Car keys breaking in the ignition is a common problem faced by car owners. It can happen due to normal wear and tear or using the wrong key. Forcing the key into the ignition can also cause it to break. It is essential to know how to perform a car key extraction when such a situation arises, as it can be frustrating and time-consuming. 

Knowing what steps to take can save you from being stranded in an unfamiliar location or experiencing a more severe issue. In this informative blog, we will discuss what to do when your car key breaks in the ignition and how to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

Car Key Extraction

Reasons why car keys break in the ignition

There are several reasons why car keys can break in the ignition. We should also know these to be able to prevent this from happening. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Normal wear and tear
    Over time, car keys can weaken and become more prone to breaking. This is especially true if you use the same key for an extended period.
  • Using the wrong key
    Using the wrong key to start your car can also cause it to break. It may fit into the ignition, but it may not be the correct key for your vehicle.
  • Forcing the key into the ignition
    If the key is not inserted correctly, it can get stuck in the ignition. Trying to force it in can cause it to snap off.

There can be other reasons why your car key may break in the ignition, such as a damaged ignition cylinder, a faulty key fob, or a damaged key.

Steps to take when your car key breaks in the ignition

It's crucial to take immediate action to prevent further damage to the ignition, which can result in a more severe problem and a more expensive repair. If your car key breaks in the ignition, follow these steps:

  • Don't panic
    Although it can be frustrating, panicking won't help the situation. Take a deep breath and focus on finding a solution.
  • Turn off the engine
    If the car is still running, turn it off to prevent any further damage to the key or the ignition.
  • Try to remove the broken key
    If the key is still visible, try to remove it using your fingers. If it's stuck, avoid trying to force it out as it may cause more damage.
  • Use a lubricant
    Apply a lubricant such as WD-40 or graphite powder to the key and try to gently wiggle it out.
  • Use pliers or tweezers
    If you can see the broken key but can't reach it with your fingers, use a pair of pliers or tweezers to carefully pull it out.
  • Call for professional help
    If you can't remove the key, it's best to call a professional locksmith or mechanic to help you remove it safely. They have the tools and expertise to extract the key without causing any damage to the ignition.

Prevention tips

By taking these simple precautions, you can prolong the life of your car key and reduce the chances of it breaking in the ignition. It's also essential to have a spare key in case of an emergency. To prevent your car key from breaking in the ignition, follow these prevention tips:

  • Handle your car keys with care
    Avoid tossing your keys around or using them as a tool to open other items. Keys can weaken over time due to constant bending or twisting, making them more prone to breaking.
  • Avoid using the wrong key
    Always double-check that you're using the correct key for your car. Using the wrong key can damage the ignition cylinder and cause the key to break.
  • Regular maintenance of your car key
    Keep your car keys clean and free of debris, as dirt or grime can get stuck in the ignition and cause damage. Also, periodically check your key for any signs of wear and tear and get it replaced if necessary.


In conclusion, having your car key break in the ignition can be a frustrating and inconvenient experience. It's essential to know what to do in such situations to prevent further damage and get back on the road as soon as possible. 

To recap, some of the reasons why car keys break in the ignition include normal wear and tear, using the wrong key, and forcing the key into the ignition. To prevent such incidents from happening, handle your keys with care, use the correct key, and maintain your key regularly.

Car Key Extraction

If your car key does break in the ignition, take immediate action by turning off the engine and attempting to remove the key gently. If you can't remove the key or are unsure of how to proceed, seek professional help from a locksmith or mechanic. Remember, trying to force the key out can cause further damage to the ignition and result in more expensive repairs.

Overall, being prepared and knowing what to do in such situations can save you time, money, and stress. By following these simple tips, you can prevent your car key from breaking in the ignition and avoid the inconvenience of being stranded.