Home Improvement

Key Stuck in the Lock? Don’t Panic! Here’s How to Easily Retrieve It

Well, this doesn’t happen that often and in fact, you may never experience your key getting stuck in your door lock. But if it does happen, isn’t it good to know what options you’ve got?

So, instead of finding yourself one day outside your front door in a rush to get to work with your mind racing over… “oh, my key’s stuck and it won’t come out”, read our helpful article and see what you can do!

Why won’t the key come out of the lock?

There could be different reasons why your key gets jammed in the lock and doesn’t want to come out, with the most common usually being:

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How to get the stuck key out of the lock

Now that we cleared out what could be causing the problem, let’s look into what you can do to remove your stuck key without snapping it in half and causing more damage than good.

1. Use a spray lubricant

As we’ve mentioned above, the teeth of the key (especially if it’s a new key), might lodge against the lock pins. To get the key out, try the following:

  1. Gently jiggle the key up and down, while slowly pulling it outwards.
  2. If this doesn’t get the key out, go and fetch a spray lubricant (WD-40 spray would do).
  3. Spray the lubricant into the keyhole (above the stuck key) and repeat the up-and-down-wiggling and outward-pulling motions. Do not apply too much force to avoid breaking the key in half.

If you do not have access to WD-40, it is possible to use other handy things like Vaseline, for example. Graphite powder is also a good option and the product doesn’t contain grease or produce smells. Keep in mind, though, that a spray type of lubricant could penetrate deeper into the lock, which is necessary to free the key.

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2. Try the ice method

This technique may work in hot weather only. Get some ice from your local store (if close enough) or ask your neighbours for a few ice cubes placed in a bag. Hold the ice next to the key for about 30 seconds and then, carefully jiggle and pull the key outwards.

This method can save the day, due to the common properties of metal – it contracts in cold temperatures, which might “prompt” a stuck key to disengage if the burrs got lodged against the lock pins.

Did you know that you may be able to disengage a stuck key inside a UPVC door lock (patio doors with a broken cog inside the lock, for instance) by just lifting gently the door while turning carefully the key back and forth?

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3. Push the locking mechanism

As we implied earlier, your key may get stuck inside the lock if, say, the lock cylinder plug has become loose inside the cylinder. Sometimes, the screws that hold the plug in place loosen over time. So, if they are not tight enough when you try to pull out your key as you’d do normally, the plug, encased by the cylinder, also moves in the same direction as the key. The result – you can’t get the key out.

To get it out, try doing the following:

  1. Hold the key with one hand and gently pull it.
  2. At the same time, hold firmly with the other hand and push the plug in the opposite direction.

Again, be careful not to break the key by making sure that it is straight and in a vertical position when you’re pulling it out.

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4. Call a locksmith to fix the problem

Last but not least, there’s always the option to leave the job of getting your stuck key out of the lock to a professional locksmith. This way, you won’t risk snapping the key inside the lock, creating even more problems for yourself that can cost you money and undue stress.

The average cost of getting a door key unstuck would be around £70, but that number would vary depending on how complicated is the job. It matters whether the key is still whole or has broken, the condition of the lock, etc. More about the price of hiring a locksmith and how it is formed, you can find in our guide below.

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Takeaways

While it can be frustrating to find yourself in a situation where your key is firmly stuck in the front door lock, the important thing is to try to remain calm. If you break the key by being too rash with your movements, you could find yourself in a worse situation than you did originally. While there are a number of ways to get a broken key out of a lock, it’s still a situation you don’t want to be stuck in.

The best idea is to be patient, try some of the solutions mentioned above and if you feel as if your key is on the verge of snapping, getting a professional locksmith will probably be your best option.

If you live anywhere in Greater London, you can always rely on our emergency locksmith 24/7 assistance, and have the issue resolved professionally and without any damage caused to your lock. Fantastic Services works with fully-qualified and equipped local locksmiths and door repair specialists, who simply know what they are doing and stand by the quality of their work.

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