Imagine a situation where you have an early morning presentation at work and you are already late. While trying to catch up on your morning routine in haste, you try to lock your door by quickly inserting the key.
And just when you do not have the luxury of time, you hear a snapping sound only to find out that your key has broken inside the keyhole. How would you react? Panic? Or look for ways for a broken key extraction.
Even though this is a hypothetical situation, but it can occur with anyone. In fact, mishaps have a sensor, they happen right at the time when you are in a hurry.
To help you give some peace of mind in case such a situation comes up, we have compiled this comprehensive article that will guide you in detail on what to do if your key snaps inside the keyhole.
Let’s be real, not all of us have the luxury to call a residential or automotive locksmith service immediately.
What are the reasons for keys snapping inside the lock?
Keys can break for multiple reasons. However, here are the most common causes for keys snapping inside the keyhole:
- Issues with manufacturing can cause the keys to breaking.
- Generally, the keys are constructed out of malleable metals, that are susceptible to breaking
- Over time, with usage, the keys can deteriorate and lose their strength
- The lock or the keyhole at a time is rough that can cause the keys to jam inside and hence break
What can one do after the key snaps inside the lock?
Regardless of the reason behind your keys snapping inside the keyhole, it is a situation that requires immediate attention. No matter where you are, whether at work, home, or locked outside of your car.
More than causing frustration, a broken key can damage the lock if it is not immediately extracted. Let’s say your key broke inside before you closed the door, then you will be unable to close the door or leave your house. This presents a constant threat of intrusion or robbery. The broken key can actually cause damage to the lock.
On the other hand, if your key broke after you shut the dorm, then you can leave your house but you will be unable to re-enter. Either way, you will be in trouble.
How can you easily extract your broken key from the lock or the keyhole?
In case your key has snapped inside the keyhole or the lock and a part of it is protruding outwards, then the situation is not as bad as it seems.
You can hold the protruding part in between your thumb and index finger and simply pull out the key. You can also use tweezers or something from your tool kit to extract the key out. Either way, it is a win-win situation for you.
What tools come in handy for extracting broken keys?
If only a tiny portion of the protruding key is visible, then you have a challenging extraction task ahead of you. You can use a tweezer, or a magnet to extract this key. These are the only two tools that will come in handy at this point.
What to do if there is no protruding part of the broken key?
If the broken key has no part protruding outwards, then you may not be able to easily extract it without assistance. The job becomes even harder if you do not want to cause any damage to your lock or keyhole.
You can use a screwdriver of a small size that can easily be inserted inside the keyhole or the lock. With the help of this screwdriver, you can loosen up the stuck key inside and position it in a way that it can be extracted out. Even if you manage to protrude a small portion out, you can extract it using pliers or a magnet.
But, you need to tread very skillfully here, otherwise, you can end up damaging your lock or the keyhole. If you cannot do this easily, it is smart to call a locksmith.
Is there any way to prevent keys from snapping inside locks?
Yes, there are certain ways you can adopt that will keep your keys from snapping inside locks or keyholes. Honestly, why one should get themselves into trouble that could have been prevented in the first place? Here is how:
Lubricate your locks and keyholes
As already mentioned above, keys can snap inside the locks and keyholes simply because the locks are not well-lubricated.
Keep a good-quality lubricant or oil-based lubricant with you at all times, and frequently lubricate the locks and keyholes. Each time you hear grinding noise when you insert your keys, know that it is time for lubrication.
Get extra keys
Keys are something that is roughly used and hence can easily get damaged. This is one of the reasons why they snap or break. Hence, you must keep spare keys with you at all times or get one made if you think they are deteriorating in their strength.