Locks and keys are a part of everyday life, and we usually use them without any trouble. But, when something goes wrong with a lock or key, it can sometimes go terribly wrong. What could be worse than losing your keys or locking yourself out of your home, office, or car? Turning your key to lock or unlock the door only to find your key stuck in lock or worse, broken off with part of the key stuck inside.
Key cylinders are spring loaded with a series of pins that allow the cylinder to be turned when the proper key is inserted. Keys get stuck or won’t turn when the key grooves have become worn, the wrong key is inserted, it has been re-keyed improperly, screws have become loose, or there is dirt or grime preventing the key from inserting properly or the tumblers from turning smoothly. Sometimes, this will result in the key to either getting stuck or breaking off entirely inside the lock.
When your key is stuck inside the lock, the first and most important thing to do is to not panic. Think clearly, and evaluate the situation. There are do-it-yourself methods, but the most time efficient way to get the key out without damaging your locks is to contact a professional locksmith.
Methods for extracting a key include:
- Using a key extractor tool
- Tapping the lock
- Using a probe and pull method
- Pushing the key
- Lubricating the lock
- Using tweezers or scissors
- Last resort is drilling
Key Extractor Tools
A professional who is skilled at key extractions will show up with the tools and know how required to get the key out of the lock without damaging your locks, probably with the use of a key extractor tool. This is a fast and simple way to get the key safely out in a matter of minutes. The technician will first determine whether or not the key is stuck or if the blade has broken off deep within the lock. The expert will also provide you with a spare or new key and make sure your lock is in working order or recommend a change of locks.
Car Ignition or Boot Key Extractions
When your key is stuck inside your ignition or boot, a professional locksmith will be able to extract the key but with a slightly different method than the ones used on home or office door locks. An expert can usually remove your key from your car door, boot, or ignition without leaving any damage. This requires the use of a special key extraction tool.
There are preventative steps to take to make ensure your key never gets stuck in the lock. Often, a key breaks off in the lock because we are in a hurry and turn it with more force than usual. Slow down, and take your time to lock or unlock your door smoothly. As simple as it sounds, make sure you are using the right key. If you carry several keys on a key chain, this is easier to confuse one key for another than you might imagine. Another tip for preventing a key stuck in lock is to make sure your locks and keys are properly maintained by cleaning out dirt or debris and making sure they are properly lubricated. If you notice wear and tear on your lock or your key, look into having it repaired, a new key cut, or new locks installed. Even when you take preventative measures, keys can still get stuck or break.
When you find your key stuck in lock, it’s time to contact a professional locksmith who will be able to show up at your location to extract your key without damaging your locks and provide you with a duplicate key, or change your lock on the spot.