It feels like it’s a thousand degrees outside.
You’re hot and sweaty and you just broke your key off in your door.
Frustrated at even the thought of this scenario? It’s OK, everyone is. Broken keys can be one of the most inconvenient things in the history of the world, but thankfully we have quite a few tips for avoiding the challenge and the frustration that comes with it.
Avoiding Broken Keys
Noticing some resistance when you try to turn your key in the lock?
Forcing it to turn anyway?
You, my friend, are headed for the land of broken keys in a hurry. Over time, cylinders within your lock can wear down. The springs can also weaken and your pins can sag. All of these things are working against your key and if you continue to force it, you’re going to snap that key in half. Instead, call a technician. They’ll be able to get you fixed right up.
Don’t Use Your Key as a Door Pull
We’ve all been there.
You have your key in the lock and it’s just as easy to pull it to get the door shut as it is to grab the actual door pull. This is a perfect way to break that key, though. It puts more strain on the key than it’s made for and it will continue to weaken it. Before you know it, you’re going to be suck outside in the middle of summer and it feels like a thousand degrees out and… well, you know how that story goes.
No, It’s Not Ok to Leave Your Key in the Door
Leaving your key in the lock when you’re not using it doesn’t sound like it would be a big deal, but it’s a common cause of broken keys. All it takes is for a runaway cart to crash into it and snap that sucker in half while it’s still in the lock. As soon as you lock or unlock your door, take the key out. This will save you lots of time and trouble in the future.
Using the Wrong Key
This might sound like a no-brainer but I can’t tell you how many calls we’ve received from an employee who sheepishly admits they broke their key by accidentally trying to unlock a different door with it.
But, you should always make sure you’re using the right key for your door. Trying to unlock a door with an incorrect key is never good because of all the pressure you’re going to put on the key when trying to turn it. Sure, this falls into the same line of thinking as “don’t force the key” but I thought it was a worth a mention.
Don’t Use Your Key as a Tool
Raise your hand if you’ve ever used your key to open a package that arrived in the mail?
I’m totally guilty of this. If I don’t have scissors or a knife handy, I’ll reach for my keys. This is a terrible idea.
You would think I would learn.
But convenience is a route many of us take and this can lead to broken keys. Using your key in place of a knife to cut packages or anything else open is a big no-no. It might seem like the edge of a key is perfectly fine for ripping open a package but alas, you need to go find a knife or a pair of scissors instead.
Your Key is Bent
If your key is bent, you’re already close to having a broken key. This just signifies there is a weak spot and if you put anymore pressure on it, it’s about to break.
If you have a bent key, you should just go ahead and have a replacement made before it actually breaks and leaves you stranded outside your store.
I know I’ve been preaching about ways to avoid broken keys throughout this entire post, but it’s also important to note that broken keys can also cause damage to your lock. So, not only will you have a set of broken keys on your hand, but there’s also a chance you’ll be stuck trying to repair a broken lock as well.
All of the force you used trying to turn that key also added force to the pins within the lock cylinder. This can bend or warp them making it impossible for even the correct key to work in the lock. This is just another reason to keep an eye out for signs your key is about to break.
Sometimes your key will break because the lock isn’t sufficiently lubricated for the key to turn. You can apply a silicone based lubricant, graphite powder, or any lock lubricant that will aid in the turning of the cylinder within the lock and will help you avoid broken keys in the meantime. Yale actually recommends LAB lubricant for their locks.
They had this to say on their site, “Yale® KeyMark® cylinders are lubricated from the factory with a Teflon® lubrication. Cylinders should be lubricated periodically depending upon environmental conditions and usage. LAB Lube is the approved lubricant. Caution: It is not recommended to lubricate cylinders with oil or to mix lubricants. ”
This is a simple fix and the lubricant can be bought at almost any hardware store.
Those are just a few way you can avoid broken keys. If you need more information or have more questions, feel free to contact us at anytime! We have people on hand who know a thing or two about doors and locks.
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