Published Date: June 19, 2023
What to do if Your Car Key Breaks Off in the Ignition
We've all experienced those moments of panic when unexpected car troubles arise. One such distressing situation is when your car key breaks off in the ignition. This can leave you feeling stranded and unsure of what to do next. However, with the right knowledge and approach, you can effectively handle this predicament. In this blog post, we will guide you through the essential steps to take if your car key breaks off in the ignition. So, let's delve into the solutions and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
Step 1: Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
As soon as your key breaks off in the ignition, it's crucial to remain calm and composed. Take a deep breath and assess the situation before taking any further action. Determine if the key has broken off completely or if a portion is still visible. This initial evaluation will help you understand the extent of the problem and guide your next steps.
Step 2: Turn Off the Engine and Remove the Broken Key Piece
If the engine is still running, turn it off immediately. Leaving the engine running could cause further damage to the ignition or other components. Once the engine is off, carefully remove any loose or visible fragments of the broken key from the ignition cylinder. Be gentle to avoid pushing the key further inside or causing additional damage.
How to Remove the Broken Pieces
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can contact a local automotive locksmith for help. However, you can also follow these steps to remove the broken key pieces. Note that this is a delicate process, so to take care and use the proper tools. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you remove a broken key piece from your car:
- Gather the Necessary Tools: You will need a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers to remove the broken key piece. Ensure that the tools are clean and in good condition before proceeding.
- Lubricate the Lock: Apply a small amount of graphite powder or a specialized lock lubricant to the lock cylinder. This will help reduce friction and make the extraction process smoother.
- Grasp the Broken Key Piece: Using the needle-nose pliers or tweezers, carefully grip the broken key piece that is protruding from the lock. Gently but firmly pull the key piece straight out. Avoid twisting or applying excessive force, as this may cause the key to break further or damage the lock.
- Use a Key Extractor Tool: If the broken key piece is not easily accessible or the previous method didn't work, you can try using a key extractor tool. Key extractor tools are specifically designed to remove broken keys from locks. Insert the key extractor tool into the lock alongside the broken key piece and gently turn it counterclockwise to catch onto the key. Slowly pull the key extractor tool out, bringing the broken key piece with it.
- Seek Professional Help: If the broken key piece is deeply lodged in the lock or you are unable to remove it using the above methods, it's best to seek professional assistance. An automotive locksmith will have the necessary tools and expertise to safely extract the broken key without causing further damage to the lock.
Remember, patience and caution are key during the removal process. If at any point you feel unsure or encounter difficulties, it's advisable to consult a professional locksmith. Attempting to force the key out or using improper tools may worsen the situation or damage the lock, leading to more extensive repairs.
Once the broken key piece is successfully removed, you can consider getting a replacement key. Contact your vehicle's manufacturer, a reputable locksmith, or a qualified dealership to obtain a new key based on the broken key's code or make a duplicate using the remaining intact portion.
Step 3: Lubricate the Ignition Cylinder
To facilitate the removal of the broken key or improve the functioning of the lock, apply a lubricant to the ignition cylinder. Graphite powder or a specialized lock lubricant can help reduce friction and ease the extraction process. Insert the lubricant carefully into the ignition cylinder, following the product instructions, to ensure optimal effectiveness.
Step 4: Seek Professional Assistance
If the broken key remains lodged inside the ignition cylinder or you encounter difficulties during the extraction process, it's best to seek professional help from a qualified automotive locksmith. Automotive locksmiths have the expertise and specialized tools to safely and efficiently remove broken keys from ignitions. Attempting to force the key out or using improper tools can potentially damage the ignition or worsen the situation.
Step 5: Consider a Replacement Key
Once the broken key has been successfully removed, assess its condition. If the key is severely damaged or compromised, it's advisable to get a replacement key. Consult your vehicle's manufacturer, a reputable locksmith, or a qualified dealership to obtain a new key. In some cases, the locksmith may be able to create a new key based on the broken key's code or make a duplicate using the remaining intact portion.
Step 6: Take Preventive Measures
To prevent similar incidents in the future, take some preventive measures. Consider getting a spare key made and keep it in a safe place outside the vehicle. Regularly inspect your car keys for signs of wear and tear, and replace them if necessary. Additionally, avoid placing excessive pressure or stress on the key while operating the ignition.
Vehicle Locksmith in New Orleans
Experiencing a broken key in the ignition can be a frustrating and inconvenient situation. However, by following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can effectively handle the situation and minimize the impact on your day. Remember to stay calm, turn off the engine, remove any visible key fragments, and seek professional assistance if needed. With the right approach and possibly the help of an automotive locksmith, you can safely extract the broken key from the ignition. Additionally, considering a replacement key and implementing preventive measures can help avoid similar incidents in the future.
If you need a vehicle locksmith in Louisiana, contact Trulox of New Orleans. We offer fast, professional, expert service for vehicles of all kinds.