• Daniel Frawley

An End to Broken Keys (Pin Tumbler Locks)

Having a key break off in one of your locks can be a real headache. However with the proper information you can better understand the issue and take actions to solve it. With the info I provide in this article, you stand an excellent chance of getting rid of the problem yourself. Plus you can stop it from occurring in the future.




WHAT CAUSES KEYS TO BREAK?



Most keys, even brass and nickle-plated keys, will ultimately wear and break along any of a key's cuts. However some conditions will accelerate the process such as:


-

Deep cuts in the key which might end up causing a "weak point" of the key. It can be very difficult to deal with if the cut is near to the head of the key. But a deep cut in the middle of the key can also trigger huge issues;

-




The secret is made of a light-weight material not suitable for daily usage. Aluminium blanks for keys are a prime example of light weight keys. These can easily break.

Typically before a key breaks, one or more tiny fractures will appear right next to the cut that is about to open up. You might want to inspect your keys right now - at least check the ones that you depend on and use every day.


If you see a small fracture being formed along the cuts or if the key is misshapen or bent at all, go to your nearby locksmith or key cutting shop and get more made. And simply to be safe, do not carelessly toss the old one away. A new key could be made from the pieces and used to access your residential or commercial property.

The last thing you need is to have a burglar gain entry via your old, broken key.


BROKEN KEY REMOVAL TOOLS



We locksmiths have a variety of tools for getting rid of damaged keys from locks. Among the more typical tools I use is one made from springy steel that is 5" long, 5/16" broad at the handle and.022" thick. There is a small tapered barb at the end of this tool that will dig or "bite" into the broken key so the broken bits can be pulled out.




It is not absolutely necessary to buy an extractor tool. As long as the tool you use is made from durable metal, is narrow enough to enter the keyway, and has a barb to grab on to the broken secret you will most likely be successful. A scroll saw or jig saw blade might suffice.



TREATMENT # 1


- Partial Key Broken Off In Lock.



When a deep cut gets too weak somewhere in the middle of a key, you wind up with the front part of it in the lock and the remainder in your hand. The good news is the lock is probably in the correct position for removal (more on that later).



FIRST - unless the lock has remained in great working order (with the key going in and out easily) prior to it breaking off, I recommend spraying a lubricant such as WD-40 or Tri-Flow in the lock's keyway initially. You want the damaged key piece to slip out as smoothly as possible and a gummy or dry lock will make the job harder.



SECOND - place the removal tool into the lock's keyway so that the barb (or teeth) can connect with the cuts of the key piece to be eliminated. You ought to have the ability to inform how far to insert the tool based upon just how much of the key you still have in your hand.



THIRD - let the barb "bite" into among the cuts of the broken key piece and give the tool a sharp tug towards you. The broken key piece needs to coming flying out.



FOURTH - take the 2 pieces of the key to your local locksmith or key cutter and get another one or two made.



TREATMENT # 2


- All But Key's Head Broken Off In Lock.



That is, everything that is required to operate the lock is stuck in the lock (if you are truly lucky, a bit of the key will be sticking out so small pliers or even tweezers might be all you require to eliminate the broken piece - but that generally does not take place). The lock cylinder must be back in the proper position before the key could be removed. The cylinder needs to be in its normal removal position or you will be wasting your time trying to get rid of the damaged piece.



- as in Procedure # 1, we recommend spraying a lubricant such as WD-40 or Tri-Flow in the lock's keyway.



SECOND - place the removal tool into the lock's keyway so that the barb (or teeth) can grab the bits of the key piece to be gotten rid of. You don't need to insert the tool too far - just so it reaches the very first or second cut in the key.


If the cut is next to the head of the key, it can be genuinely difficulty to remove. But a deep cut in the middle of the key can also trigger huge issues.



If you see a small fracture being formed by one of the cuts or if the key is misshapen or bent in any way at all, go to your nearby locksmith or key store and get another one or two made.


Of course, if you can't remove the key and need professional help, we have your back. Just give Danny a call on: 02 9344 9628

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