Car Key Extraction
Car Key Broke Off In The Lock?
As awful as it sounds, sometimes it happens that a car key breaks off in a door lock or in the ignition. Now what?
One thing NOT to do is fiddle with it using pliers or some other tool, so while the internet is certainly a great place to find many different solutions to lots of problems, your car is simply too expensive and necessary to your everyday life risk.
Trying to force the key out usually causes damage to the lock, and then you have a broken key and a broken locking mechanism, which results in a much more expensive repair, as well as the down time needed to replace your lock or ignition. Compare this to the quick and easy process a specially trained technician has to properly remove the broken key.
Car Key Extraction
Of all the ways a broken car key can aggravate you, the most frustrating must be be the one where the key blade has broken off and is left inside the ignition key switch. Key blades broken off in car doors and trunk lids can also happen, but with lower frequency then of those that occur with ignition switches. Some higher end vehicles have done away with mechanical switches altogether, but failures on these systems can be more expensive to repair. We will focus our discussion on mechanical key issues.
When experiencing a broken car key, your first choice should be to contact a licensed auto locksmith. Be aware that broken car key extraction is a specialized skill that not all locksmiths possess, so it would make sense to confirm that before hiring on your locksmith.
DIYing Your Way Out Of A Predicament
Conceivably, your car key can break while you’re home or at the office, where you have spares for your car keys. If you’re adept with using simple hand tools, a pair of long nose pliers might be enough to pull out the offending key. Just make sure that the ignition switch is in the off position so that the tumbler wafers are disengaged. Otherwise, more damage may result. So that’s a big if. And that’s if you have easy access to a spare key.
If attempting to remove the broken key yourself, avoid using excessive force. A broken blade that refuses to budge with firm pressure is a sign that likely something is impinging on one (or more) of the ridges on the broken key section. Unless you have the patience and skills to undertake this relatively delicate operation, extracting a broken car key is best left to skilled hands. Your attempt to save money may only end up costing you more money.
Specialists Are The Best Solution To A Broken Auto Key
Locksmiths will initially attempt to remove a broken key blade with a pair of long nose pliers. If that doesn’t do the job, then a lock pick in combination with a flat-bladed tool will be used to pry the key out. Other tools used for broken car key extraction include using stiff wire similar to a pair of chopsticks (or bent into a U-shape), using a jigsaw blade to fish out a small broken off section, or using a key extractor tool. Often, the tools described are specialized tools based on the mechanism of the locks.
In worst-case scenarios, tumbler removal and disassembly may be necessary to extract the offending broken part from the lock. Fortunately for vehicle owners, these laborious and expensive cases are rare. Having a broken key extracted also usually means having a locksmith cut a new key for you.
Dealer or Specialist Service?
This brings us to question of whom to call when you experience a broken car key requiring extraction. Dealers will likely have the equipment needed to service your car. Note that the dealer will likely require that your car be towed to their shop in order to work on the car, and the speed of service will be based on if they have the keys in stock and how busy they are. By calling a locksmith with specialized experience in car keys and broken key extraction, you will save money and time on the service. It’s also possible that the dealer will go to where you’re stranded and work on your car on the spot, at a price significantly lower than what a dealer will charge.
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