Broken Key Extraction

by Joe Ferguson on February 26, 2013

Broken Key

A lot of us have locked our keys in the car, rendering it a useless hunk of metal and making ourselves feel less than intelligent. While it may be a fairly simple fix to free a set of locked-in keys – either through DIY methods or by calling an auto locksmith – what do you do if your key just snaps right in half when trying to turn it in your car door’s lock?

There are plenty of DIY methods for retrieving your captive keys – most notably the coat hanger trick. It’s not a sure-fire method, but it can sometimes produce the satisfying result of popping your car door open.

It’s not as simple a task to extract broken keys from your car. Even if you get the damaged pieces of key out of the lock, you’re not going to be able to utilize the useless key.

There are a couple ways to attempt a DIY broken key retrieval, but do so at your own risk! There’s no telling how much more damage a frustrated amateur could end up causing when it comes to any kind of automobile work.

The simplest DIY way to retrieve the broken key pieces would be with needle-nose pliers. This method will only work if you can see the broken pieces, grab a firm hold, and slowly pull the damaged key parts out of the lock.

The other method is a little trickier and could end up costing you more money than swallowing your pride to call a locksmith.  It involves using something skinny like a toothpick and coating it in Superglue. Before the glue dries, you’re supposed to stick it into the lock and wait for the toothpick and key fragments to bond, then pull the broken key out.

The first technique seems fairly simple, but if the second method is executed poorly, you just may end up ruining your door lock by clogging it full of Superglue.

Our advice: if you can’t pull out visible key fragments with a set of needle-nose pliers, call a professional auto locksmith. They have specialized tools for just this situation. Face it; you’re going to have to call them to get the key remade, anyway. You might as well kill two birds with one stone and have the same guys who extract the broken key recreate a new one for you.

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