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Old 01-06-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
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LUBE your locks! (How to get a broken key out of the lock)

Phew.

Dodged a bullet. Just pulled into the garage from a weekend at the family compound. Went to plug in and.....


broke the key off in the lock on the shore power cord compartment.

Pliers. Did not work.

So I searched how to remove a key. I decided to use the saw blade method - lube the lock, insert jigsaw blade and use as teeth of blade against teeth of key.

Jigsaw blade doesn't fit in these small RV compartment locks.

Enter the awl.

For those of us less mechanically inclined, like myself, an awl is an ice pick that is kept in the garage and used to poke holes in leather, mainly, I guess. Anyway, press the awl under the teeth side of the key and now well lubricated - raise gently to top and try to "walk" the key out - pulling it by using the awl as a gear tooth levering against the key.

While I'd like to think it was my genius use of the awl - it was really the lube. I used slide out lube.

Worked so well, I lubed all the locks with it. Which, btw the most common cause of key breakage - stiff locks.

So lube yo' locks.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:57 PM   #2
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Good reminder! I was just wd40ing some of my equipment locks and latches today, guess I need to go do the trailer too
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:07 PM   #3
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Yep.......several times during the season. I use silicone lubricant, the same stuff for the rubber gaskets and weatherstripping.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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Sounds like very good advice to me. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MillerTime View Post
Good reminder! I was just wd40ing some of my equipment locks and latches today, guess I need to go do the trailer too
WD 40 is the worst thing to use to lub a lock (sorry) I use SeaFoam products to ensure they are operational during the summer and winter
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:38 PM   #6
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Maybe so but its either that, carb cleaner, 15w40, hydraulic fluid, 80-90, or grease gun grease cause that what I have around- sooooo I guess i'll have to use the wd40.
Usually doesn't get below 32f (for highs) more than a couple weeks each year here.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
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I've always used Lock-Ease.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:31 PM   #8
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Graphite... that will do it. that's one thing it's made for.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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If you do not have any lube on hand you could rub the key across a lead pencil. The graphite in the pencil will help lube the pins inside the lock. This will also work on your home locks.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:08 AM   #10
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Another vote for a puff of powdered graphite or a spray of dry lube into the lock. WD-40 will not stay in the lock after it dries.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:02 AM   #11
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Absolutely Herk, a dry lubricant doesn't collect the dust, dirt and grit as liquid lubes do and it will last longer and be more effective. The silicone's and WDs's of the world do a great job and have there place for sure.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #12
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I buy some lock lube at the auto parts store it is graphite and in some kind of liquid lubricant. I do this once a year and it works for me. also if it runs out onto other surfaces it wipes off real easy. I believe it penetrates better than dry graphite. I live in Mi. and the locks on the back of my capper on my truck always get seized up from the road salt in the winter. I squirt some of this in the lock and gently work the key back and forth and eventually it'll work itself free.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:52 PM   #13
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Stay away from the liquid sprays, they will gum up after a while. Go to your local locksmith, LOCAL, not a big name box store, and ask for a tube of graphite. It is the best thing for locks, lasts a long time and you are supporting your local small business at the same time.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:11 PM   #14
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Good to know. One of my pass thru locks is getting stiff and I bent a key trying to open it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:14 PM   #15
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Good to know. One of my pass thru locks is getting stiff and I bent a key trying to open it.
Always happy to serve as the beacon on the trail of what not to do.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:29 PM   #16
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Two other thing that will cause a broken key, being in a hurry...make sure that the key is inserted all the way into the keyway before trying to turn the key, and once you unlock the lock use the handle to open the door and not the key while it is still in the keyway, I watch people all the time and it is the most common thing that people do.......and I do have a "Key Extractor" to remove broken keys.

All of you need to be careful with RV locks they are the cheapest locks out there, they do not have stainless steel pins in them, they have brass dic tumblers and they will bend easy, they are the samething that are used in furniture the only difference is that they have a cover that flips down and covers the keyway. The best thing you can do is to keep them lube and clean and do not spray anothing inside of the keyway, apply it to the key and slide the key in and out a few times until the key moves easy.

If you are at the beach and you drop your key in the sand you better wash it off before you use it, sand it deadly for a lock.....
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:11 PM   #17
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Personally--I despise WD-40. Why? In 38 years of industrial maintenance, primarily as a machinist, I have seen as much ferrous metals rusted from an application of WD-40 as I have seen ferrous metals rust from being outside in the rain. I have seen the direct results of precision measuring tools (not mine) and precision machine tool equipment get the infamous "black rust" from applications of WD-40. IMO: Locks/tumblers get silicone or graphite.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:33 PM   #18
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I have worked with locks for over 10 years (Kwikset). I would never use WD40. Dry graphite is the only thing needed. It is a good idea to lube the pin area several times a year. You can spray a silicon spray into the latch area of the lock to keep it free. If you find the door hard to close try lubricating the latch area of the lock. A RV tech told me that this area should he lubricated once a month.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:55 PM   #19
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I believe OP was instructing us on how to remove a broke key, AND just reminding us to lube our locks.

I'm sure what ever you use will work for you, everybody has thier opinions and since we know what those are like, we know that some will stink, just have to find out if any do, ourselfs!

Oh yes, get those locks "wet"!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockwood06 View Post
Two other thing that will cause a broken key, being in a hurry...make sure that the key is inserted all the way into the keyway before trying to turn the key, and once you unlock the lock use the handle to open the door and not the key while it is still in the keyway, I watch people all the time and it is the most common thing that people do.......and I do have a "Key Extractor" to remove broken keys.

All of you need to be careful with RV locks they are the cheapest locks out there, they do not have stainless steel pins in them, they have brass dic tumblers and they will bend easy, they are the samething that are used in furniture the only difference is that they have a cover that flips down and covers the keyway. The best thing you can do is to keep them lube and clean and do not spray anothing inside of the keyway, apply it to the key and slide the key in and out a few times until the key moves easy.

If you are at the beach and you drop your key in the sand you better wash it off before you use it, sand it deadly for a lock.....
Great tip on the sand!
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