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How to Remove a Broken Key From a Car Ignition

How to Remove a Broken Key From a Car Ignition
Update Time:2018-01-10

You can easily break your key in your car ignition, especially if you're in a hurry and you turn the key too quickly or hard. And, with plenty of rumors about how to remove a key, getting the key out of your ignition can seem impossible. But, with the right household tools and the tips below, removing a broken key from your ignition is simple.

Using Pliers

If there is enough of the broken key sticking out of the ignition, you can use needle-nose pliers to latch onto the key and pull it out.

Step 1 – Apply Sticky Substance

To help you grip the key piece with your pliers, you can also apply some super glue, melted wax, or putty on your tool's tip. If you do use one of these materials on your pliers, have cotton swabs and acetone handy to help unglue the pliers from the key once you’ve pulled it out.

Step 2 – Pull out Key

Latch onto the key piece with your pliers, and pull the key out. If you choose to use super glue, wait until the glue has set a little bit before attempting to pull the key out.

Using a Wire Coat Hanger

If using pliers doesn't work, try using a wire coat hanger to remove your key.

Step 1 – Shape the Hanger

Using a 6-8 inch wire coat hanger, shape one end of the wire hanger into a hook with your pliers.

Step 2 – Insert the Hook

Insert this wire hook into your car’s ignition, behind or in front of the broken car key, and attempt to fish the pieces out.

Using a Hacksaw

If your car key is stuck in a locked position and you can’t grip it with pliers or a coat hanger, you should put your ignition in the “neutral" position.

Step 1 – Put the Ignition in a Neutral Position

Face the teeth of a thin hacksaw blade upward beside the broken key in the ignition, and simply turn the ignition, so that’s it’s no longer locked in place.

Step 2 – Pull the Blade Out

Pull the hacksaw blade out carefully. The hacksaw blade may be able to grab onto the front or back of the key to help pull it out. If you’re lucky, the blade will latch onto the groove of the key. Twist and wiggle the hacksaw blade until the car key latches into the blade.

Step 3 – Incorporate Pliers

If the above steps don’t work by themselves, try using a combination method. Use the hacksaw blade to push the key out some, and then use the pliers to pull the broken car-key piece from the ignition.

Using Cooking Spray or WD-40

Step 1 – Apply Chosen Substance

If you still can’t get the key out, try applying some cooking spray or WD-40 to the inside of the ignition. However, do not complete this step if you want to use the pliers again, as this method will make the key too slippery to grab onto.

Step 2 – Use Hacksaw

Then, try to push the key out with a hacksaw blade. Wiggle the blade inside the ignition to get it to latch onto the grooves of the blade.

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