You’ve Accidentally Locked Your Yale Lock Key on the Inside – Here Is What to Do

If you have ever found yourself locked out of your property because the Yale lock key is in the inside part of the lock, you are not alone. Read on to find out what your options are in this situation.

I have been using Yale locks for about a decade now. The one mistake I keep making is locking the door with the keys on the inside part of the lock. It has taken a lot of sweat and hustle to learn how to deal with this situation.

Yale Lock Key

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Door locks are the safest way to keep our homes, rooms or buildings secure. When you have a god lock installed on your door, you can enjoy peace of mind, knowing that your property is well secured. What happens when you accidentally leave the keys inside the house or on the inside part of the lock. This means you don’t have access to your property and will need to get creative to find ways to unlock the door. You are probably looking for a solution which will cause minimum damage to the lock and the door. The greater the damage, the greater the cost to repair it.

You Have a Spare Key but It’s Useless

You left the house in a hurry this morning. The door slammed shut and the lock automatically locked itself, leaving you on the outside and the Yale lock key on the inside.When you get home and realize what happened, you breathe a sigh of relief because you keep a spare key in the garage. You slip the spare key into the key only to realize it cannot engage because the other key is in there. So much for a spare key!

Possible Solution – Disengage Key

Most people leave their keys slightly turned to the left or right when in the key hole. If you are lucky and the key on the inside is in a completely upright position, you can push the key out. Use the spare key or the edge of a coat hanger to carefully push the key out. This disengages the key’s teeth and the pins in the lock.Once the lock pins are free, you can now use your spare key to unlock the door.

This technique only works if the key on the inside is in an upright position and is not turned to the left or right. If it is turned, even slightly, then the key on the inside is stuck because it cannot disengage from the lock pins.

Use a Credit Card

To unlock the door using a card, use a flexible, laminated card which you don’t mind getting damaged. Here is how to do it.

  • Slide the card in between the door and the frame just above the lock. If there isn’t enough room here, slide the card between the door and frame higher up and then slide it down to the lock.
  • With the card angled downward, push it behind the spring bolt. Make sure the card remains perpendicular to the door.
  • Slowly pull the card towards yourself and turn the handle at the same time.

The card pushes against the beveled side of the bolt, making it retract slightly. Turning the door handle helps retract the bolt further which opens the door. This technique only works with spring bolts because they have a beveled edge. A rectangular shaped deadbolt cannot be retracted in this way.

Use a Bump Key

A bump keyis a key which fits in the lock you want to open but cannot open it. As long as you have a key that enters the lock, you can turn it into a bump key by filing all cuts to the lowest depth. Pin-and-tumbler locks work by the key’s teeth lifting all the pins in the lock.  To unlock a door using a bump key:

  • Push it into the lock until only one pin is left unlifted.
  • Strike the key hard using a rubber mallet and then turn the key immediately to open the door.

How this works: The pins inside the lock are in two sections, an upper and a lower section. Force from striking the key makes the lower pins reset inside the tumbler and transfer force to the upper pins. When the upper pins are lifted, the lock opens.


These are just a few techniques you could use to open yourYale lock when the key is in the inside lock or just somewhere in the room. Other methods include picking the lock, using a hex wrench and removing hinges.Brute force by kicking down the door or breaking it open using a battering ram is always a last resort.

If you want to completely eliminate the chance of ever getting locked out because a key is left in the lock, consider installing double cylinder locks. These locks have two cylinders which are used to open the lock from the inside and the outside. Both cylinders operate independent of each other. You can unlock the lock from the outside even when a key is in the lock on the inside.



I left my key on the inside part of a uPVC door. How can I open the door?

The door probably has a letterbox.  Use a stick to try and push or pull the door handle down to open the door.

My key broke inside the lock. How do I get the broken half out?

Try not to push the broken piece further in. The further it goes, the more difficult it will be too get it out. Use a pair if needle-nose pliers to remove the broken piece.

I was advised to install double cylinder locks to eliminate the possibility of my elderly mother locking herself out with the key on the inside. Is this a good idea?

Double cylinder locks have the advantage mentioned. The downside is that they can slow one down when trying to exit a room in the event of an emergency.

My key is on the inside part of the lock. If I get a locksmith to pick the lock, do I have to buy a new lock?

Single pin lock picking, especially if done by a professional, does not damage the lock.

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