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Key Extraction Services: Handling Broken or Stuck Keys in Emergencies

The broken key in the lock

You're in a hurry to get in the house on a cold day and your key snaps off in the lock. Your home has no back exit, your windows are locked, and the temperature in Calgary keeps dropping.

Sounds like a nightmare scenario, doesn't it?

Your locksmith has it covered. Locksmiths can perform a broken key extraction and get you back into your home, where you'll be safe and warm.

How does the process work? How do locksmiths get you back in your home with a jammed lock?

Keep reading to learn how we handle broken key extractions. We'll also cover things you shouldn't do before your emergency locksmith shows up.

How Not to Perform Broken Key Extraction

A lot of customers try hairpins or tweezers to extract the broken part of the stuck key. Others try to put a small amount of superglue on one part of the key and connect it to the other half.

Don't bother with these methods. Superglue won't adhere well, becomes brittle in cold conditions, and will often lead to a key stuck in the lock twice over. Hairpins and tweezers will just shove the lost half of the key deeper in and make the process harder.

Above all else, try not to panic. A cooler head will prevail. Avoiding breaking the lock also stops you from paying the higher cost of changing the locks.

What Your Locksmith Will Do

Locksmiths use a tool called a key extractor to remove a broken key from a lock. This tool will look similar to a lockpick. The tip will have a slight hook to it like a harpoon or fishhook.

With this device and a little lubricant, the locksmith can remove the key in short order. A frozen key may also require some heat to disengage from the lock. (If a frozen key happens in your mailbox lock rather than your home lock, contact the post office.)

While these are some of the easiest locksmithing tools to use, you should still contact a locksmith if you need a key removed. Improper use of a key extractor can make the problem worse.

Follow-Up Concerns

You may wonder why your key broke off in the lock. Did you do something wrong, or did something happen with the lock itself?

Your locksmith can diagnose common lock issues during the key removal process. Sometimes moisture leads to frozen locks. Other times a change in the shape of the door due to temperature shifts leads to warping in the material.

Always discuss the next steps with your locksmith after you get into the house. You won't always need to change your locks, but you'll benefit from knowing whether you've had a one-off moment of bad luck or developed a long-term problem. You don't need more reasons to call a locksmith.

Safe and Sound

Broken key extraction doesn't take much time, but a safe extraction preserves your lock and prevents further damage. Make sure to get a replacement key once you've had the key extracted.

ABOE Lockworks has served Calgary for almost 50 years, and our fleet of eight vans deals with issues all over the city. Whether you need key extraction, lock replacement, or custom safe installation, give us a call today.


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