How to extract a broken key from a lock: Using Simple Tools And Common Sense

How to extract a broken key from a lock: Using Simple Tools And Common Sense

Who knew that a broken key in the lock could be such fun? I bet you had no idea. But, if you have never tried this trick, at least once, you must have a rough idea of the process. In fact, Lock Pick Genius have some of the most fabulous broken key extractor tools which you can use to extract a broken key from a lock. However, the lack of proper tools can make the extraction exercise a daunting task. Read on to find the perfect tools to use and the straightforward techniques to employ.

The Reasons Why Keys Break Inside Locks

There are three reasons why keys break while they are being turned inside a lock.

  1. Excessive application of pressure: This could result from forcing the key into the lock or holding down on it when turning it in hopes that friction will extract the key.
  2. Normal wear and tear: A mushroomed tip can develop with time, which causes too much friction for a key to turn smoothly and regularly inside its mechanism. In such a case, you will simply need to extract the broken piece of metal from the lock before getting another copy cut from your original key blank.
  3. Deliberate breaking: This mainly occurs when a small piece of metal protrudes from the extractor hole. This is done by forcing the extractor into the lock just at the extractor hole and turning it to extract the broken key.

How Can I Extract A Broken Key From A Lock?

The process of extracting a broken key usually involves three standard procedures.

Gather your tools

To extract an embedded broken key, you only need two things, persistence and a lot of patience. However, you can lessen the job by using simple tools. These tools include a flat head screwdriver, also known as "jimmy's". Notably, a slotted or cross-head screwdriver is applicable. Other applicable tools include Pin Vise Grips, a sliding hammer tool for locks and a Key extractor. You can get all these from Lock Pick Genius.


Find the extractor hole 

Once you have gathered your tools, it's time to extract the broken key in the lock. Start by trying different approaches until you find an extractor tool that fits well into the extractor hole of the lock. Additionally, make sure that any extractors used are made of high-quality metal to prevent breakage.


Use the most ideal extractor tool

This process requires lots of persistence. Once you have found a suitable extractor tool, insert it carefully with gentle pressure until it completely penetrates the extractor hole in the lock.

While using the extractor tool, below are the guidelines to follow for a successful key extraction exercise

  • Apply some light but steady pressure to extract the key with the extractor tool: Continue the extraction process by turning the extractor gently and slowly clockwise. The key should be removed within a few turns. However, you may be required to use a screwdriver or pin vise grips with needle tips to help in pushing out the hardened broken keys.
  • Apply even pressure directly on the piece of metal protruding: This especially applies when using screwdrivers or other tools to remove embedded broken keys. Furthermore, this could cause minor damage, unlike jerking the screwdriver back and forth on metal parts inside. Also, avoid exerting too much pressure on the extractor tool. This may cause the lock to break or damage it ultimately.

How Can I Prevent Keys From Breaking Inside Locks?

To avoid another key breakage inside a lock, below are the considerations to make.

Ensure your keys are made using durable metal: The most common types of metal used in making keys are brass, bronze and silver alloys. However, every kind of metal contains its unique characteristics. Bronze is more rigid than brass but less complex than silver. On the other hand, brass has good strength or resistance against wear and tear. For this reason, the ideal material for making keys is silver alloy with appropriate hardness.

Make appropriate choices on the type of material for your preferred key: When choosing the proper kind of material for your keys, use these tips to ensure your keys don't break inside locks.

  1. Ensure the material of your key is appropriate for its use: Always choose a more rigid metal for higher security locks and softer metals for the less secure ones. For example, brass keys work well on sliding deadbolts, while bronze alloy works best on rim cylinders. The same principle applies to most cylinder type locks, especially with the fixed key operated door handles and rim cylinders in floorboards systems.
  2. Regularly check the status of extractor tools: Extractor tools should be regularly checked for damages. This is important because extractor tools are very delicate and can easily break if not taken care of properly.
  3. Extractor tools should be kept safely: This is essential to avoid unnecessary losses or damage due to negligence.

Avoid over-fitting extractor tool: A common mistake most individuals make when removing keys with extractors is over-fitting the extractor tool into the extractor hole of the lock. Furthermore, forcing an extractor tool into a lock may result in breakage, thus damaging your keys irreparably.

Always select the best extractor tool that works well with your lock: Extractor tools come in different sizes, shapes, and lengths to suit specific lock types and applications. Accordingly, ensure you have selected an extractor tool that best suits your lock application.

Avoid using tools like screwdrivers on locks unless absolutely necessary: Such devices may require a lot of pressure which may not be necessary on specific locks. Moreover, applying excessive pressure may damage the extractor or the cylinder causing permanent damage.

Always test extractor tools first before use: You can test them by gently trying them out on a doorknob to ensure they fit correctly without any difficulties.


Conclusion: If Your Keys Break In The Lock Phone A Professional

When issues cannot be handled by yourself, consider contacting a professional locksmith to extract your keys for you. Most skilled locksmiths have the right tools and equipment to remove broken keys from almost any type of lock without causing other permanent damages or leaving a mark behind in the lock.

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