What to Do When Locked Out of Your Garage

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Have you ever had trouble opening your garage door from the inside or outside? Although it isn’t common, people have been accidentally locked out of the garage. Alternatively, if your garage door opener malfunctions, you may have trouble entering your home in an emergency.

In the event that your garage door does not open, call Garage Door Medics. We can quickly repair and open your garage door. We have the best new garage door installers in San Diego if you require a garage door replacement. 

The garage door opener may have suffered an electrical or mechanical malfunction. If you cannot manually open a garage door from the inside or outside, an experienced garage door technician can help. Before calling for service, try the troubleshooting steps below to regain access to your garage door. 

1. Open the Garage Door from the Inside

Try the manual release if the electric opener has stopped working, shut off, or won’t respond. All garage door openers have a manual release device located inside the garage. The manual release will allow you to open the garage if you cannot open it using the garage door remote.

In older garage doors, look for the manual release mechanism on the face or bottom of the door. Follow the steps below to open your garage door manually.

Step 1: Let’s unlock the garage door. Check the garage door’s exterior to release and unlock all latches, switches, and locks that might obstruct the door from opening.

Step 2: Move the garage door to the closed position. To prevent injury to you or damage to your garage door, ensure the door stays down in the fully closed position. 

Step 3: Disconnect the garage door opener. Remove the battery or unplug the garage door opener before performing a manual release.

Step 4: Find the emergency release. Locate the red-colored emergency release cord typically found hanging from the railing or the track in the center of the garage.

Step 5: Pull the emergency cord. Grab the emergency release handle and pull it downwards. Activating the release will disconnect the garage door opener so that you can manually open the garage door.

Step 6: Open the garage door. Slowly pull the garage door up from the bottom until it reaches the top and stops moving. Check if the garage door stays securely locked before backing your car out or walking underneath the door.

Step 7: Carefully close the garage door. After opening your garage, use the manual slide lock to secure and close the garage door until you find a more permanent solution. 

2. Open the Garage Door from the Outside

Before opening a garage door from the outside, ensure there isn’t anything blocking the door from opening. The outside garage door emergency release kit sits near the top and looks like a small lock. This lock houses the emergency release cord, so start by using the key to unlock it.

Next, move the garage door handle to the vertical position and pull the door’s release handle. After the garage door unlocks, lift the door using the handle. Pull all the way up to lock the garage door in the upper position before releasing it.

3. Open the Side Door

Aside from the garage door, attached garages have another access point. If you are locked out of the garage, try gaining entry by opening the side door. You can unlock the side door without a key and with a bit of practice.

Move the handle to check if the side door is locked. If it’s locked, the credit card method may help. This method should work if the side door has a keyed handle or knob. 

How to Open the Side Door Using a Credit Card

Avoid using an active or important credit card, as the process may bend, scuff, or damage the plastic.

Step 1: Insert the card inside the gap between the door and the frame. Slide the card down until it’s next to the doorknob. Push the card at a 90-degree angle to the door.

Step 2: Move the card in an up-and-down motion. Tilt the card towards the doorknob until it almost touches it.

Step 3: Bend the card the opposite way. This allows the card to slip under the angled end of the slant-latch, forcing the door to open.

Step 4: Still not open, and the garage door is locked? Lean into the door and continue moving the card back and forth. The added pressure should open the lock. Call a locksmith if the side door has deadbolts and padlocks or if you cannot unlock the door.

4. Get a Wi-Fi Enabled Garage Opener

Sometimes garage door openers stop working if the radio frequency system fails. If you live in an area with interference, invest in an alternative like a Wi-Fi-enabled garage door opener. Use the provided application on your smartphone or tablet to wirelessly control the garage.

Wi-Fi access proves useful when you want maintenance and delivery personnel or family members to access your garage. You can easily open or close the garage door from your smartphone. When you’re away from home, you can monitor or disable the use of your garage door. 

5. Lock Repair and Replacement

If you manually lock your garage door, the door opener will no longer operate. A locksmith can replace or repair the manual lock if you misplace or break the key. When locked out of the garage, do not forcefully try to open or close your garage door.

The garage consists of components that can easily damage or break, such as the garage door opener, springs, and motor. If parts of your garage door system sustain damage while trying to open the door manually, we can send a professional garage door technician to perform repairs.

6. Install a Backup Battery

Garage doors use your home’s electrical power to operate. If a power outage occurs, you can still gain access to your garage door by installing a backup battery. Automatic garage doors with backup batteries eliminate the hassle of trying to open them manually.

These days, most new garage doors have a pre-installed backup battery system. The backup battery will allow you to open the garage and control the keypad, door opener, and safety sensors. Depending on the usage, garage door opener batteries can last between one and two years. 

7. DIY Method Using a Drill

If your remote control stops working or there isn’t a signal, you can drill a hole in the garage door. Drill at the top of the garage door to access the emergency release cord. Insert a spider tool to grab the red release cord inside the garage.

Pull down to engage the door opening system, which will let you open the garage door manually. To prevent future problems with garage access, install a vault lock. The vault lock attaches to the emergency release handle using a cable or rope. 

Give Garage Door Medics a Call Today

Garage Door Medics can recommend the most functional garage door for your home’s design and your family’s needs. Work with a trusted garage door installation company if you suspect your garage door or opener may need an update or replacement. Visit or contact us to learn how to convert a manual garage door to automatic.

Have you been locked out of the garage? Contact Garage Door Medics to help you safely regain access to your garage. We provide a one-stop shop for all your garage needs. 

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