A lever lock has flat metal plates that slide into place when the correct key is inserted. Removing a broken key from a lever lock does not require much expertise, but a little precision depending on how much of the key was left in the lock. If it is a small piece, you may have to completely dismantle the lock or call a locksmith to do it. To remove the larger pieces of the broken key, follow the simple steps below.
Step 1 - Try Using Pliers or a Needle
Use pliers to grip the broken key and pull it out of the lock. You can also use a needle or lock picking tools to pry the broken key out of the lock. If the key is not in the right position, you can use the pliers to turn it in order to pull it out. You can also use graphite powder or a silicon spray to make it easy to pull out the key. If the pliers don’t work, try inserting a small screwdriver or plastic dental picks and maneuvering the key and then clasping the pliers around it to pull it out.
Step 2 - Use a Strong Magnet
If you don’t have pliers or any sort of lock picking tools, you can use a strong magnet or an electromagnet to attract the key out of the lock. The magnet might not be able to pull the key all the way out, but will work to move it out enough to be pulled out.
Step 3 - Unconventional Methods
Get a screwdriver that can easily slide into the keyhole. Apply a small amount of tar or superglue on the side of the driver that will come in contact with the key. Let it stick, and then pull out. This is an unconventional method, so if you are not sure and all other methods have failed, it’s best to get a locksmith to do the job.
Step 4 - If the Key Breaks in a Bolt Lock
If the door is bolted and the key breaks in it, try removing the broken key and using the piece to get a new one made. If that doesn’t work, you will have to remove the door from its hinges and remove the lock.
Step 5 - Precautionary Measures
Keys break in locks due to excessive force or when the inner plates of the lock need to be cleaned and greased. Sometimes the keys get worn out and do not fit in the plates, lever locks are the hardest to pick, therefore a buffed out key has greater chances of breaking. So, the strategy to prevent breaking keys in locks is to take the time to insert the key in properly, use just the appropriate amount of force and do not wrestle with the lock and proper maintenance. If, however, it does break in the lever lock, simply follow the steps mentioned above.