The Key Broke Off in the Ignition! What To Do Next

key broke off in ignition

A key broke off in your ignition… you automatically assume it’ll be a costly and complicated problem. It actually doesn’t have to be. However, it will require a bit of time and patience and possibly a couple of makeshift tools.



Calling a locksmith might be your first inclination but removing the key yourself can save you some cash.

We’re going to walk you through how to get a key out of the ignition without calling for help or damaging anything! Keep reading for more information!

Try Things the Easy Way

Number one: is the key actually broken, or is it stuck?

If the key is broken, the easy way involves a pair of needlenose pliers and a sticky substance. The sticky substance is optional and mainly used for a better grip on the key.



If you choose to use something sticky on your pliers, be sure to have a removal agent like acetone available to unstick the key and pliers.

This technique is as simple as grasping the key and pulling it out.

Macgyver a Makeshift Tool

First, you’re going to place the key back into the ignition, being careful not to push the fragment in further. Next, grab 2 paperclips, unfold them, and use the key as your guide to help find the broken piece.

Keep the paperclips in place while you remove the head of the key and then squeeze the wires together to grasp the fragment. Once you have a grip on the key, use the wires to pull it out.

Open the Keyhole

If the first two suggestions don’t work or your key seems to be lodged deeper than thought, you will have to open the keyhole to the ignition.

Be very careful doing so as this process could damage the ignition lock.

Use needlenose pliers to gently open the keyhole and then insert the pliers to grab ahold of the key. If the key is too deep in the ignition, tweezers or the paperclips from above should help you reach it.

Key Broke Off in Ignition? Don’t Do This

You absolutely may use glue on pliers or another extraction tool– if the key is visible! Don’t put glue on plier that you are putting into your ignition.

Chances are without the glue, you will be bumping around searching for the fragment if it is not visible. Adding glue to the mix increases your chances of damaging your ignition or having your key glued to its position.

Also, do not try to ‘fix’ your key to avoid buying a new one. It broke in your ignition. Attempting to fix it is only guaranteeing this problem will happen again.

Finally, don’t start your car while the key is stuck. It’s possible to do so, but it really isn’t a good idea. It’ll push the key further back making it harder to extract and can damage your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

If your key broke off in your ignition, you now know what to do (and what not to do!)

Other than physically removing the key, the final component is going to be in your head. To pull this off without the help of a locksmith, you are going to have to keep a cool head.

If you’d like more help on fixing other car problems, check out our blog!