Broken keys are a frustrating problem that can occur unexpectedly. They can leave you feeling stranded and helpless, but fortunately, there are steps you can take to extract the broken key. In this ultimate guide, we’ll go over the common causes of broken keys, the steps to extracting a broken key, techniques for extracting a broken key, when to call a professional, and prevention tips.
Common Causes of Broken Keys
There are several common causes of broken keys, including:
- Excessive force
Applying too much force when turning the key can cause it to break inside the lock.
- Wear and tear
Over time, keys can become worn or bent, making them more susceptible to breaking.
- Faulty locks
Faulty locks can cause keys to break more easily, especially if they are old or damaged.
- Cold weather
Cold weather can cause locks to become stiff and more difficult to turn, which can increase the likelihood of a key breaking.
- Improper key usage
Using keys for purposes other than what they were designed for, such as using them as screwdrivers or pry bars, can weaken the metal and cause them to break more easily.
Steps to Extracting a Broken Key
If your key breaks inside the lock, follow these steps to extract it:
- Stop turning the key immediately
Continuing to try to turn the key can cause it to break further and make extraction more difficult.
- Use pliers or tweezers to remove any protruding pieces
If there are any pieces of the key sticking out, try to remove them with pliers or tweezers.
- Use a lubricant
Apply a lubricant, such as WD-40 or graphite, to the lock to help loosen the key.
- Use a key extractor tool
A key extractor tool is a special tool designed for removing broken keys from locks. Insert the tool into the lock and use it to hook the broken key and pull it out.
Techniques for Extracting a Broken Key
If you don’t have a key extractor tool, or if the key is too far inside the lock to reach with the tool, there are other techniques you can try:
- Use a jigsaw blade or hacksaw blade
Insert the blade into the lock and try to catch the broken key with the teeth. Pull the blade out slowly, along with the broken key.
- Use a small screwdriver or needle
Insert the tool into the lock and try to hook the broken key. Pull the tool out slowly, along with the broken key.
- Use a super glue
Apply a small amount of super glue to the end of a toothpick or cotton swab, and insert it into the lock. Stick it to the broken key and wait for the glue to dry. Then, pull the key out slowly.
Extracting a Broken Key: When to Call a Professional
If you’re unable to extract the broken key yourself, or if you don’t feel comfortable trying, it’s best to call a professional locksmith. Attempting to extract the key yourself can cause further damage to the lock, which can be costly to repair.
Conclusion: Extracting a Broken Key & Prevention
Extracting a broken key can be a frustrating and time-consuming process, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done. Extracting a broken key can be a frustrating experience, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done. It’s important to take steps to prevent broken keys from happening in the first place by using keys only for their intended purpose, avoiding excessive force, maintaining locks, and keeping them lubricated. If you’re unable to extract the key yourself, it’s best to call a professional locksmith to avoid further damage and expense. To prevent broken keys in the future, take the following steps:
Can I use a broken key as a spare?
It’s not recommended to use a broken key as a spare. Broken keys are weaker than intact keys and can break more easily, which can cause further problems.
How can I prevent keys from breaking in the first place?
To prevent keys from breaking, make sure you use keys only for their intended purpose, avoid applying excessive force when turning them, regularly maintain locks to ensure they’re working properly, and keep locks lubricated.
How much does it cost to extract a broken key?
The cost of extracting a broken key can vary depending on the complexity of the job and the location of the lock. It’s best to call a professional locksmith for an estimate.
Can I use DIY methods to extract a broken key?
While there are DIY methods for extracting a broken key, it’s important to be careful and use the right tools. Attempting to extract a key without the proper tools or expertise can cause further damage to the lock. It’s best to call a professional locksmith for help.