What To Do When Your Key Breaks Off In The Ignition Or Car Door Lock

Written by Big Red Locksmiths on . Posted in Blog

Big-Red-Locksmiths-Car-Lockout-Key-ReplacementYou wouldn’t think it is a common event for a key to break off in the ignition or door, but as Omaha locksmiths, we can tell you it happens a lot. And, according to automotive owners, never at a good time! Unfortunately, keys can break at any time and for a variety of reasons including simple wear and tear or excessive force on the part of the driver. These breaks typically happen in the ignition or in the lock if there is immense pressure applied when a driver is trying to open a door or start the car. The great news is, with specializing in auto locksmith services, Big Red Locksmiths can have you back on the road in no time (store our number in your phone for future use 402-554-0499).

At Big Red Locksmiths, we hope this never happens to you, what if it does, below we’ve provided commonly asked questions and answers around key breakage and extraction.

Does this mean I’ll have to replace my ignition?

To minimize the possibility, it’s always best to call a professional locksmith who specializes in automotive work. An ignition might need replacing, but if the broken pieces aren’t too far inside the cylinder, a lock professional could extract it without damaging any of the components of the ignition.

If the key broke off as a result of a lot of force being applied, there may be some internal cylinder damage that will cause the ignition to need replacing. When calling your preferred Omaha automotive locksmith, be sure to tell them your situation while booking their services. When they arrive at your service call, they will be able to access the damage, advise you on next steps, and possibly fix the issue while on site.

Do I have to replace the entire lock on my car door?

If the automotive owner does not damage the lock by twisting, turning and forcing the key past its abilities, it’s likely won’t need to replace the entire lock itself. The great new is, professional Omaha locksmiths are familiar with and trained in the key extraction process and can usually extract the broken key without causing any harm to the door. 

If you purchased the key parts and attempted to install them yourself, be sure to let the Locksmith while booking their services as they may need to bring extra tools and resources.

I’m in a hurry! How long is this extraction procedure going to take?

If you are going to try to extract the key yourself, you’d best settle in for a while. For professionals, key extractions actually not that difficult. Once a locksmith arrives, you can expect it to take less than an hour, depending on just how extensive the break is. The key professional will be using special tools and techniques that you aren’t likely to be able to replicate yourself. This is a situation best left to the pros, especially if you are in a hurry!

Won’t I need another key to start the auto once the pieces are extracted?

Yes, the key parts that the locksmith recovers won’t be usable to start your car again. We recommend having the lock professional create a spare key to start your car as well as a duplicate key to store in your home in case you ever lose your keys or have house guests come for a visit. 

Can’t I start my car with a broken piece in the ignition?

You may be able to do this, but we wouldn’t recommend it. This can cause the broken key piece to be pushed further back making it harder to extract, leading to a damaged ignition or key lock. Instead of trying to fix the problem yourself, give Big Red Locksmith a call at 402-554-0499.

Overall, the car key extraction process is simpler than it sounds, but it is really a smart idea to leave the auto key extraction to a trusted and qualified car locksmith to avoid damage and more lost time and money down the road. 


  • "Big Red Locksmiths provide GREAT service from start to finish! I have been very pleased with their work for many years! Fast reliable service always!"

  • "Big Red Locksmiths came highly recommended when I needed a duplicate key for my Ford truck. The personnel at Big Red were friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and efficient! I expected to wait some time for my key to be programmed, but I had barely become settled in the waiting area when my key was ready and waiting. The key has worked great with no problems! The key is sturdy and obviously high quality... unlike other places. It was a pleasure doing business with Big Red Locksmiths!"
  • "Great trustful service. I was in a late night pinch and Big Red locksmiths saved the night fast and with a smile. Any time of day I trust Big Red!"
  • "Unfortunately/fortunately I have had the need to use Big Red several times in the past. They are always so professional, on time, responsive and pleasant to work with. HIGHLY recommend putting them in your contacts so you have the number when you need it most."

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Big Red Locksmiths, Inc.

7611 Main St., Omaha, NE 68127

Call Today: (402) 554-0499

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