So you were in a hurry and got a little too enthusiastic while locking your front door. Or your car is frozen over from the snow last night and the iced up lock snapped your key like a twig.  I feel your pain, but you’re gonna get through this.

Here’s a quick guide of the steps you’ll need to take to solve your key conundrum.

STEP 1: CHILL

The first thing you need to do is get calmer than you were before this happened. You need to be thinking clearly and logically in order to deal with this. Assess the situation, and hope that you didn’t just lock your phone in your house.

STEP 2: CALL A LOCKSMITH

Women talking in front of the carYou’ll want to get this taken care of as soon as possible. If your key broke before the door closed, you won’t be able to lock it. If it broke after, you won’t be able to get back in. So get a locksmith on the phone, tell them your key is broken, and someone will come out to meet you.

They’ll bring a key extractor with, which hooks the teeth of the key and pulls it out without wrecking the lock. Once you have regained all your key pieces, take them to have a new one made if you don’t already have a spare.

 

STEP 3: PREVENTION

Key broke off from lockNow that you know this is a real thing that happens to people, you need to be proactive so that it doesn’t happen to you again.

Sometimes keys break because the lock is in poor condition. To prevent this, you should apply a silicone-based lubricant to it every 6 months or so as part of regular lock maintenance to keep it turning smoothly.

Rings of keysCar locks are known to freeze in winter, so you might get aggressive when trying to open it. Don’t. If the lock isn’t turning like it should, heat the key with a lighter or put some vaseline on it. This will help the lock defrost enough that you can safely use it.

Most importantly, get spare keys made. Your keys will go through some normal wear and tear over time; that’s just how it is. If you have spares, switch to a new one if it looks like your current one is getting too worn down. Additionally, this will benefit you in the event you lose your keys down the line.