Have you ever gotten in your car to rush to work in the morning? Picture yourself hopping into the driver’s seat, strapping on your seat belt, checking mirrors, and being ready for action.
Suddenly, you turn your key to drive, and you realize that you broke a chunk of that is stuck inside. This can quickly become someone’s worst nightmare, especially if they are running late.
The last thing you need is to remove a broken key from the ignition when you already have a lot on your plate. A broken key in ignition does not have to dampen your dreams.
This is a tricky mistake that happens all the time, so you can always call a locksmith to come and save the day. They are experts who know how to remove a broken key from the ignition without taking a long time, thanks to their skills and knowledge.
Unless you want to spend several hours browsing through YouTube videos to learn how to remove a broken key from the ignition, here is your ultimate guide.
Why Do Keys Break?
Nothing feels worse than turning your key into a lock or ignition and hearing that dreadful “snap” sound. This can be even tougher if you are in a hurry to get somewhere and have no time to stop and breathe.
Keys can be more fragile than they get credit for. Although you may chalk it up to Murphy’s Law or poor luck since this can happen at any time, anywhere, and to anyone, you can significantly improve your odds.
It is important to understand that keys are made of soft metals. These can be either brass or nickel.
Even if you have recently gotten a new key that looks strong, you should never assume that it is safe to accidentally sit on it if it’s lost behind your couch cushions.
Soft metals break more easily than most people realize. All it takes to weaken them is a little bit of stress and pressure. This may not seem obvious right away with new keys since the metals are still fresh.
But picture yourself having the same set of keys for months or years. Each time you carry them in your pockets with other items or leave them in bags getting crushed by your belongings, you risk damaging your keys.
This can be a gradual process. All will seem fine until one day, you get stuck in a random parking lot because a part of your key is blocking the ignition.
You should never assume that you need a lot of strength to break a key. It also does not help that most locks and the ignition in your car are rarely lubed to save keys from getting scratched and damaged.
The more you use your keys, the faster you should expect them to wear out. Before you know it, you may deal with a warped and bent key that chips off on the end when you least expect it.
You should also be careful of humid weather that can weaken the state of your keys. In this scenario, the best thing to do is to call a locksmith to remove a broken key from the ignition.
How To Remove A Broken Key From The Ignition?
If your ignition is a little lubricated, you can prolong the lifespan of your keys. This is because a bit of lube in locks can lower the chances of keys getting jammed in them.
Think about the times you roughly insert a key. Most likely, you may have yanked it right back out, especially at an awkward angle. It always helps to spray a little WD40 into all the places you shove keys in.
This will provide a little bit of lube so your key can glide in with ease. However, only spray around the outside instead of deep into the ignition lock. Otherwise, chemicals can destroy your lock if you are not careful.
Getting a broken key stuck in the ignition is a catch-22 situation. Before calling the locksmith immediately, you can try to fix the problem if you are in a hurry. Although this may not work, it is worth a try.
Tools You Need
The first thing you should do is get your hands on some tools. You will need some WD40 and pliers to assist you. These are typical tools that most people have in the trunk of their car or in their garage. If you keep a toolbox in the boot, you should pull it out to get to work.
Grab the WD40 spray and give your ignition a good dose. This may help loosen any broken fragments of your keys that are stuck inside the ignition. If you successfully manage to remove the broken piece, you should avoid throwing it away.
It is always best to bring the broken piece to your nearest locksmith. They will have a replacement key made for you in no time. Although this process seems easy, it is a long shot.
You risk worsening the problem in many cases if you do not call a locksmith to assist you. For instance, you may end up jamming the broken further inside the ignition.
Or you might break the chunk that is stuck inside even more. Then you will need to deal with several little pieces of your key stuck in different parts of the ignition.
This can be dangerous because the last thing you want is to splurge on replacing your ignition altogether if this problem cannot be solved effectively.
Using Metal Wire
One of the easiest methods to remove a broken key in ignition involves a metal wire. The first step is to clear all obstructions from the ignition lock. This is where you need to wipe away any debris that could block your key fragments with compressed air.
Avoid spraying lubricants and cleaners directly into your ignition lock. This is a surefire way to destroy the inside of your ignition with harsh chemicals. The key (no pun intended) is to lube the outer area just enough for you to have tools to wiggle out the broken edge of your key that is stuck.
Inserting Broken Key In Ignition
The next step is to gently place your whole key back into the lock. This will serve as a guide to help you find the broken piece since you cannot see inside.
Even if you use a flashlight to look inside the ignition, it would be very hard to locate anything small that is trapped inside. Then you need to grab a thin and stiff wire. Slide this around the sides of your broken key.
If you do not have a wire in your car, try to look for a paperclip instead. These can also make excellent wires to help you in this scenario. Straight out your paperclip and slide it alongside your whole key into the lock.
At times, it is best to bend the ends a little. This helps grasp the broken key fragment inside. Picture this process as if you are going on a fishing trip. You need to have a sharp hook at the end to capture and reel your target.
This may require some trial and error. You can twist the wires around each other if you want a better grip. Then you can use the paperclip wire as tweezers to pull out the broken key fragment.
Another option is to also attempt bending the sides of your wire downwards. This will help you trap the fragment and yank it right out.
If you successfully manage to pull out this broken fragment, you should slightly shake it up and down. This will lower the risk of you getting the broken piece lodged inside again if it slips right back in the ignition.
If paperclips and wires are not your passion, another method is to use thin needle nose pliers to spread your ignition’s key opening. All you must do is gently insert the tip of your pliers in the keyhole.
Then spread the pliers open to expand the area where your key goes in. Always be careful using this technique, even though it seems easy. You should only resort to spreading the ignition’s opening if the broken piece is stuck and there is nothing else you can do.
Opening the keyhole can provide a direct path for your broken fragment to slide out. But this can also damage your car if you do it incorrectly.
For instance, if you stretch or bend the part of the ignition where your key goes in, it will be harder to use other keys on the same lock. You may end up forking more money having to replace the entire ignition switch if anything goes wrong.
Why Call A Locksmith?
Unless you want to damage your car, you may need a locksmith to remove a broken key in the ignition. The first step is to identify the best locksmith in your area with stellar business reviews.
You can effortlessly find this information just by Googling, “my key broke in the ignition,” and a list of top locksmiths near you should pop up.
It is best to ring more than one locksmith because someone may not be available during your crisis, or they could charge more than your budget.
Locksmiths get called out all the time, so it is necessary to book an appointment over the phone and negotiate a price to ensure that the person will come and save the day.
After deciding on a locksmith company to work with, you should call them and tell them about your problem. Explain all the details carefully so that the locksmith can understand what needs to be fixed instead of going all the way out to you with the wrong tools.
However, the most reputable locksmith companies are always prepared for the worst, so you never need to worry about them not being able to help you immediately.
When your locksmith removes a broken key in the ignition, you will need to get this replaced with a new one since gluing the broken parts is not a safe option. Ask the locksmith about their car key replacement services.
The top companies will always provide the quickest key replacement service, car lockout support, and ignition switch repair.
Important Things To Know
Do not be afraid to ask a locksmith about their specific experiences dealing with keys breaking in the ignition and how to minimize further damage if you attempt to remove the broken fragment yourself.
Otherwise, you risk shoving the fragment deeper inside and damaging your ignition. Then you will need to fork out even more money to repair the faulty ignition.
It is always best to attempt the above steps if you genuinely believe that you can successfully reach and remove the broken portion of your key. The best thing to do is to run your finger along the part of your ignition where the key fragment is trapped.
If you can still feel it with your fingers, there is a slight possibility that you can solve the problem yourself with some tweezers or a pair of pliers.
If you spot the broken part of your key but cannot touch it, you have fewer chances of tackling the issue yourself and will need to call a locksmith immediately.
Find The Best Locksmith Today
A locksmith is the best expert to help you remove a broken key from the ignition. They have specialized tools and knowledge to help you easily remove a broken key fragment trapped in the ignition.
Remember not to use the same key again. Always get your locksmith to replace your damaged keys with a new set to prevent the edge chipping off in your car again. Be careful not to shove anything into the ignition unless you have expertise in dealing with cars.
Otherwise, you may end up in a worse situation than before, which can significantly hike up your broken key in ignition cost. Contact us today, and we can help you save time and money when your keys pick a random busy day to disappoint you.