How To Secure Your Garage Door

Your garage door might seem secure, but it can be a potential security weak spot for enterprising thieves. Here's how to fully lock down your garage.

There’s more to garage door security than you might think. Most homeowners close the overhead garage door and assume they’ve locked out any unwanted visitors. And they’re mostly correct; a garage door connected to an opener is pretty secure. But there are a few ways that crooks might still be able to get through your door. Here, we will show you how they do it—and how to stop them.

Prevent Fishing

By pushing the door inward to create a gap at the top, a crook can insert a wire hook and fish for the release cord. Some use a wedge to hold the gap open. Once the cord is hooked, all it takes is a good yank to disconnect the door from the opener. Once disconnected, it’s easy to manually open your garage door. On some garage door models, hooking the release lever works too.

Make a Garage Door Lock Shield

A garage door lock shield makes grabbing the release cord almost impossible. This shield is simply a wood cleat and a scrap of plywood screwed to the opener’s arm. The plywood is fastened to the cleat with just two brad nails, so it can break away— rather than do damage—if it runs into something while the door is traveling.

Add a Tie

If your trolley has a pair of holes, you can make a garage door lock with the release and a small plastic zip tie. Use the smallest tie you can find. It will be strong enough to resist the tug of a fishing wire but will break away with a hard pull on the release cord.

Every garage door opener has an emergency release that disconnects the door from the opener. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to open the door when the opener is on the fritz. But some clever crooks have turned this essential feature into a security risk.

Keep in mind that “fishing” a garage door isn’t exactly easy. In some situations, it’s almost impossible. Some garage door openers have a release mechanism that must be pulled straight down and won’t release if the cord is tugged at an angle toward the door. Others are a bit easier to fish, especially if your garage door has a window that allows the crook to see what they’re doing.

Add a Garage Door Monitor

The monitor receives the signal from the sensor and displays whether the garage door is open or closed. Sensors and monitors are battery-operated—no wiring is required. Here’s what you should do if your garage door keypad is not working.

Automatic Door Closer

Garage security is often undermined simply because someone forgot to close the door.  An automatic door closer gives you more security by closing the door whether you’re home or not. Installation requires some simple low-voltage wiring and takes less than an hour.

Keep Your Opener With Your Keys

It’s simple: If you take your garage door opener with you, thieves can’t steal it from your car. A keychain remote just makes sense.

A thief who breaks into your car can grab the remote for easy access to your garage. This isn’t just a problem when your car is parked in the driveway; the registration card in your glove box gives a crook your address.

So get rid of the remote on your visor and buy a keychain remote. You can easily take it with you every time you leave the car.

Lock the Track

If your door doesn’t have a lockable latch, drill a hole in the track just above one of the rollers and slip in a padlock. This is a good idea if you’re going on an extended trip and won’t need to get in and out of your garage for a while.

5 More Ways To Lock Down Your Garage

If you’re looking for more garage door security tips, here are a few of the most important:

  1. Beef up the service door. The walk-through entry door (called the “service door”) is the number one security weak spot in most garages. It should be equipped with a deadbolt and a heavy-duty strike plate, just like any other exterior door in your house.
  2. Lock the entry door. If you have an attached garage, lock the entry door that leads into the house. Too many homeowners rely on the service door and leave the entry door unlocked.
  3. Cover windows. If crooks can’t see the tools and toys in your garage, they won’t be motivated to get in. Sheer curtains or translucent window film lets in light but keeps valuables out of sight.
  4. Add lighting. Bright lighting makes burglars nervous and just might make them go elsewhere. Motion detector lighting is better than on-all-night lighting because it saves energy when it’s off and attracts attention when it’s on.
  5. Install a full home security system.

Harrison Kral
After spending his college summers pouring concrete and building decks, Harrison Kral decided to find a way to put his insider knowledge of construction to use…. just in an air-conditioned setting. He’s an established writer and editor in the DIY space who has written extensively on the home building industry, the housing market, and general DIY trends.