Key Sticking In Lock

Don’t ignore a key sticking in your lock . Over time the problem will get worse and the end result will be a key stuck completely jammed in the lock, or even breaking off in the lock.

There are a couple of things you can try to stop a key from sticking in a lock, but if you try both methods and are not successful, it’s time to get a new key cut. If a new key sticks in the lock too, it’s time to replace the lock. You should also bear in mind that even if you are successful in stopping the key from sticking, this is only a temporary solution. You will notice that over time, the key will begin to stick again. When this happens, get a new key. Don’t repeatedly use these methods as you could clog up the lock’s mechanism resulting in potential lock failure (leaving you locked out) and the need to have your lock replaced.

If the worst happens and your key does become completely stuck in the lock, you need to call a locksmith. Don’t try to force the key out – you’re likely to snap it off completely. Instead, call a locksmith, who will either be able to remove the key for you, or replace your lock with little or no damage to your door.

DIY methods of preventing a sticky key:


Pencils are made from graphite, which has a slightly waxy texture. Rubbing the entire surface of your key with a soft pencil will leave a very slight coating of graphite on the key. This can act as a lubricant, helping your key to turn more easily in the lock.

WD40 or other lubricant:

WD40 is a very effective lubricant but should not be used repeatedly as its petroleum base can attract dust particles to the lock mechanism. It is possible to purchase lubricants especially designed for locks. These are effective, but as previously stated, should not be used repeatedly as they can clog up the lock.

Calling a locksmith:

If you have bought a new key and it is still sticking, or if you have several keys and they all have the same problem, you will probably need a new lock. Fitting a new lock is straightforward and not as expensive as you may think. If you continue to struggle on with a sticking key, you are very likely to end up being locked out, as the key will eventually either stick, break off completely, or simply fail to open the lock.

If you do find yourself locked out, click here for advice on what to do.