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When your key breaks, it’s an unexpected burden. Once it happens, you could easily get locked out of the place you’re trying to get into for a good amount of time. While burdensome, there are actionable steps you can take to try and get your key out.

So, why do keys break in locks? What should you do when a key breaks? When should you call a locksmith?

We’ve outlined below some important information about your keys. Often, the reason for a key breaking is just regular wear and tear, but there are some signs to watch out for. There are also some actionable steps you can take before calling a locksmith.

Why Keys Break

Often, keys break for reasons that are fairly easy to prevent. While accidents happen, finding out why keys break can help prevent more breaks in the future!

1.Keys are often made of soft metal

Keys aren’t as sturdy as one may think. Keys are often made of soft metals such as brass and nickel. This means that if you’re jamming a key in a lock the wrong way or trying to force a key in a lock it doesn’t belong in, it may break from the force alone. Try being gentle with your keys.

2.It’s not the key: it’s the Lock

Poorly lubricated and worn-down locks are a huge culprit for key-related mishaps. Make sure your lock is adequately lubricated. A combination of a fragile key and a difficult lock is lethal for your keys.

3.Your Door is To Blame

If you live in a warm, humid climate and/or have an older door, you may want to make sure it’s not warped. Bent or warped doors can cause damage to the lock over time, as well as make it difficult to tell if you’ve fully unlocked the door. This can cause people to use excess force on their locks.

4.The key is Damaged

It doesn’t take much to damage your keys. Often, time along with general wear and tear will weaken a key. If your keys are starting to look worse for wear, it may be time to get a replacement set.

What to do if Your Key Breaks in a Lock

There are a few methods to extract a broken key before calling a locksmith. However, if you’ve locked yourself out of your house, the idea of using tools can be a bit ironic because you might be unable to access any of the tools you have.

If you have a friendly neighbor or a friend that can help you out, ask around! Plenty of people have these tools.

1.Pliers and Lubricant

If the key breaks so it’s sticking out of the lock, you can often get it out with some WD-40 and a pair of pliers. Spray the lubricant, wipe down the key, and try to pull with your pliers.


If a tiny portion of a key is sticking out or the key isn’t visible at all, you could always try a powerful magnet. While most people don’t have strong magnets on hand, they are available for purchase at many stores. There’s no guarantee, however, that a magnet will work.

3.Flathead Screwdriver

If the key isn’t sticking out, you could try a very thin screwdriver to see if you can dislodge the broken part, but your chances are slim. It’s important not to be too harsh, either. The last thing you want to do is damage your lock if it’s in good condition.

When you Should Call a Locksmith

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to try and get a stuck key out yourself if it’s sticking out and the situation isn’t urgent. If you can’t access the right tools, there’s no harm in calling a locksmith right away.

If the above tricks don’t work, it’s time to call a locksmith. A professional locksmith can help remove the key and get you inside your home. They can also identify causes of a broken key and fix your lock if it’s damaged as well.

Final Precautions

In the process, don’t try so hard that you damage the lock. It’s also essential you don’t try to open your door with any of the remaining key parts, no matter how urgent it is to get inside. It won’t work and could cause further damage to your lock.

When keys break, a professional locksmith can truly save the day. While it’s a frustrating situation that can often cause a bit of panic, stay calm. A locksmith is just a phone call away and there are plenty of ways to fix your door and get your day back on track!

Action Locksmith in Michigan has been helping people with lockout emergencies and lock issues for over 30 years. As a family-owned locksmith business, we are dedicated to the security of Michigan residents.

Our technicians have experience in all facets of locksmithing and can help you with any door lock or security issue you are facing. Interested in upgrading your locks and doors to keyless entry, installing a safe or implementing a new security system? We’ve got you covered. Call today and ask about our Special Offers!