Snapped key in lock - any solutions?

I snapped a key in the lock of a bike shackle and was wondering if there was anything that can be done.
I’ve researched it a bit and it seems that I have quite a difficult case in terms of accessing the lock. The locking mechanism is recessed behind two spring-loaded small shutters, so it’s very hard to see the actual piece of key to get a tool in there. Any ideas on what to try gratefully received.

If it turns out to be too challenging, does this sound like the type of thing a locksmith would take care of in 5 minutes? It’s a decent lock - cost around 100 quid, and I have a second key, so it would be worth fixing if it’s not too big a job.

It does seem like the thing a locksmith would be able to handle in a few minutes. They’ll have the tools (and experience) to do it. I’d probably take it in and ask. They can probably look at it and tell you yes or no pretty quickly. But I wouldn’t go that route until I’ve spent a while trying myself. I assume you’ve tried hitting it flat on the ground? (I’d do on a piece of cardboard so you don’t scratch it up in the process)

Your bicycle lock cost $ 150.00? Wow! At that price there should be some warranty for a busted key.

RE removing the key if there is no purchase to get a pair of of very fine point tweezers or similar grabbing tool into the mechanism and pull the key out I’d say you are boned. RE locksmiths I would not bet on a locksmith finding it a snap to fix.The majority of their tools and expertise are for residential and commercial door locks not bicycle locks. One locksmith service call is usually well in excess of the value of any bike lock.

I don’t know about the UK, but it’s hard to find a locksmith that has an actual storefront here in the US. They’re kind of like plumbers, they have vans and show up to wherever they’re called. Unless there is a locksmith shop you can walk into in your area, it probably won’t be worth it.

Maybe a jeweler would be worth a shot if a locksmith isn’t feasible?

I guess I didn’t think about it that way. I can think of two (store fronts) off the top of my head. Last week a customer locked their keys in their car. I called the one few blocks a way and they came and opened it for either 60 or 90 dollars. I figured if they would drive out and open a (manual) door lock for that, they could pop a broken key out of a bike lock for $10 or $15 if you brought it in. It should be noted that this is a mom and pop type place as opposed to some nation wide corporate owned business with set prices and a minimum fee.

You can try using a piece of the smallest jewler’s or coping saw blade you can find to slip in wherever you can and try to coax it out enough to get a grip on it with tweezers. Small blades shouldn’t be very expensive.

First, you’ll want a really good penetrating lubricant, like PB Blaster - forget about WD-40 and the like. Then you’ll want some sort of a pick, with a very sharp end and a bit of a hook to it. If you’re industrious, you may be able to sharpen the point of a metal dental pick, which should be widely available.

After spraying the penetrating lubricant and allowing it to soak in a few minutes, use the pick by pressing the sharp point into whatever piece of the broken key you can grab best, and pull slowly but firmly.

There is a small chance that with some PB Blaster, you might even be able to bang it out, as Joey P mentioned above. That stuff works wonders.

just a thought: what about spraying some compressed air in above or below the key to maybe blow it out? Won’t do much, but might be enough to get it out far enough to with needlenose pliers or something.

Ah, you’re well stocked on locksmiths. There’s probably some still around somewhere but I haven’t seen a locksmith shop here in the states in years.

Exactly this thing happened to me with my front door at 2am. I lived in flats and I was going to down in the lift to ask the security guard what to do. I mentioned my problem to a couple of chaps who were sharing the lift with me who replied “we’re Scousers, we’ll get you in.” (In case you’re not familiar, Scousers are Liverpudlians and the negative stereotype about they are a little bit too street wise.)

Anyway, one of them used a hammer to drive a screwdriver into the lock (with the broken off key still in it). He had to use a bit of force but he was able to turn the lock and open the door - the broken off key fitted the shape of the lock of course so it only needed turning albeit with a bit of fiddling. Once we were in, we unscrewed the lock from the door and spent the next thirty minutes taking it apart to free the broken key. I had obviously damaged the lock so we took out the locking elements from the lock (little metal barrels) and refitted it into the door. That meant that a blank or key of any pattern would unlock the door but of course there was no sign of that. It’s possible I guess to try to refit the original lock but I imagine there’s a good chance it will have been damaged by the screwdriver. But considering your key got stuck I’d say it’s probably already damaged.

All that was required was a a trip to a DIY store the next day to buy a new lock which was easy to fit.

There are at least 2 store front locksmiths in my town. Why would anybody say that the US does not have locksmiths?

In many areas locksmiths operate from their truck period. Their truck is their “store”.

Yeah, but looking at your location, I’m not sure I’d want to set up shop there either.

Yeah, I know where 3 are in a 10 mile radius. But I live in a densely populated area of the country. I could see where locksmiths wouldn’t want to open a shop in rural areas because there wouldn’t be enough walk in business, and not in major cities either where the rents are high.

If you or a friend happens to play guitar, then you can easily fashion a little hook-ended key-removal tool from an old electric guitar string. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to make a tiny hook using wire from the thickest non-wound string.

I know someone ho got a broken key out of a lock with bubble gum. Chewed it until sticky, pushed it into the lock, let it harden for a few minutes to stick to the key, and pulled it (and the key) out far enough to grasp.

A similar idea: take the broken off half of the key, apply a tiny bit of super glue to the broken edge, insert the key, let the glue dry, and gently pull it out again. Use only a tiny amount of glue – you don’t want any excess to glue the whole key & lock together!

I was thinking superglue and toothpick as well. You might do better with the actual broken key though, it should be a perfect fit to the part that is stuck in the lock and as such give you more surface area to glue.

I would advise against oiling the lock in any way. Oil collects dirt and will gum up the lock. Locks are generally lubricated with powdered graphite if at all.

lIt might be useful if you shared the brand name or model number/type of the lock or bike shackle. Is the key flat or round?

THanks all for the tips - it’s an abus lock with a normal flat key similar to this model. The snapped key blade is way down the keyhole somewhere, which compounds the problem - it’s not very accessible.
I like the superglue idea - if the broken key is lined up properly I could see a drawing-out motion working. If that doesn’t work I’ll take it into a locksmiths.

if it was desperate i’d attempt drilling the key out. The bubblegum idea makes me think you could use an epoxy putty and see if you could get it to attach to the base of the key, theres one called Knead it… or some people into making warhammer models use something finer