View Full Version : Help: key broken off in ignition!

07-16-2011, 01:37 PM
A universal LBC problem: my ignition key broke off in my ignition switch! Anyone have a method for removing the key? About half the key broke off down inside the ingnition switch.

Tweezers won't fit, of course. :cryin:

Any ideas on how to get the broken key out???

Thanks, Guys.

07-16-2011, 01:41 PM

Ugh, never had to deal with that. Pull the ignition switch and take it to a locksmith?


07-16-2011, 01:50 PM
First you need to make sure nothing will obstruct it from coming out....basically that it is in the off position. Then a couple thin paper clips with a slight barb or curve on the very end .....feed it down beside the key and turn to grip behind the key, cross over to twist them together. and rock it side to side as you pull out on it.....or take it to a locksmith...... Good one (https://albemarlelockandsafe.com/contact.htm)

Good luck

07-16-2011, 01:55 PM
Who cares? Only you know. Leave it and start it with half a key.

07-16-2011, 03:16 PM
Good idea on the paper clips, I've been trying to get one paper clip to work, now I'll try to two paper clip method.

Any other ideas, folks (besides paying a locksmith)???

Thanks, Guys! :thumbsup:

07-16-2011, 03:29 PM
Strong magnet ?

07-16-2011, 04:58 PM
No, magnets will not work. Keys are made of brass...a nonmagnetic metal.
Can you take the switch out? maybe take it apart?

07-16-2011, 05:19 PM
Get a set of Transmission picks at the local tool store (Sears has them). kinda like dental tools for auto mechanics. (Even better if you can find real dental tools!) They usually come in a set of 4. a straight, a 90deg, a shepherds hook, and a weird twisty one.

07-16-2011, 06:04 PM
Can you superglue a piece on the broken off end and when it's dry, slowly pull it back out?
Maybe use the broken-off piece of the key you already have.

07-16-2011, 06:25 PM
Using your old half, turn the cylinders to where they need to be to retract the cylinder from the lock assembly.
Catch inside where the good portion of the key was, pull the cylinder.
Rotate the lock to "off" with the old key end.
Tap face on hard surface until broken part comes out.

07-17-2011, 09:41 AM
Thanks for all the ideas, folks. Problem is, I can see the broken off key inside the lock. On this car the ignition switch is very close to the dashbard, can't get a good view of the keyhole.

Magnets won't work, I've tried that.

I also would like to avoid pulling the whole switch out, seems like major surgery on this car ('74 Midget).

I'm going to try to fashion a very small wire, maybe a paper clip with a very small bend at the end to try to pull the broken key out.

Other ideas are most welcome. :thumbsup:

03-04-2012, 05:16 PM
Slide some type of thin insulating material into the lock on both sides of the key. Connect a solid wire in line with the positive terminal of the battery.

Put a 10 amp slow blow fuse in line with the wire.

Touch the bare end of the wire to the exposed part of the key. The fuse blows, but the wire welds itself to the key. Use the wire to pull it out.

I ordinarily use a regulated bench power supply to do this, but I have used the fuse approach once. I've used the bench supply method about six or seven times.

You can NOT do this on a car with modern electronics.

03-04-2012, 06:51 PM
I experimented with my wife's tweezers and my spare ignition switch ( no, did not break the key ) and I believe you can remove that broken piece if you can reach it with the right size tweezers, even if you need to modify its blades a bit.

66'tr4a irs

03-04-2012, 06:51 PM
If you can still drive it....and start it....pay the 20 bucks at a locksmith shop....drive it to them and they have specialty tools that can go down beside the key and pull it out....

Just call first and tell them what you have and get an estimate to remove it...

my 2 cents

Good Luck

PM me and I might be able to get someone to reach out to you for a decent price.

Geo Hahn
03-04-2012, 08:00 PM
...Other ideas are most welcome...

Do you suppose he's been waiting 8 months for more ideas?


03-04-2012, 08:33 PM
Very observant, Geo!!! And a great pic.

BTW, just finished re-reassembly. We'll see in a day or so . . . .

03-07-2012, 01:46 PM
Try to heat and straighten out a small long-shanked fish hook.
Slide the straightened hook, point side down, along the top
of the broken key, and try to grab one of the higher points, and pull the broken section out to the point you can grab it with needle nose pliers.

Good luck !!

03-07-2012, 05:38 PM
Try a very small (thin) crochet needle. They are very, very thin and have a little hook on the end. That may work.

Geo Hahn
03-07-2012, 07:32 PM
I give up.

At least no one can say we don't (eventually) try to help.