What To Do If Your Key Breaks In The Ignition

A broken key in your car ignition can leave you stranded if you aren't sure what to do. If you find yourself in this predicament, the following strategy may be able to help.


You need some basic tools if you want to try and fix this yourself. A professional would use a key extractor tool, but chances are you don't have one of these on hand. You can use a thin saw blade, such as the type that fits into a jigsaw or small handheld miter saw. The blade just needs to be small enough to fit into the lock.

If you don't have a saw blade on hand, you may be able to get the key out with pliers. Needle nose pliers work best. If you will only be using pliers, then you will also need a piece of thin but sturdy wire. The wire will stand in for the saw blade.

You will also need a spray lubricant that is made for use in locks. Don't use just any type of lubricant, though, as those not formulated for use in locks can gum up the ignition and cause more problems down the road.


The method is the same whether you are using a saw blade or a wire, but the wire will need some preparation first. Bend one end of the wire to form a hook. The wire you use must be strong enough to maintain this bend without it coming out too easily.

Once your tools are prepped, spray lubricant into the lock. This will help the key slide out more easily. Then, insert the saw blade or wire into the ignition opening until it won't go any further. Turn the blade or wire slowly so that the saw teeth or hook is moved toward the broken key. Slowly slide out the blade or wire. The idea is to catch the bottom of the key on the saw teeth or the bent hook so you can use the tool to pull out the key.

Once the key begins to slide out, you can grasp the end with the needle-nose pliers and finish pulling it out.

Depending on your ignition, how the key broke, and the tools available, you may not be able to get the key out on your own. If this is the case, don't despair. Call an auto locksmith and they can fix the problem for you in no time. They can even replace the broken key.  

About Me

Keeping Your Home Secure

After our neighborhood experienced a string of burglaries, I started thinking more carefully about our door locks. I realized that a few of our doors had older, outdated hardware, which might leave our home vulnerable to thieves. To ward off trouble, I invited a professional locksmith out to our house to replace our locks. After talking with me about all of the different types of locks on the market, he made a recommendation based on what kind of door we had. We settled on a really nice electronic deadbolt, and after it was installed we felt a lot better. Read more about home security and locks on this blog.

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