How To Drill Out Ignition Lock Cylinder? Lets Find Out!

Last Updated On November 14, 2021 By Elliot

Can You Drill Out A Lock Cylinder?

Lock cylinders are commonly used to lock up your keyless entry system, or your car. If you ever get locked out of the house or your car, there’s no need to panic.

There are several types of cylinder locks on the market, and some are harder to pick than others. However, all locks can be drilled out, and it’s an easy DIY project anyone can complete.

If you have ever tried to drill out a lock cylinder yourself, you probably found it was easier said than done.

Consider using a drill press or a Dremel tool instead of using a regular drill. These tools allow you to control the speed and depth of your drilling. 

You should also buy a new set of a power tool that is designed specifically for lock cylinders.

Some of these tools even come with a special bit that allows you to drill into the lock without damaging the mechanism.

Keep on reading to know the extra steps on how to drill out ignition lock cylinder and safety tips when drilling.

Steps to Drill out Ignition Lock Cylinder

To drill out the ignition lock cylinder, you must first make sure your vehicle is locked and locked in a parking lot.

The following simple steps will show how:

Step 1 - Remove the old key

Remove all keys from your lock before starting any work on it. There are several methods available.

  • One method involves removing the entire lock assembly by pulling off its mounting screws.
  • Alternatively, you could remove only the pins holding the cylinder in place. This would leave the rest of the lock intact.

It depends on what kind of pin ignition system you have. Some locks use one large pin to hold everything together while others require 2-3 smaller pins.

Regardless of which type of locking mechanism you have, make sure that no other part has been damaged during the removal procedure.

Once you know that nothing else needs attention, you can safely proceed to step two.

Step 2 - Cut off your new key shanks

  • Your next task is to cut off the ends of your replacement key’s shank.
  • Do this by filing down about half inch of material away from both sides of the key slot.
  • Use a sharp knife to clean up the edges after cutting each end.
  • This ensures that the resulting cut is smooth and precise. 

You may need to file again until you feel comfortable that the blade won’t snag anywhere as you try to insert it into the slot.

  • Keep a good grip on your key as you attempt to slide it through the slots.
  • As soon as you see movement, stop immediately and pull back on the key. You don’t want to risk breaking anything by going too fast or too slow.
  • Now that we’ve removed our old key, let us move onto step three.

Step 3–Inserting the new key to your locking mechanism

  • Insert your newly filed down key into the deep hole where your missing key once lived.
  • The first thing you’ll notice is that the key now sits snugly inside the opening. Gently push the key forward and backward several times to ensure that it stays put.
  • Next, turn the key 90 degrees clockwise to align the tumblers properly.
  • Repeat the same process twice more, rotating the key 90 degrees each time. If done correctly, your last rotation should bring the key right up against the outer edge of the door frame.
  • You’re ready to install the new key. Install the key like you did the previous one. Remember not to over tighten the key.
  • Also remember to check if there were holes left by your lost key; they must remain empty, otherwise the entire operation will fail.

That completes the process on how to drill motor out an ignition cylinder.

Safety precautions

Safety First: Always use safety glasses or goggles when drilling into the lock.

1. When drilling out the cylinder for an ignition lock, you should first turn the car off, disconnect it from the battery, and disconnect the negative cable.

2. To prevent injury, have a helper hold the key as you drill speed out the lock cylinder.

3. Keep the tip of a flathead screwdriver at a 90-degree angle when drilling out a lock cylinder to avoid scratching the cylinder.

4. If you are drilling the lock cylinder, the “right way” is to use an ignition key to drill it, which is the same as using a key to open it.

5. A power drill bit should drill out the ignition lock cylinder at the correct angle.

Final Thoughts

Using a drill machine to drill out the ignition lock cylinder could have saved you a lot of money and time.

You can also use a file to hammer the cylinder out, but a drill is a better option because a file can damage the lock cylinder.

If you’re going to use a drill to drill out the lock cylinder, have a second drill just in case the first one breaks, or you might have trouble getting the cylinder out.


I'm Elliot Higgins the Founder of multiple hardware stores around the UK. I love wood and wood working. Watching a fine piece of pine or cedar turn into a work of art is extremely satisfying. The one thing I love more than woodworking is the toys that we use! On; we bring you information and reviews on all kinds of tools.

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Last Updated On November 14, 2021

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