How To Remove A Broken Key

When a key breaks off in a door lock, don't panic about potentially sky-high locksmith fees. Here is how to remove it yourself.

Have you ever broken a key in a door lock and wondered how you would remove the broken piece? If you look inside the keyhole and can see part of your key, you will most likely be able to remove it without having to call a locksmith. Keep the right tools handy in your garage or shed, and this need not become a big operation. Gather up a few things and get started.

You will need needle nose pliers and lubricating spray. Many people prefer to use W-D-40 for lubrication; you can buy it at any hardware store, K-Mart, or even most drugstores. It is a good idea to keep some at home for a number of household repair or maintenance jobs. To prevent a key from breaking off in any of your interior or exterior doors, spray the locks with a lubricant every three months. In the winter do it monthly when the temperature plunges below freezing. Use a clean scrub cloth to catch or wipe away the excess that dribble out of the lock or spot the door frame.

The first thing to do is spray the broken key and lock. Give it a few minutes for the lubricating spray to work. At times you may need to spray the broken key a couple of times; it all depends on the lock. Now take your needle nose pliers and make sure you have a good grip on the inner piece of the key; if so, pull the key out. If it won't come out, you will need to replace the doorknob or call a locksmith. Replacing the doorknob is not a hard job. You will need a Phillips screwdriver and a new doorknob.



Take your Phillips screwdriver and loosen the screws on the cover of the door knot plate. Try to use your other hand to hold both sides of the doorknob so when the screws are loose you won't have any parts fall on the floor. After the screws are loosened, pull the doorknob apart. If possible, get a chair to sit on, which will make working on the doorknob a lot easier when it is almost at eye level. Take the old doorknob to the hardware store so you can match it up with a new one. At home again, you need to make sure that the hardware with the lock on it goes on the inside. Insert the stems of the exterior doorknob into the holes horizontally in the latch case. Place the interior doorknob on the protruding spindle, carefully aligning the stems with the screw holes. With one hand holding both covers, start turning the screws by hand, then use your screwdriver to tighten the screws. Test the door handle by opening and closing the door a few times.

You have just saved a fair sum of money by not having to call a locksmith. Don't forget to spray the lock in your doors every three month to keep the keyhole working smoothly without glitches, and to keep from breaking another key.

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