Rescuing a lock after the key broke inside

The other day, I turned the key to lock my ABUS Bordo lock and secure my bike. The key broke off, leaving a piece inside! Fortunately I was at home so I dragged by bike upstairs and thought about ordering a new lock. But this kind of lock is 87 € new, which is rather expensive. Seemed very wasteful, because the lock itself was not broken. I bought a cheap replacement (the discounted red Bordo Lite) and thought what to do with the old lock. I had no spare key, at least I couldn’t find it, but I had the broken part of the numbered key. I assumed I could go to an ABUS dealer and order a new set of keys. But how to get the broken key out? Well, I thought I would figure it out, or maybe ABUS would deal with it.

So, I went to a local bike shop, an ABUS dealer, for the first time, and was treated like an imbecile. The assistant pointed out that if I ordered an extra set of keys, 15 €, I would not be able to use the lock. The key would not work, with the broken piece inside. Well, thanks, genius. The assistant waved me away. It was my fault, ABUS was not to blame. I should contact them directly. But, ABUS doesn’t work this way – everything is through the dealers. You cannot contact them directly.

The assistant told me: the key was blameless. I should expect nothing. My fault. Then, after consulting his boss, he told me to take it back to the shop where I bought it, they themselves would do nothing for me. After this rather unpleasant experience, I resolved to try to get the piece out myself and get a new key somewhere else.

I looked online and saw a comment from a locksmith, suggesting that coping saw blades, if small enough, can be fed into the lock, and the teeth will catch on the broken key. Then you can pull it out. I went straight out and bought some “Laubsägeblatt” – 3.69 €. See picture below. I tried a little bit and started to have doubts, because the key seemed impossible to move. Then, I found a fantastic video from Dino Pinch that demonstrates 7 ways to get a broken key out of essentially any lock. Locksmiths have special tools for it, but Dino showed exactly how the saw blades can be put to work.

With renewed enthusiasm, I went back to the lock with two blades, and was able to extract the broken piece (see below). Amazingly, the video suggests that a locksmith should be able to make a replacement key from the broken pieces! It turned out to be true. For 7.90 €, my local key bar cut a new key from the broken parts, and I have a working lock again. I’m returning the Bordo Lite, and remain indebted to Dino!


coping saw blades


the broken piece, extracted!

the sawtooth blade


6 thoughts on “Rescuing a lock after the key broke inside

  1. Will try to do this at home. This is my second ABUS key that broke off. First time I though it was a dud as it broke in my pocket, but this morning the second key broke in the lock.

    Bike shop only said that this is typical to abus and next time I should get a kryptonite lock.

    Will try to watch the video and get the piece out tonight.

  2. Thanks for your post. Sitting in the same spot right now and just bought my saw blades. However, I can´t figure out how the blade possibly could fit into the Bordo lock… Got any tips except the video?


    • @elias I hope you were able to find these very fine coping saw blades? In the video, Dino inserts the blade into the keyhole. You have to break one end off, as Dino does around 3 minutes into the video. Good luck!

  3. Hey thanks a lot. For those reading this, try dousing the key hole in lubricant (I used oil) and hitting the lock on a hard surface a few times. Key eventually slid out enough that I could pull it with pliers.

  4. randomly read this while wondering what to do with same situation with my lock, went to hardware store to get tooling for attempt and locksmith in line fixed it on the spot !

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