The second installment in our Homeowner Help series comes from the moment when you’re running crazy late to an event, go to lock the side door, and (ARGH!) the key snaps off in the lock that’s been jamming lately. Now what? Well first, know that you’re definitely going to be more than a few minutes behind schedule. Now you have an excuse, right? Secondly, don’t panic, because after reading our step-by-step, you’ll know just how to tackle this problem.
How to Remove a Broken Key From a Lock
What to know: If you can see a bit of the key, follow these steps. If not, bite the bullet and call a locksmith.
1. Spray a lightweight oil like WD-40 or Liquid Wrench into the keyhole.
2. Using tweezers or needle-nose pliers, grab the top of the key (not the teeth) and try to pull it out.
3. If you can’t get a good grip with pliers, cut a wire hanger and bend one end into a small hook. Insert it into the lock under the key’s teeth. Wiggle it around to help you coax out the key.
Originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.
Illustration by Brown Bird Design