A broken key in a car door lock can leave you locked out of your car, running late and, not to mention — extremely frustrated.
The good news is, you don’t necessarily need a locksmith to get you out of this bind. Here are a few methods you can try to remove a broken key from a car door lock.
In some cases, part of the key will be sticking out of the lock cylinder after it breaks. If this is the case, try to remove the broken piece using needle nose pliers.
Pull the car key directly out of the lock. Do not twist it because it could cause the metal to break again.
If the broken key is flush with the top of the keyhole, try using a powerful magnet to extract it.
If the key doesn’t have enough metal content, then a magnet won’t work; however, if you have a magnet laying around, it’s worth a try.
For this method, you’ll need a flat-head screwdriver. The tip of the screwdriver must be small enough to fit in the lock cylinder (or at least able to make contact with the edge of the broken key). Insert the screwdriver into the lock and apply enough pressure to prevent slipping and turn to unlock. It will most likely take several attempts before the screwdriver and the key turn in unison.
This method may get you in the door, but it could also push the broken key deeper in the lock, making it more difficult to retrieve without the help of a locksmith.
A gum eraser is another tool that you can use to remove a broken key. Used mainly by artists, architects, and students, gum erasers have a chewing gum-like texture. Keep in mind, this method is only worthwhile if a piece of the broken key is sticking out of the lock.
First, knead the eraser until it is soft and pliable before gently molding it to the key sticking out of the lock. Try to pull the key out. If it doesn’t come out completely, hopefully, it will pull it out enough so that you can use your fingers or a tool to extract it.
If all else fails, you can always call a local locksmith to remove the key for you. If you don’t have a spare key, remember to keep the broken remnants of the old key so you can use them to get a new key made.