Car Key Snapped in Ignition: What Should You Do?

Of all the things that can happen to your car key, one of the most frustrating is when it snaps off in your car’s ignition. Not only does it prevent you from driving off, you’re essentially stuck with your vehicle until you can extract it.

In this article, we’re going to tell you how to remove a broken car key from the ignition, but first, you need to understand the possible risks.

Is It Worth Removing the Snapped Car Key Myself?

Like most of your car’s components, the ignition system is a piece of precision engineering. While removing a snapped car key blade is not difficult with the right tools and experience, if you’ve never attempted it before, there are some potential pitfalls. The ignition is a delicate piece of kit, so if you’re a bit rough with your extraction methods, you could do more damage than simply breaking off a key. If in doubt, always call a trusted local auto locksmith.

How to remove a broken car key from the ignition

If you’re determined to try and extract the broken key yourself, these are the steps you should take:

Clear away obstructions
Using a compressed air canister, blow away any debris that might be blocking the snapped-off fragment of the key or the rest of the ignition keyhole.

Open the Key Hole
For this next step, you will need a pair of needle-nose pliers or, alternatively, a thin pair of tweezers. So long as you can slide it into the keyhole without damaging the cover and can manipulate the ends so that they open and close, you can do this task. Even a safety pin or paperclip bent into the right shape will do.

Insert your tool into the ignition lock, above the broken piece of key, and gently pull them apart to spread the keyhole opening. Once it is open as far as it will go, there should be a gap on both sides of the key blade fragment. Slide your tool down gently, with the ends on either side of the key blade. Once you’ve gone past the top, you can close the tool, gripping the blade as tightly as possible.

Extract the Key Fragment
Without letting go, gently pull upwards with your extraction tool, removing the fragment of the key. Do not let go until it is clear of the ignition lock; otherwise, it might slip back in. With the blade safely removed, you can start your vehicle properly with your spare key. Alternatively, if you don’t have a spare, you can visit a local locksmith and have them cut you a new one.

If this process doesn’t work or you’re concerned that you will do more harm than good attempting it, contact your local auto locksmith for assistance.

Snapped Car Key: Final Thoughts

Here at TCM Automotive, we provide mobile auto locksmith services across Hampshire. Operating from our car service centre in Portsmouth, we cover a 50-mile radius that takes in much of the county and the surrounding areas. We offer an emergency call-out service, day or night, meaning we are there for you when you need us the most.

Don’t risk damaging your ignition lock and racking up an expensive repair bill. Give the team at TCM Automotive a call on 07581 033 606 and we will have an expert auto locksmith to your vehicle as soon as possible. We also offer a new car key cutting service.