Automatic garage door openers are commonplace today, but like any mechanical device, they can fail. If that happens and you need to get your car out of the garage quickly, you may not have the time to fix the door opener problem.
Instead, you will need to know how to unlock garage door from inside to get the car out.
If you live in a place that experiences frequent storms, you can also have to manually unlock the garage door from the inside during a power outage.
The reason notwithstanding, knowing how to unlock the garage door from the inside will help you get the car out when an automatic opener option is not in the cards.
How to unlock garage door from inside
To unlock a garage door from the inside, start by undoing the manual lock if you have one engaged. Once done, pull the emergency release cord to disengage the door from the opener at the attachment point. After this step, you can raise the garage door with your hands to open it.
Notice that the garage door should be closed or in the down position before pulling the emergency release rope.
Attempting to disconnect the garage door from the opener while in the up or open position is not recommended as it is dangerous. If the door has a broken torsion spring or the spring is improperly balanced, the full weight of the garage door will come crashing to the ground if you release the opener.
This could mean the heavy door crashes anyone or any object in its path. The slamming will also likely cause significant damage to various components of the garage door system.
Steps for unlocking the garage door manually from the inside
If, for whatever reason, you must open the garage door manually from the inside, follow these steps to do it correctly and safely.
Step 1. Undo the garage door lock
Homeowners typically install a sliding lock, deadbolt, or other types of manual locks in their garages to secure the door and make it burglarproof.
Depending on where you live, thieves and other intruders can try to access your home through the garage. Since most homes have poorly protected garages, intruders usually take advantage of that security weakness to perpetrate their crimes.
Installing a manual lock to your garage door adds a layer of security to your automatic opening system. This can go a long way in diminishing the opportunity for intruders to break into your home.
Each manual lock works differently. So when opening the garage door from the inside, you must begin by unlocking it according to its mechanism.
Step 2. Locate the emergency release cord
The emergency release rope is a red piece attached to the trolley. You will need to use the emergency release rope to manually disconnect and operate the garage door.
Locating the emergency release cord should be easy—it is red across garage door opener brands to standardize things further.
Its location also makes it easier to locate. You will find it near the garage door, hanging from the trolley above the entrance.
The garage door opener trolley is the piece that stays with the door while the opener moves it up and down.
It connects the door to the opener and sits along the rail opposite the garage door opener’s motor unit. This position is typically in the middle of the garage door header next to the torsion springs.
Step 3. Pull the emergency release rope
Pull the red cord attached to the trolley to disconnect and operate your garage door manually.
The attachment point of this red rope and the trolley connect the trolley to the rail. When you pull the emergency release cord, the trolley disengages from the opener at the attachment point.
Once the garage door is free from the opener, you can manually move it up and down the rail without restriction.
Step 4. Raise the garage door to open it
After pulling the emergency release rope, the garage door should be free from its automatic opener system.
Notice that you should feel no resistance while raising or lowering the garage door with your hands if the torsion springs are doing their job.
The springs are responsible for the heavy lifting, not the garage door opener, as some may assume.
When you close the door, the garage door torsion spring tightens, loading up enough energy to pull the door back up by unwinding when opening the door.
This stored energy in the garage door torsion spring is what lifts the weight of the heavy door.
If you feel resistance when attempting to raise the door, you probably have a broken spring not doing its work.
Replacing a broken torsion spring requires special tools and expertise. So consider having a technician replace any broken spring before reconnecting the opener.
What to do once you have opened the garage door
- Pull the emergency release rope down and toward the motor unit if you want it to stay disconnected. This action engages a lever at the attachment point with a loaded spring to keep the door disconnected.
- Pull the cord down and toward the garage door to reconnect the opener. This will free the lever at the attachment point.
Step 5. Reconnect the opener once you can operate it normally
If you disconnected the opener due to a power outage, you should reconnect it once you have electricity. Similarly, if you disengaged the garage door to operate it manually due to a problem with the opener, you will need to reconnect it after fixing it.
There are two ways to reconnect the garage door to the opener. First, pull the garage door’s emergency release rope down and toward the door.
This will free the spring attachment lever, allowing for re-engaging the door with the opener.
- Raise the door to move the trolley toward the attachment point, allowing it to reconnect.
- Activate the motor unit and run a complete opening cycle once it is working. This will slide the attachment plate down the track until it attaches to the trolley.
If you choose the first method, you can reconnect the two mechanisms before you have electricity or before fixing your garage door opener if it has a problem. This is because lifting the garage door manually does not require input from the motor unit.
If you choose the second method, you must have electricity, or your opener’s motor unit must be properly working.
The mechanism will produce a loud click to indicate when the trolley runs over the carriage and reattaches. This means you can use the opener to operate the door again.
The video below illustrates how to open garage door manually from the inside
How do you bypass a garage door lock?
Efficient as they are, garage doors tend to be troublesome at the most inappropriate times. The garage door lock could suddenly jam when you’re late for a job interview, yet it has never done so before. You might misplace your keys or remote control for the first time on one of your busiest days, or worse, the garage opener breaks down when your budget is in the pits.
Having a secure garage door that deters unauthorized access is a flex until you find yourself in any of these situations. The more burglar-proof your garage door is, the harder it is to bypass the door lock. Even so, bypassing the garage door lock isn’t impossible, as there are several ways to deal with the situation. You could:
Override the door lock
Overriding the door lock means disengaging the door from the garage door opener so that you can manipulate it manually. The easiest way to do so is by pulling the emergency release cord. This method is easier if you’re inside the garage, as you can easily access the emergency release cord.
Otherwise, if you’d like to bypass the garage door lock from outside the garage, you will need the key to the emergency release kit. If you have the key in place, identify the emergency release kit on the garage door. You will find the garage door’s emergency release kit at the center, near the top of the door.
Once you locate it, insert the key and rotate it in an anti-clockwise direction, and you should see the emergency release cord popping out. Subsequently, tug the emergency release cord to disengage the garage door from the opener and activate manual operation.
The garage door has another lock directly below the emergency release kit, next to the door’s handle. Locate this lock and unlock it using the same key you used to open the emergency release kit. You should now be able to open the door by lifting it manually.
Be sure to restore the door to a downward position for safety purposes.
Replace your remote control
Most garage door openers come with at least two remote controls that come in handy when you misplace the remote. Losing both remote controls shouldn’t be cause for alarm, as you can always get a replacement. Of importance is to get one that is compatible with your specific garage door opener model.
The corresponding remote control is usually indicated on the garage opener’s drive unit. Otherwise, purchasing a new remote control from your garage door opener manufacturer would be your best bet. Alternatively, go for a universal remote control.
Make new keys
Suppose you don’t have the key to the emergency release kit or the garage door itself, you can always generate new keys with the help of a locksmith. A locksmith can generate a new key for you, with or without the original copy. Even better is that you don’t have to destroy your lock to crack your key’s code.
The locksmith can simply make an impression of your missing keys using a blank key. The blank key is placed into the lock to pick out the outline of the pins, and the key is then cut accordingly. This way, you will bypass the garage door without destroying it and get new keys.
Use the credit card method
Most garages have alternative access points or side doors besides the garage door itself. These could come in handy when you’re locked out of the garage door. All you need for a successful break-in is an expired card. However, you are at a disadvantage if the door is reinforced with deadbolt latches, as these can be challenging to bypass.
On the other hand, if the door has spring-loaded latches and a keyed knob, it’s your lucky day. Insert the credit card between the door and its frame at the point where the latch is located. Subsequently, apply pressure against the door using the card to depress the latches. This way, the latch and strike plate separate, and as they do so, apply pressure on the door to open it.
Use destructive entry
When push comes to shove, it’s better to destroy the door lock and deal with the consequences later rather than stay locked out of your garage. You can barely bypass a well-secured garage door using the methods above
Whether you’re dealing with a padlock, deadbolts, or any other type of lock, the best way to destroy the door lock is by using a power drill. This way, you can drill open the lock in no time, but you’ll have to replace the lock.
If you’re still unable to bypass the garage door lock, consider reaching out to a professional to avoid causing damage. Some garage doors feature anti-burglary reinforcements; if this is the case for your garage, technical intervention is the ultimate solution.
How do you override a locked garage door?
Getting locked out of your garage can be agitating, especially when there’s some form of urgency. You might even be tempted to use force to find your way into the garage. However, this will only do more harm than good as you might incur unexpected garage door repair costs.
That said, consider taking a step back to consider the safer options available. If you own a modern garage door, there are various ways through which you can effortlessly override your locked garage door without causing damage. These include:
Disengaging the automatic garage opener
The mechanisms of your automatic garage opener are most likely the reason why you found yourself locked out of the garage in the first place. On the bright side, this shows that your garage opener is competent enough to secure your garage door from unauthorized access. Disengaging the automatic garage opener deactivates the door’s automatic operation, enabling you to operate it manually.
Most garage door openers feature an emergency release cord that comes into play whenever you need to operate the door manually. The emergency release kit is usually located near the center at the top of the garage door. Once you locate it, use the kit’s corresponding key to unlock it and release the cord.
Follow up by pulling the cord until it pops, indicating that the trolley has detached from the opener’s carriage, freeing the garage door from the opener. Similarly, identify the garage door lock at the center of the door adjacent to the door’s handle. Unlock it and turn the handle until it’s in a vertical position.
You can then override the door lock by lifting the door with both hands until it opens completely. You could get someone to help you hold the door in place to ensure it doesn’t fall back and cause damage or injury.
Use your smartphone
If you invested in a Wi-Fi-compatible garage door opener, this is the time to reap the benefits. These include Homelink garage openers, which you can control using an app on your smartphone. Even when the remote or wall console fails, operating the opener using your smartphone can override the radiofrequency system and get you into the garage.
Call a locksmith
If all else fails, leave the job to a lock expert. You could be dealing with a failing motor, which requires professional attention. In such cases, even the emergency release cord won’t come to the rescue. The ultimate solution would be to manipulate the door lock.
The locksmith might not even have to dismantle the door lock. They could simply generate a new key for you using a blank. That way, you can salvage the door lock and get an extra key.
Can you bypass garage door sensor?
Yes, you can bypass garage door sensors when they keep malfunctioning. Garage door sensors play a crucial role in maintaining the safety of garage users.
However, they can be a nuisance when malfunctioning as they could keep triggering the garage door to open even when the doorway is clear. This compromises the safety of the garage as you may be unable to close it. Although you can bypass the sensors, you should be aware of the risk it poses to garage users before you choose to do so.
Garage door sensors usually come in a pair, each placed on either side of the door. The sensors are often located six inches above the ground for ultimate functionality. They communicate through an infrared beam of light that runs across the garage door from one sensor to another.
Any slight interruption of this infrared beam by an obstruction on the doorway or the photo eye lenses will trigger an automatic reversal. Due to their proximity to the ground, the probability of knocking the sensors out of place is quite high. And when the sensors misalign, they start malfunctioning and signaling the garage door to reverse until you re-align them.
Bypassing the sensors can be a quick fix if you intend to re-align the photo eyes later. More importantly, note that it’s only a temporary workaround, and you must restore the sensors’ functionality as soon as possible for safety purposes.
With that in mind, here are some ways to bypass the safety sensors.
Switch to manual operation
Since the safety sensors are part of your automatic garage opener, disconnecting the door from the opener should do the trick. You can use the red emergency release cord that dangles from the trolley. Simply pull the cord downwards and towards the motor unit until you hear a pop sound when the trolley detaches from the carriage.
That way, the garage door becomes independent of all the automatic opener’s mechanisms, including the sensors. You can then raise and lower the garage door manually without the sensors getting in the way.
Step over the sensors
The infrared beam of light that runs between the sensors dictates whether they trigger the garage door’s reversal or not. Therefore, if you want to bypass the sensors, the beam should be your point of focus. Walking into the garage as you normally would will interrupt the beam, and the sensors will sense an obstruction.
Rather than doing so, consider stepping over the sensor’s beam of light to avoid obstructing it. This should be easy because the safety sensors are close enough to the ground.
Remove the sensors
If you’re still unable to get past the sensors, consider removing them instead. Before you get to it, note that you should always ensure the garage door is in a down position whenever you want to manipulate it. In this case, start by unplugging the opener from the power source for safety reasons.
Follow up by identifying the wingnuts that hold the sensors in place. Using a screwdriver, loosen the wingnuts in an anti-clockwise direction and detach the sensors from the brackets. You can then finish off by cutting the wires connecting to the sensors.
Additionally, remember that some garage opener models won’t function without the safety sensors. Even if your garage door opener operates without the sensors, ensure you reinstate them at the earliest possible time to guarantee the safety of garage users.
Safety tips for manually opening your garage door
While the risks when operating a properly balanced garage door by hand are minimal, you still need to take certain precautions to guarantee your safety when unlocking the garage door from the inside.
This section provides tips to keep you safe when opening your garage door by hand.
Ensure the garage door is in the down position before disconnecting the opener
Pulling the emergency release cord to disconnect your garage door opener while the door is in the open position is dangerous.
Suppose you have a broken torsion spring; the full weight of the garage door will come lashing to the ground, crushing anything in its path. The consequences can be disastrous if this is a person, pet, or object.
Keeping the door in the down position is a crucial safety measure to ensure no harm comes to you in case you have a broken spring.
Unplug the automatic opener before operating the door by hand
Operating the door with the opener plugged into the power outlet can be dangerous. If power comes back while you are in the process, it might activate the opener and catch you unprepared.
The last thing you want is the opener attempting to close the door while a pet or kid is observing you from the doorway. A sensor malfunction might mean personal injury to you or your family.
Do not leave your open garage door unattended
If you open your garage door manually from the inside to get your car or garden tools out, ensure you shut it if you must leave the garage.
When you disconnect the opener during a power outage, nothing can stop your garage door from slamming shut due to powerful wind or some other impact. We recommend keeping the doorway clear until you close the garage door.
Call a technician when you feel uncertain
You might notice some resistance when opening your garage door manually. Often, this indicates a problem with the torsion springs. However, bent tracks can also cause such resistance, making it hard to lift the door after disengaging the automatic opener.
If you cannot see any visible damage on the torsion springs, yet your garage door feels heavy when lifting it, it may be time to call for professional help.
A technician will have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to diagnose the problem and offer the best solution.
Some problems can get worse if not addressed soon. So calling a technician as soon as you notice an issue with your garage door system might help prevent further damage.
Use your manual lock to secure the garage during manual operation
An unattended open garage door can be a glaring invitation for burglars. Unless you reconnect your automatic garage door opener and security system before leaving the garage, anyone can open it by hand and access your home.
Thankfully, your garage does not necessarily need electricity or a functioning opener to remain secure.
A metallic manual lock is typically installed on the side of the garage door. If you must leave your home, ensure you engage this manual lock to keep your garage burglarproof until normal garage door operation is restored.
Usually, sliding the lock in and out of place will lock and unlock it. Still, you may have a different manual locking mechanism. Whichever way it works, ensure you use it to secure the door throughout the manual operation period.
Inspect the door after reconnecting the opener
There will probably be no issues with your garage door after reconnecting the opener. Nonetheless, it won’t hurt to watch the movement and check everything to ensure it works properly after restoring the automatic opening mechanism.
If you notice any unusual vibrations or uneven movement after reconnecting the opener, the door might have picked up some problems while operating it manually.
Call a garage door technician to check it out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can you open a locked garage from the inside?
Yes. Your automatic garage door opener has an emergency release mechanism that disengages the opener when you pull a red cord attached to the mechanism. This releases the garage door, allowing you to open the locked door from the inside.
Additionally, garage doors have metallic manual locks that you can slide out of the way to unlock the door from the inside.
Q2. Why won’t my garage door open from the inside?
A garage door that fails to open from the inside likely has broken torsion springs. Garage door torsion springs store mechanical energy that lifts the garage door’s weight. When the spring is broken, it loses this mechanical energy and its ability to lift the door normally.
Your garage door may also fail to open if the tracks are severely bent, restricting the up-and-down movement of the garage door.
Q3. Why can’t I manually open my garage door?
Broken garage door parts are the most probable reason why you can’t open the door manually. The springs, for instance, usually bear most of the garage door’s weight, and if they are broken, you may struggle to open the door, even with your automatic garage opener.
The garage door’s moving parts could also be the culprit, especially if you rarely lubricate them or can barely recall the last time you replaced them. These include worn-out or corroded rollers, hinges, or a bent garage door track. Accumulated debris on the tracks could also cause the garage door to stick as you attempt to lift it manually.
Q4. How do you open a garage door without a remote from the outside?
For Wi-Fi-enabled garage doors, you can always access the garage using your smartphone. Otherwise, manual operation is the way to go. Most modern garage doors feature an emergency release cord that allows you to open the garage door from the inside or outside manually.
From the outside, the emergency release cord is found at the garage door’s upper part, and you’ll need a corresponding key to access it. Once you do so, tug the cord to initiate the manual operation. Also, be sure to open the garage door lock using the same key and turn the handle. After which you can lift the garage door manually.
Q5. How do you break into a garage door in 6 seconds?
One of the fastest ways to break into a garage is through the emergency release cord. All you need to do is apply pressure at the center of the upper part of your garage door until the door gives in, giving you access to the emergency release cord.
You can pull the cord to deactivate the garage opener and manually lift the door. Despite being a reliable feature, the emergency release cord predisposes your garage door to unauthorized access.
Q6. How do I unlock my garage door without a key
The surest way to unlock your garage door without a key is to let a locksmith do the job for you. They don’t always have to drill through the lock as they can easily generate a new key using a blank one. You could use a makeshift key or an old credit card, but these may not work for modern garage doors that offer maximum security.
Q7. How to open garage door manually from inside after power outage
Power outages are inevitable, especially if you reside in an area characterized by inclement weather conditions. Fortunately, automated garage door openers’ design accounts for such unforeseen circumstances, which is why most feature backup batteries. But what happens if your opener is devoid of a backup battery, yet you’re stuck inside the garage during a blackout?
The primary component of your garage door opener is the drive unit, which receives signals from the remote control only when there’s a power supply. Otherwise, you have to disengage the garage opener’s drive unit so that you can open and close the door manually. Here’s a guide on how to do so:
Disengage the locks if any
Some garage doors have deadbolt locks or latches to reinforce the garage’s security, and these could get in your way as you open the door. If this is the case, consider unlocking or removing the locks so you can easily open the door.
Identify the emergency release cord
Automatic garage door openers usually come with a track or rail, onto which the drive unit attaches on one end and a trolley carriage on the other. The trolley serves as a mode of communication between the opener and the garage door. Depending on the design of your garage door, the trolley uses either a cable, belt, or chain to open and close the garage door. Once you identify the trolley, you should see a red release cord emerging from it.
Tug the cord
Gently but firmly pull the emergency release cord downward and away from the garage door. Pulling the emergency release cord detaches the trolley from the carriage, disengaging the garage door opener. You should hear a click sound when the carriage and trolley disconnect to indicate that the door is no longer communicating with the garage opener.
Lift the garage door
Once you disengage the opener and the garage door, lift the door until it clicks into position, and voila! You can now leave the garage and close the door manually.
Power outages or opener malfunctions can prevent your automatic garage door opener from performing its role. If you must use the garage door during such times, you may have to open it manually from the inside.
Knowing how to unlock the garage door from the inside will help you use the door without a hassle. We hope this guide helps you through the process when you most need it.