I drive a 2008 Holden Barrina which I’ve had for about a year now. The control doesn’t work So I’ve been opening the drivers side door with a key this whole time.

About a week ago I put the key inside the lock to open it and drove Home. When I got home I tried to lock my door as usual with the key but the key wouldn’t go in more than a few millimeters.

The cover of the lock isn’t there and I’ve tried to look inside and I’m assuming that’s where it is. My key won’t budge at all when I try to insert it. I’ve been climbing through my passenger door for a week but I want to sell the car now.

Is there any advice on how to fix this or should I take it to someone? If I should take it to someone, would it be a mechanic or locksmith etc? Also rough costs for this if that’s possible at all? (Australian)

Thank you so much for any help!!

  • 3
    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! If the flap truly is shoved in there, you're really going to play heck getting it out ... and then when you do, there won't be a flap in there to keep the elements out. JMHO, but I think it'd take it somewhere and have new locks put in. While they are in there, they could probably figure out what's going on with the control (I'm assuming you mean the fob isn't working?) and maybe get that fixed as well. You could possibly do this yourself, if you're handy enough. It's not easy, but not overly hard, either, depending on the vehicle. Aug 19, 2020 at 0:25
  • Easy job for locksmith. A competent locksmith will fix function of the lock and repair/replace the dust cover. Most all mechanics will just replace the lock with another one causing you to need multiple keys.
    – narkeleptk
    Aug 19, 2020 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


You can probably retrieve that piece that jammed in there using a thin wire bent into a hook shape. Better would be lockpicking tools but those may not be available to you, a thin paper clip should work okay. You would work it into the back of the lock and then pull the debris out, as soon as a bit pokes out you grab it with a pliers and get it the rest of the way. I would do this to get myself driving again.

As to where to take it for a more permanent repair you'd take it to a mechanic, not a locksmith, unless that locksmith specializes in cars. The doors need to be opened up so the lock cylinders can be removed and replaced. While they are at it they could fix the central locking system so your fob works again. As to what you should do that is a matter of opinion and how much the car is worth for resale. Having obvious problems like broken central locking would generally make me walk away, or at least reduce the value I'd pay for it. If you have a common make where there's lots of choice having broken things on the car will make it harder to sell, but if the value is very low it may cost more to fix these things than they are worth to the value.

  • 1
    What? Auto locksmiths regularly remove door panels & dissemble locks for keys/repairs and are far more capable at handling locks (and even the central locking systems) then most mechanics. A locksmith will carry parts to service the lock with out the need to replace it. You'd catch hell trying to fish it out with hooked wire/paper clip. A straight magnetized paper clip would work better but the wafers will still probably be in the way. Easiest solution is just going to be to dissemble the lock and dump the obstruction out, replace any damaged wafers, new dust cover and lock cap.
    – narkeleptk
    Aug 19, 2020 at 13:14
  • I've had the same problem and I fished it out with a bent paper clip without much drama @narkeleptk. It may not work but it's unlikely to make it worse as the lock isn't working anyway. You lose nothing by trying. Worst case scenario is the lock needs to be replaced.
    – GdD
    Aug 19, 2020 at 16:51

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