Key broke in ignition

My key broke off deep in the ignition and I can’t get it out. I took off the dash cover and can see the ignition assembly but don’t know how to get the tumbler out to replace or fix it. 1990 4runner.

Will the lock still turn? Can you drive the car?

the lock won’t turn and i can’t drive the vehicle; it is at home and i don’t really want to have it towed. fortunately i have other transportation:)

Usually, you can still turn the ignition switch when the key breaks off. You can put a screw driver in the key slot and turn the switch. If you can do this, you can, then call a locksmith and tell him you will take the car to him (to avoid the dispatch charge most of them charge). The locksmith has a tool which can extract broken keys. (They might not want people to know that there is such a tool.)

You can try using a hacksaw blade to remove the broken key.

Take the hacksaw blade and grind down the width of the blade to where there’s little of the blade left with the teeth. Also make sure the rake of the teeth on the blade point to the right. Insert the blade into the lock cylinder above the broken key and then pull the blade out. The teeth on the blade will grip the broken key and pull it out.


The locksmith who eventually comes to your house to fix the lock will charge you double if there is a hacksaw blade broken off in there too…Mobile locksmiths are surprisingly reasonable as long as they don’t have to deal with butchery…

I have a friend who’s a locksmith. And he showed me the trick of either using a hacksaw blade or a coping saw blade to remove broken keys from cylinders.


Anyone who is able to break a key off in a lock is SURELY able to snap off a rather delicate, ground down hacksaw blade…Since the lock will not turn, I suspect it’s jammed up pretty good…These operations have a way of degrading down to the 1/2" drill very quickly…:slight_smile:

I have used that method successfully several times. Hacksaw blades are springy and hard to break. The “tool” I made several years ago is narrower than the broken-off key and only has teeth on one side. After all, you only want to grip the soft brass key, not the lock.