How to Handle a Stuck or Broken Key

Two of the most frustrating and nerve-wracking lock situations are when your key either breaks or gets stuck in a lock. Both situations could result in you being locked out or unable to secure your door. Fortunately, a locksmith can help you in these cases. Here is more information about why keys break or get stuck, things to try to remedy the situation, and when to call a locksmith.

Why Do Keys Break or Get Stuck in Locks?

Keys wear down and get thin as they age. As the teeth wear, they are less likely to match with the lock. Plus, metal gets thin from handling it over time. Often, an older key starts to bend as it wears. Being in a hurry and dealing with a sticking lock at the same time increases the chance that you will put enough pressure on the key to break it.

Keys will stick either because the key is worn or something is wrong with the lock. The lock may have internal damage or need maintenance. Internal lock components and keyholes can also become misaligned. In some cases, a new key in an old lock may become stuck.

What Can Be Done for a Stuck or Broken Key?

If the key has broken, and there's still a bit sticking out from the lock, try to carefully remove the key from the lock. You may need tweezers or needle-nose pliers. A little lubricant sprayed around and into the keyhole may help. Be aware that broken keys can be sharp. If the key has broken inside the lock, then call a professional.

Sometimes, a stuck key can be removed with gentle jiggling. Spray lubricant may also help in this situation as well as it could loosen up stuck tumblers. Be careful with how much force you use or you could break the key. If you do manage to remove the key, contact a locksmith to have your lock checked out so it doesn't happen again.

How Can a Locksmith Help?

Locksmiths can help with many lock problems, especially stuck or broken keys. They can disassemble and reassemble the lock if necessary. In some situations, your entire lock assembly may need removal and replacement. If this is the case in your situation, consider upgrading your lock or even installing a keyless system.

Broken or stuck keys are not an uncommon problem. Most people have dealt with one or the other at some time in their lives. One way to prevent these situations is to perform regular maintenance on your locks and keep an eye on your keys' condition. Check to make sure the key is not starting to bend and check for tooth wear. For help with a broken or stuck key, contact a locksmith for help.