keys

Of course, an expert would use a broken key extraction tool. If the locksmith you hire does not create their own tools (which is likely), this is the tool they will use. To utilize this tool, insert it into the keyway along the key’s bitting. To be more specific, you’ll be attempting to hook the teeth on the key with the hook on the extractor. Turn and pull once along the biting, and the key should be grabbed and removed.

Usually, this requires many attempts. Also, it is not guaranteed that the key in your lock can be extracted. Definitely, it depends on how deep is inserted the broken part. A locksmith will know exactly how to proceed when he sees the lock in real life (a description of the lock by the phone is not sufficient for an accurate verdict).

3. Jigsaw Disc

If you don’t want to spend money on a specialized broken key extractor, you may construct one out of a little jigsaw blade. What you need is a tiny piece of metal that will fit in your keyhole with your broken key, thus the smaller the better.

Break the blade using needle tip pliers if necessary so that the serrated edge may be inserted into the lock. If your blade’s serrations are at an angle, insert the blade into the keyway so that the serrations point back toward you.

This will make it easier for the blade to enter and hook the key. You may use this in the same way that you would a broken key extractor by aligning the serrations on the blade with the bitting on the key. Your broken key should come out with a turn and a pull. If the key does not come out on the first try, simply try again. This approach is ideal if you have some blades lying around (maybe a neighbor has) or the ability to travel to a hardware shop.

4. Press the Cylinder

You must be able to direct the keyway down toward the ground in order to tap the cylinder. This approach may work if you have a padlock or are able to remove a cylinder. Strike the lock with a hammer when it is positioned with the keyhole facing down. This would be wonderful if you could crash the cylinder onto a solid surface.

I would prefer striking the keyway side of the lock rather than the rear of the lock, but it should work either way. The secret to this procedure is to keep the lock stationary long enough for gravity to pull the broken key out.

This approach is rarely used, but when it is, it requires very few specialized instruments. If you have hit the lock while performing this approach, consider having a locksmith fix the lock core or change the lock. If the lock core is damaged, it will cause other problems later on. Don’t risk a lockout in the future when you can prevent such a thing from the comfort of your house.

5. Pull and Probe

In the last case, you may probe the keyway with two thin pieces of metal and take out the key.

So, arrange a metal piece on both sides of the key (that interacts with the lock’s warding). You don’t have to go very far to put your tools in. At this moment, simply insert them far enough so that you can apply strong pressure. Then bring the broken key closer to you. This will most likely simply shift the key out a few millimeters. Apply the process again, and you’ll be able to extract the key bit by bit. In addition to tugging, you might try prying the damaged key out.

Turn your wrists inward, nearly sliding the key out, while both pieces of metal are in the keyway. If you are proficient in the different ways of lock picking or have lock picks on hand, these might be ideal instruments for the job.

Just extract the broken key yourself

You should be able to extract a broken key from any lock using any of these ways. If it’s possible to be saved, it will be easy. As long as you have the proper materials and some experience, it is worth trying out.

Anyway, remember to take your time. Rushing these steps is a definite way to transform a possibly easy key snapped situation into a nightmare. Slowing down is frequently the most effective approach to save time and your lock.

key snapped in lock solved by SE Locksmith

How much does it cost to get a broken key out of a lock? Can you open a lock with a broken key?

When should you contact a locksmith?

To avoid damage to your lock and door, more intricate locks will necessitate the removal of the damaged key by a professional locksmith (if possible). Sometimes, the situation requires the lock to be drilled or changed. So, it all depends on your particular door and lock. A locksmith is knowledgeable with a variety of locks and will know the quickest and easiest technique to remove a damaged key from your door lock.

If you find yourself in the following situations, you should contact a locksmith:

  • You’re in rush: any locksmith will remove pretty quickly the key from your lock (if a key removal is possible). They have to deal with hundreds of damaged keys weekly. Threfore, they will be able to do it swiftly and efficiently. Otherwise, they will give you the best alternative. Don’t worry, a locksmith will be able to unlock most of the doors but the method of opening may vary: from non-distructive to drilling through the lock.
  • Don’t know the lock really well: maybe you have just moved in and you are not sure how complicated your lock system is. In this case, we would suggest to not even try to remove the ke by yourself. If you are not careful when attempting to remove a broken key from a lock, the pins and mechanisms within the lock can be easily destroyed. In these situations, the experience and the approach of the lock are vital. Therfore, call a professional if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Even after reading our suggestion, you still don’t understand how to try and to extract the broken key yourself. In this case, a professional locksmith is the only way to ensure that the key is removed accurately and that the lock functions properly. Don’t risk the security of your house.

Call SE Locksmith when key snapped in lock

A damaged lock compromises your home security and makes you exposed to break-ins. It is critical to get it fixed and operating properly as soon as possible. So, whether you can do it yourself or need to call someone else, you’ll need a solution.

Don’t forget, a key removed from the lock can cause damage to the lock. So, take into consideration the possibility of a lock replacement at any time. As a result, if necessary, it is an excellent moment to update your locks and to improve the level of security of your door.

key snapped in lock

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