Broken Key Extraction Requires a Professional Locksmith
You put your key in the lock and turn the key. Suddenly, half the key is in your hand and the other half is in the lock. Unless it is normal business hours you will need an afterhours locksmith to perform a broken key extraction. Here are the reasons that keys break.
How a Locksmith Removes a Broken Key
As with any emergency emergencies requiring the skills of a locksmith can occur 24 hours a day. Luckily, you can call an afterhours locksmith. It takes roughly 30 minutes to extract a broken key.
Locksmiths carry a broken key extraction tool. The extraction tool has teeth that are designed to mesh with the teeth on the key fragment. The extraction tool is inserted into the keyway. Once the teeth on the tool and key fragment engage each other the fragment is gradually pulled out.
When you lock a door the lock bolt moves forward through the striker plate. The striker plate covers an opening in the door frame called a jamb. Once the bolt is inside the jamb the door is secure.
When a door warps the lock bolt and the striker plate become misaligned. This misalignment creates two possible scenarios. Either the door does not lock or extra force is required to move the lock bolt. The extra torque needed to engage the lock can cause a key to break.
Improperly Lubricated Lock
Locks that require a key are called pin and tumbler locks. The internal components of a pin and tumbler lock are springs, cylinders, and pins. The pins are spring loaded. The teeth on the key allow the pins to move into alignment with a track inside the lock. The alignment of the pins in this track (shear line) frees the lock cylinder so the lock bolt can be moved.
All of these moving parts need regular lubrication. If the internal workings of a lock cannot move freely, extra force is needed to move the lock mechanism. The extra force puts extra stress on the key that can cause the key to snap. Now let us look at how to prevent key breakage.
Checking for a Warped Door
We have already discussed a lock that does not work properly as an indicator of a warped door. There is a simple way to determine if your door is warped. You will need string, tape, and a ruler or tape measure.
- Cut a piece of string to a length longer than the height of the door.
- Secure the string at the top of the door using the tape
- Run the string along the edge of the door
- Keeping the string taut tape the string to the bottom of the door
- Measure any gaps between the string and the edge of the door
Lubricating a Lock
You have enough to worry about in the course of 24 hours so maintaining your locks is the farthest thing from your mind. Lubricating a lock is a simple job that can save you some grief.
You need compressed air and a lubricant made specifically for locks. Avoid using products like WD-40 and 3 in 1 oil. These products can act a glue holding dust and dirt inside the lock. This defeats the purpose of lubricating the lock.
Spray the compressed air into the keyhole to blow the dirt out of the lock. Spray the lubricant into the keyhole. Slide the key in and out of the lock to distribute the lubricant.
Multiple Keys to the Same Lock
Besides the obvious advantage of always having a replacement key if a key gets lost having a couple of keys to the same lock can prevent breakage. The idea is to not use the same key constantly. By rotating keys, you minimize the risk of a key breaking.