Have you ever broken a key? It does happen all too often, and sometimes happens right in the ignition lock of your car! Luckily, you can usually get the broken pieces out without calling a locksmith.
Removing the Key with Metal Wire
Clear away any obstructions in the ignition lock. Remove any debris from that might be blocking the key fragment with compressed air. Do not spray cleaners or lubricants into the ignition lock as these chemicals may damage the lock. This is especially true for newer vehicles with added features.
Place the place entire key back into the lock. This will serve as a guide to help you reach the broken piece of the key.
Slide a thin, stiff wire along the sides the broken key. Paperclips make a good wire. You can straighten them out so that they will slide alongside the key into the lock. Sometimes it is best to bend the ends just slightly to help with grasping the key fragment.
Remove the head of the broken key from the ignition switch. Be careful not to pull your wire out with the key handle. You want to keep it in place on the broken piece of key still in your ignition.
Grip the broken piece of key between the wires. It may help to twist the wires around each other to secure a good grip. You may also be able to use them in a similar fashion to chopsticks or tweezers.
You can also try bending the ends downward so that the wire has more surface area in contact with the key fragment. This may help you grasp the fragment and pull it out.
Pull the broken piece out. While you are pulling out, shaking up and down slightly may reduce the risk of getting the broken piece lodged.
Opening the Key Hole
Use long, thin needle nose pliers to spread the key opening. Insert the tip of the pliers into the keyhole and then open them to spread the keyhole opening. There is no need to do this unless the broken piece of key is stuck, as it can damage your ignition lock/keyhole. Opening the keyhole will provide a clear path for removing the piece.
Grab the broken piece of key with the pliers. Once you have opened the keyhole, slide the pliers as far as you can into the lock and attempt to grasp the key fragment with them. If the pliers will not fit far enough into the opening to grasp they key then you can attempt to use wire or tweezers.
Pull the broken piece of key out of the opening. Once you have a hold of the broken piece of key, pull it straight out of the opening. Now you can use a spare or have a new key cut.
Calling a Locksmith
Identify a lock locksmith. You can look in a phone book or online to find a lock smith in your area. You can also use websites designed to match you with a locksmith in your area.
Call more than one locksmith. Locksmiths are often available at all hours without additional charge, and will quote you a price over the phone. Calling more than one locksmith can get you a better price. Be sure to ask the locksmith if they offer services for cars, as some may not.
Hire your locksmith of choice. Once you have decided which company you would like to use, call them back and ask them to come service your vehicle.
Replace your key. Regardless of what method you used to get the key out of the ignition lock, it is now broken. You will need to use a spare key or buy a replacement.