What should you do when your key breaks in the lock?

You’re back home after an exhausting day at work. You reach your porch and insert your key and ‘SNAP’, the key breaks in the lock. When you’re looking forward to having dinner and a good night’s sleep, the broken key in your lock ruins your day. No matter how hard you try, getting the key out is a futile effort.
In such a case, getting you out of such a stressful situation is only possible with the help of a locksmith service. In this post, we’ll understand why keys snap in the lock and how to tackle this issue calmly.

Why do keys snap in the locks?

Usually, keys snap in the locks due to-

  • A damaged key
  • A brass/nickel key (experienced locksmiths do not recommend soft metal keys)
  • A Jammed or non-lubricated lock

What can happen to the lock if you don’t extract the broken key from it?

  • There is a risk of further damage to the lock.
  • You could be left locked in or locked out of your home.
  • If you don’t extract the broken key from your lock, your home is left vulnerable to break-ins.

3 things to try yourself before calling for help

Use needle-nosed plyers– You could consider this if there is a small part of the key jutting out of the lock. You will need to be quite careful with these plyers though.

Use a strong magnet An easier way to remove the key, a strong magnet could help you get the key out quickly.

Use a hairpin– If a magnet or a pair of plyers isn’t at your disposal, a hairpin could do, if you know how to use it properly.
Though you could try any of these methods, there is a grave risk of damaging the lock further if you try too hard. Worse, you could end up pushing the broken key further into the lock if you try too hard.

How to make sure the key doesn’t snap in the lock again

To ensure you don’t get yourself into such a situation again, you need to-

Lubricate your locks– Your lock requires its share of maintenance. Every six months, you should lubricate your locks to help prevent issues like broken keys or jammed locks. Apply a mild lubricant to the lock. Do not use oil-based lubricants like WD-40 as this could damage the locks.

Use the right replacement keys– Just like any metal instrument, keys are prone to wear and tear. If you see any damage to the keys, you should immediately replace the keys with new ones. Ensure you do not make the keys with soft metals like Brass or Nickel.


You need to care for your locks just as you would with any electronics. Regularly lubricating your locks makes sure they work well and are long-lasting. Though there are many types of locks you can use, it makes sense to hire a Phoenix locksmith who’ll help you choose the right locks and maintain them when necessary.