Nothing spoils a good day like a broken off key in your car door or ignition.

Key in car door

But don’t panic. We’ll show you how to solve the problem with the help of a few tools at your disposal.

Just so you’re aware, your option will depend on factors like;

  • Your current location
  • The tools you have on hand
  • How deep the key broke off

Now you probably won’t be able to fix the problem in just a couple of tries. But keep at it until you succeed.

Luckily, there’s a way to get into your car without removing the piece that’s broken off your key or breaking a window.

If you choose to break in without trying to pick out the broken-off piece here’s step by step guide to help you.

Unlocking a Manual Car Lock

Let’s jump right in.

  • Use a wedge/any metallic tool to hold open a gap between the body of the car and the doorframe.
  • Slide the tool into the open space between the vehicle body and the top of the door in the area opposite the hinge (this section is most easily pulled out) and force the space open with your hands to make adequate space for your tool to fit in.
  • Carefully insert the tool until it is visible through the window while taking care not to damage the stripping.
  • Make a hook out of metal, e.g., clothes hanger to grab the lock pin. In this step, make sure the hook can fit around the bottom section of the lock pin and pull it upwards to unlock the door. If you miss it on the first attempt keep trying.
  • Use the hook to open the lock by grabbing onto the lock pin and pulling upwards until the door opens.

Depending on the type of car and lock, it may take you several tries to unlock and open your door. Like earlier said, keep at it until the problem is fixed. .

Sounds tough, right?

Well, there are other solutions, such as:

  • Calling an emergency locksmith; or
  • Removing the broken-off key piece  

First, we have to furnish you with some ground rules.

Avoid inserting the broken key into the hole.  

You will only push the broken-off piece deeper into the keyhole, making it even harder to remove.

All these tricks will work easier and faster if the broken-off piece is not lodged too deep in the car door; otherwise, it’s double trouble! Instead, keep the broken key. Your locksmith will use it as template to cut a new key.

Removing the Broken Key Piece from Your Ignition or Car Door

  • Apply lubricant

This step is optional, but it can ease removal of the broken-off piece. So go ahead and squirt some lube into the keyhole.

Try graphite or any other dry lubricants. Oil-based lubes, won’t work here, they’ll only gum up the keyhole and affect its rotation.

But with a graphite spray, the only drawback is it stains everything.

Also, carry along a rag to wipe away excess lube that dribbles out. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers to ease the broken-off piece out.

  • Using Tweezers

Tweezers are readily available, but when you choose to use them consider;

  1. How deep the key has broken off
  2. The thickness of the tweezers

Standard tweezers are too thick for this task and might end up pushing the broken-off piece deeper into the lock.

Also, make sure the tweezers can open wide enough to grip the broken-off piece but thin enough to slide through along the sides of the keyhole.

The best scenario to use tweezers is when a portion of the broken-off piece is protruding from the keyhole.

  • Use a Magnet

A powerful magnet can be used to extract the broken part of the key.

However, this method won’t work if your car key doesn’t have magnetic properties, or contain enough metal to allow a magnetic pull. But then again, you can give it a shot, sometimes it works.

  • Use a Broken Key Extractor

A broken key extractor works by holding the teeth of the key using its unique hooks.

If you happen to access a broken key extractor either from a locksmith or a Good Samaritan, then place the tool inside the keyhole along the rough side of the key.

Turn and pull to grab the key and remove.

Sometimes this may take several attempts so don’t give up on the first try.

Broken key extractors come in two types:  the single and the double hooked.

  • A Makeshift Broken Key Extractor Out of a Jigsaw Blade

If you have no access to a broken key extractor, you can craft one out of a mini jigsaw blade (or a small hacksaw blade).

Your intention here is to find a thin, narrow piece of metal that will fit in a keyhole and around the broken key.

  1. Break the blade using a pair of pliers to use the serrated edge.
  2. Insert the serrated edge into the lock.
  3. Line up the edge of the blade with the rough edge of the key hole.
  4. Turn and pull.

If the blade’s serrations slant at an angle, make sure they point towards you when inserting it into the lock at for easier hooking and removal.

As long as you have the correct material for the job, you will find a solution from the above list.

Keep calm, and take your time removing the broken key.

If for any reason you are unable to extract the broken-off key piece, it doesn’t end there for you.


Contact Barrenjoey On-Road Assistance

Barrenjoey Locksmiths

Barrenjoey Locksmiths and Alarms is always a call away ready to offer quality and professional services as well as advice. We know you’re hard pressed for time, so we’ll not only arrive in time but also handle the job quickly.

While we boast of the latest equipment to remove any broken keys, we’ve also invested in a team of amazing specialists who will complete the task with grace and tact.

Call now, we’d love to help you out!.