Thursday, April 18, 2024
Driving Tips

What to do if your car key snaps in the lock or ignition

Although it does not happen very often, when it does, a key snapping in a lock of your car or in the ignition barrel before you are able to start it can be a major inconvenience. Whichever one it is, you will need to find a way to get the broken key shaft removed and you will also need a replacement fully functioning key that you can use

There are essentially only two realistic options; one is to do it yourself and the other is to pay someone else to do it. Let us take abrief look at both options to see which one would be best for you.

Do it yourself

It can work out cheaper if you are able to remove a broken key from a lock yourself but in order to do so, you will not only need the correct tools for the job but you will also need the skill to carry out the task. If you take a look at this Youtube video, you can see that specialist lockpicking tools are used. If you do not already have these tools, you will need to buy a kit that consists of several different tools all for slightly different keys, locks and situations. There are also different kits depending on whether it is a domestic house key or a car key as the locks themselves are quite different in virtually all cases. In other words, you will need different sets of specialist tools. These are typically called key extraction kits and can cost upwards of twenty pounds for a basic set. You may also notice in the video the skill that is required to remove the broken key piece. It is not simply a job of sticking the tool in the lock and pulling the broken piece out, experience is also necessary to do the job successfully.

If you take a look at this example of a key extractor kit, you will see that the description mentions that these tools will work on both “wafer and pin tumbler locks”. If you do not know what this means or what the difference is between the two, it is not a job that you should be attempting to do and buying the kit is probably a waste of your time and money.

The other problem you have is that if you do not have the kit already, you will have to order it online and wait for it to be delivered, which will usually be several days away at the earliest. This is fine if you have the luxury of being able to wait but it is not so good if your car key has broken in the lock and you are locked out of your car. Lastly, even if you do need to remove the broken piece of car key, you will still need to have a replacement car key handy or get another one cut and programmed.

Pay someone else

If the above scenario happens to you, it is far better to pay a professional to do the job. If it is your home, then you can call an emergency locksmith to get you into your home but if it is your car, there are specialist auto locksmiths who can get the job done instead. Although these options will work out more expensive, the job will get done quickly and you will not have the added stress and frustration of trying to do it yourself. Here is another video showing a car lock. Once again, the auto locksmith makes it look easier than it is and also has professional tools for the job.

If you call on the services or a professional mobile car locksmith, not only will they be able to remove the broken key, they can travel to you and will also be able to cut you a replacement key on the spot. It is also worth mentioning that modern car keys also need to be programmed to the car and its immobiliser and the car locksmith will be able to do this for you as well at the same time. All in all, a situation like having a broken car key is quite rare so there is not too much point in trying to do it yourself, especially as you might not even be successful anyway. The best option is to pay a professional to take care of it instead.

Frank Nadia
the authorFrank Nadia