How to Remove Broken Keys from Doors


When a key breaks off inside a door lock, a number of dilemmas can arise.

If you are able to get the door open before the key broke off inside the lock, you will be unable to close it securely. If the door was still closed when the key snapped, you will most likely be locked out of your home, business or vehicle until help arrives.

First things first: Don’t panic. This is something that can be remedied without pulling out your wallet and having to call a locksmith, especially if you can see part of key when looking inside the keyhole.

All you need is a little patience, a pair of needle nose pliers or scroll saw/ jig saw blade, and some lubricating spray to extract a broken key from a door lock yourself.

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.

Tools Needed

  • Lubricating spray
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Scroll saw or jig saw blade
  • Patience

Removing the Broken Key

  1. Lightly apply lubricating spray (many people prefer using WD-40) to both the key and the lock to loosen up the works
  2. Use the needle nose pliers to grip the broken key and remove it. This simple technique is likely to work if the key broke at its head and all the cuts are inside the lock.
  3. If you can’t pull the key out with the pliers, set them aside and slide the blade of the scroll saw or jig saw into the keyhole.
  4. With the teeth pointing downward, push the blade or saw into the keyhole until you feel the teeth grab a cut on the broken key.
  5. Pull the saw blade out of the keyhole to remove the key