Broken Key Extraction

Locked out of a car or a house? We are ready to help you in any emergency



If you have a broken fragment of the mechanical part of the key stuck in the locking mechanism, there are several proven ways for the key extraction procedure. Our team would like to emphasize that each specific situation has its own most optimal option for removing the key because the task is not only to pull out the fragment but also to keep the lock in working order. Therefore, we warn our clients against independent attempts to repair the lock – without appropriate knowledge and tools, the locking mechanism can be damaged. In addition, key extraction from the lock may subsequently require the restoration of the lost copy, which can only be done in a workshop.


Please, be aware! Several resources give tips for removing keys using super glue. Allegedly, there is a possibility of glueing the two halves by smearing the piece right in the lock and leaning the second part of the key against it. This is the dumbest advice, after which you will not reach your goal, and likely, will ruin the lock. Locks full of glue with a key still inside, are often brought to us for repairs – none of them can be restored to a working condition.

Any of us may find himself in the situation when the key breaks in the cylinder while opening or closing a door lock. To solve the problem, the owner will probably have to completely change the entire cylinder, first destroying the locking mechanism.

However, there are several methods to get a fragment of the key out of the lock. This will require a set of tools and a little time. In 90% of cases, it will be possible to maintain the integrity of the cylinder, which will save the budget and eliminate the need to replace the mechanism in the door.

First, you need to accurately determine the cause of the breakdown:

  • Wear of the inner parts of the core, due to which considerable force had to be applied when opening the mechanism.
  • Key was made of low-quality materials; some manufacturers use an alloy of metals that easily crack under stress.
  • Lock was opened incorrectly while the key was not fully inserted.
  • Tools such as pliers, screwdriver and hammer were used to pull out a key.

To prevent the key from fragmenting in the lock, it is necessary to react promptly to the first signs of a problem. For example, when the lock begins to open tightly, you should take care of maintenance by lubricating the product and checking the mechanism for wear. It will be challenging to pull the key out of the door lock after the inner parts of the core grind off during long-term operation.  This is another indication of the fact that the locking element may soon get stuck and break off when opened.

In most cases, cylinder wear signals an imminent need to replace it. But during operation, do not forget about periodic lubrication of the internal mechanisms with WD-40 or silicone oil.

If you can’t remove the fragmented key from the lock cylinder, you need to prepare the following set of tools:

  • Powerful magnet.
  • Two pins of medium or large size.
  • Flathead screwdriver.
  • Jigsaw file.
  • Grease (silicone oil or equivalent).

There are two ways to get the piece:

  • Non-destructive. The integrity of the cylinder is preserved, and the lock remains functional.
  • The inner elements of the locking mechanism are damaged, and the core must be replaced.

The choice of method depends on the situation. Initially, it is worth trying to get the key out while maintaining the integrity of the locking mechanism. To facilitate removal, it is necessary to lubricate the device with oil or WD-40 multipurpose agent. After waiting for about 10 minutes, you should proceed to the first attempt to retrieve the key.

The easiest way is to use a powerful magnet that can remove the stuck metal key. The magnet should be applied tightly, then slowly pulled towards you, following the movement of the fragmented key piece. Lubrication is especially helpful, which reduces the friction of the metal. Please note that an element blocked inside will not succumb to even the strongest magnet.

The second method involves the use of tweezers if there is a chance to grab the edge of a stuck fragment protruding in the cylinder. Pliers serve as an alternative to tweezers, but to use them, the key must protrude at least a few millimetres so that you can firmly grab it.

If both of the above methods did not work, you should try to get the key with a file from a jigsaw. Insert the flexible file into the core and slightly turn it so that the teeth touch the key and catch on the projections; this may require several tries. After that, you need to remove the file along with the debris

If you don’t have a magnet, pliers or jigsaw, you can use two medium to large pins. The needles should be inserted into the top and bottom of the keyhole while pressing the key on both sides. After that, you need to loosen the fragment, swinging the piece. Do not forget to slightly pull it towards you, retrieving the key out of the lock by a millimetre. You can also use a sturdy pin as a lever by prying the fragmented key inside the keyhole from the bottom or top. A few attempts should be enough to partially get out the key piece so you can grab it with the hands.

Next method involves using a self-tapping screw with a small diameter of about 1-2 mm and a drill. The essence of this method is to create a hole at the end of the stuck key, into which you need to place the screw to a depth of 0.5-1 cm. This is enough to catch on the head with your fingers or a tool and try to pull out the key.

If none of the methods worked, you should contact a professional locksmith service to extract the key or open the door. This is necessary to replace the cylinder and further trouble-free operation of the structure.

You can drill through the cylinder along with the internal key fragment; the diameter of the bit should be 6-10 mm. This will allow you to manually open the lock, gaining access to the mechanism to remove the core. After drilling, all metal shavings and parts of the cylinder are removed, and the lock is opened manually using a flat-tipped screwdriver.

We strongly recommend avoiding independent attempts to open the door lock without a key. This is not an easy task without proper knowledge, skills and tools. You may end up paying more for the repairs than if you would have contacted a locksmith right away. Add to this the possibility of harming yourself; injuries are all too common in our line of work. Besides, saving on the security of the premises is never a good idea. Call us at 02045136991 for advice and reliable locksmith service near you.


Best practices

Result is guaranteed!

Absolutely every operation, performed by our masters, is under guarantee, that is why you do not need to worry. We are doing our job seriously and always willing to help clients with emerging problems.


Highest quality and security

Reliable techniques

We use both traditional and modern methods to fix and upgrade your lock and exclude potential damage:

  • When you need to get fast access to your property, vehicle or safe.
  • In case you are willing to improve your lock, making it more secure and durable.

Experienced locksmiths are ready to help you!

Call us right now and get the most qualified help right on the spot!

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Our locksmith specialists

Expertise in key copying, door and window lock replacement and quality repair. Available for 24 hours in case of emergency.


Gerald Jackson



Peter Harrison



Brian Bader