5 Solutions For a Garage Door Lockout

If you are locked out of your garage, the good news is garages are usually less secure than the residence itself, so it will be easier to gain entry.

If you are using an electronic garage door opener, first check to see that the batteries are fresh and, of course, that the power is on. 

Other than that the most common causes for the failure of a garage door to open are:  broken motors, broken locks, lost keys, and keys broken in the lock.

If the door unlocks but won’t move inward, there is simply some object pushed against the door that won’t allow it to open.  While that sounds simple as you are reading this piece, it may not be as apparent when you are standing outside the door angrily and possibly muttering expletives that no one else should hear.

Manual Release

If it is an attached garage, or it has a side door, you can get in, but not out.

In that case, when you are in, look for a cord hanging from the door opener mechanism installed on the ceiling.  Reach up to it or use a hanger or other hooked object to insert through the ring at the bottom and pull until the device has disengaged from the teeth of the opener.  Then you can go to the door and raise it manually.

If the garage door is equipped with an anti-burglary device, you will probably not be able to bypass it.  The only solution here is to call a qualified locksmith. 


Some garage doors are secured with a padlock.  If the padlock is flimsy and is not equipped with an anti-shim feature, it can be opened. First, there needs to be enough clearance between the cylinder and its hole.  Single latch padlocks are easier because any bit of slack will help.  Insert the shim between the shackle and body of the lock and twist and push the shim as deep as possible.  As the shim is rotated, it will disengage the locking springs. 

Side Door

If the garage has a side door, but it is locked, try inserting a plastic card.  Slide the card between the door and frame and move it toward the latch.  Add some force toward the door and push to separate the latch from the strike plate.

Remember that this will most probably break or bend the card beyond usefulness.  It will also damage any mag strip or chip. 

Brute Force

Find a tool and begin smashing until you can get in.  Be prepared to show identification and a good explanation when the police arrive.

Call a Professional

The best solution is always to contact a reputable locksmith.  Most provide emergency services and will come to your home to save the day.  They can handle a key broken in the lock as well as the safest method to open the door.  The fee will be considerably lower than a new door and you will save all the frustration of trying over and over and still not gaining entry.

This is also the point where you have a new key made.

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