The garage door is one of the most vulnerable entry points into your home, making it a common target for burglars.
Even if they don’t gain entry into your home, or if you have a detached garage, burglars know they can still find plenty of valuables in the garage such as tools, motorbikes, lawn mowers and so on.
While the garage door may look big and imposing, it is surprisingly easy to break into. A burglar with a crowbar or sometimes something as simple as a coat hanger can open your garage door.
In this home security guide, we explain how burglars get into garage doors and what you can do to make your garage door more secure.
Are Garage Doors Easy To Break Into?
It depends on the type of the garage door. Some types of garage doors are more vulnerable than others.
Up and over garage doors are some of the easiest to break into, while automated garage doors are the hardest.
The build quality matters too. Thin single skinned garage doors can be broken into with brute force, while double skinned garage doors are much sturdier and resistant to force.
To make your garage door hard for burglars to break into, the secret is to add as many deterrents as possible. Some ideas include multiple locking points, a garage defender, an alarm and others. We discuss them in more detail further below.
How Do Thieves Get into Garage Doors?
The most common trick that you’ve probably seen demonstrated on YouTube, is to use a coat hanger to pull the emergency release lever from the outside. It takes just a few seconds and a burglar can easily open the garage door.
If that’s not an option, thieves will target the opening and locking mechanism of the door. They’ll tamper with it, making it possible to open the door manually.
Burglars also often use brute force to open the garage door. If there’s some space under the door, they can use a crowbar to pry it up. They can also try to kick or hit the bottom panel until it bends and then they can force the door open.
For thin garage doors, the thieves can simply bend one part of the door until there’s enough space to squeeze through.
Though smart and automatic garage doors are more secure, they are still vulnerable to break-ins. Burglars can hack the garage door opening and closing system.
Even modern automated garage doors with the more secure rolling codes can still be hacked.
How To Stop Thieves From Opening Your Garage Door?
The best way to secure your garage door is to have multiple deterrents. Don’t depend on a single lock to keep burglars out.
Having a solid lock, plus a garage defender and perhaps an alarm system is much more effective. Having several lines of defences usually stops thieves before they do any damage.
We recommend securing your garage door both from the inside as well as the outside.
How To Secure A Garage Door From The Outside?
Most garage doors use an electric opener to open and close. They typically don’t have an extra lock. In fact, your garage door manufacturer may warn against installing an additional lock.
That’s because trying to operate the electric opener when the garage door is locked could damage the system.
But if you are careful, installing an additional lock on the outside can boost your garage door’s security.
The most common types of external locks for garage doors include slide locks, T-bar locks, ground licks and sliding drop bolts.
You can also install a garage defender. This consists of a metal arm that you secure to a base plate bolted to the concrete in front of the garage door.
A garage defender secures up and over garage doors, preventing thieves from forcing the door open even if they defeat the main lock.
How To Secure A Garage Door From The Inside
If you have an emergency release lever that can be accessed from the outside using a coat hanger, start there.
The first step is to shorten the emergency pull cord or remote it completely. But even with the cord gone, thieves can still pull down the lever the cord was attached to.
To secure the lever, take a zip tie and pass it through holes in the lever and the carriage above it. This makes it almost impossible for someone to pull the emergency release from the outside.
When you are inside, you can pull down the lever with enough force to break the zip tie. So your garage door’s emergency release is still functional.
Here’s a video showing the zip tie method.
The other way to secure your garage door from the inside is using a lock such as a slide lock. You can also lock the tracks with a C clamp or padlock, preventing the garage door from opening.
Note that when you add a lock, either on the inside or outside, you have to open it manually before activating your electric garage door opener.
Other Ways To Secure Your Garage Door
- Install security cameras to monitor your garage door and backyard area. You can get one of those smart cameras with motion detection. It’ll start recording and alert you on your phone if it detects someone moving about.
- Make sure the garage area is well lit at night. It’s also a good idea to make it more open by clearing bushes that thieves might use to hide while breaking into your garage.
- Installing an alarm can also deter thieves. It can be a vibration alarm, a motion detector alarm, or a door contact alarm.
- Consider if you need to upgrade to a more secure garage door that’s harder to break into.
- Look for other entry points into the garage and secure them. These include windows and side entry doors.