Are you looking to make your garage more secure? Most modern garage doors lock automatically and have rolling codes, which are helpful security measures but may not always be enough. Burglars have devised smart ways to manually open automated garage doors.
Fortunately, there are several ways to lock the garage door from inside for heightened security against intruders. Below, we provide low-tech inexpensive recommendations.
You will need the following tools to secure your garage door from inside:
- Hole punch
- Flathead screw
- Self-drilling screws
- Impact drill
- Key padlock
- Zip tie
- Latch lock
- Step ladder
How to lock garage door from inside
There is more than one way to burglar-proof your garage door. Follow these simple tips to keep your garage secure and enjoy peace of mind.
1. Use a zip tie to lock the release lever
Your garage door opener is connected to an emergency release lever. You can use this lever to open the door manually from the inside when there is a power cut or if the opener has a mechanical problem.
However, burglars can use this lever to access your garage too. By inserting a cloth hanger through the top opening of the garage door, reaching to the lever and pulling it toward the door, an intruder would be able to open the door. This is commonly known as ‘fishing.’
Most automatic doors are secure against fishing but it is still possible for a determined burglar to gain access to your garage and home using this method. A simple workaround for this problem is to install a zip tie on the release lever. Here’s how to do it:
- Disconnect the garage opener: This important safety precaution will prevent the opener from engaging accidentally and opening the door.
- Identify the release lever cord: This cord is attached to the release lever and prominently swings from the overhead opener trolley i.e. the two horizontal bars that hold the door in the open position.
- Locate a hole at the bottom of the trolley: The release lever is attached to the trolley by a hinge. Locate the hole on this hinge as well.
- Insert the zip tie: Insert one end of the zip tie through the hole in the hinge and then through the hole on the release lever. This will give you a loop around the two holes. Tighten the zip tie and trim off the excess tie using a wire cutter.
The zip tie will prevent the release lever from engaging the opener when the cord is pulled down.
2. Install a slide lock
Latches or deadbolts are an inexpensive way to keep your door locked from inside. These are easy to install without the help of a locksmith or garage door professional. Follow these simple steps to install a slide lock to lock your garage door manually:
- Gather the necessary tools. You will need a flathead screwdriver, hex screws, impact drill, and the latch.
- Locate a small knockout template on the vertical tracks on either side of the garage door. This is usually located in the second section from the bottom of the door.
- Use a hole punch to remove this template to allow the latch to slide into the track. Some doors already come with a hole on the vertical track through where the latch goes into.
- Place the lock against the wall with the latch aligned with the hole in the track. Then, use the pilot holes on the lock to pre-drill screws holes into the wall.
- Drive two screws, one through the top and the other through the bottom pilot holes on the lock and into the pre-drilled holes on the wall.
Pro tip: If your garage door has an automatic opener, we recommend disengaging the latch until when you need to use it. To do this, drive a screw at the bottom of the lock through to the latch to keep the latch from sliding into the hole in the track. Operating the garage door when the lock is engaged can cause serious damage to the door.
3. Lock the tracks with a padlock or c-clamp
A slide lock firmly attached to the wall is the most secure way to lock your garage door from the inside. However, a short-term alternative is to use a c-clamp or key padlock to lock the vertical tracks.
- Determine if there are pre-drilled holes on the vertical tracks on either side of door. If there are no holes, use an impact drill to drill some holes, ideally slightly above the first roller from the bottom of the door.
- Put a C-clamp or key padlock through the holes to lock the track. This will make it difficult to tinker with the door and pry it open.
Pro tip: Always remove the padlock or C-clamp from the tracks before engaging the opener to avoid damaging the door and for safety when operating the door.
The three methods we have recommended above are sufficient to burglar-proof your garage door. Here are more tips to take your home security to the next level especially if you are going to be away from home.
Secure all doors
In addition to burglar-proofing the garage door, be sure to secure all other doors that can give intruders access to your home. Installing deadbolts is an inexpensive way to do this.
Prevent intruders from peeping through windows
Windows can make it easy for an intruder to manually open your garage door. Your best bet is to prevent them from peering into the garage. Consider installing blinds or replacing your windows with tinted ones.
Unplug the opener
Burglars can use special devices to capture garage door codes and gain access to your property. If you have an older garage door opener without a rolling code mechanism, unplugging the opener will make it difficult for thieves to open the door using methods such as fishing.
Install motion sensor lights
Darkness makes your garage an easy target for thieves. Install motion sensor lights to startle and discourage anyone from trying to break in.
Burglar-proof your garage door without breaking the bank
Most garage doors connected to an opener are quite secure. However, locking your door from the inside is a cost-effective way to up the ante as far as your home’s security is concerned. Use the tips above to keep your garage inaccessible especially if you’ll be away from home for a while.
Have you tried any of these techniques to burglarproof your garage door? Let us know in the comments!