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How to Open a Locked Garage Door from the Outside?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to open a locked garage door from the outside

Getting locked out of your garage can be a frustrating experience, especially when you need access urgently. However, there are various ways on how to open a locked garage door from the outside, offering both DIY solutions and professional help.

This post will explore practical strategies to break into a garage door without a key, regain access during emergencies, and provide real-life examples of individuals who successfully implemented these methods.

Ways to Open a Locked Garage Door From the Outside: DIY Solutions

1. To unlock without a remote control or without electricity

Most people use their garages to have interior access to their homes. Because of this, the dilemma arises in instances like having broken remote control or power outage. These reasons can prevent your electric garage door from functioning.

Of course, you do not want to wait for the batteries or power to become available for you to get inside. If you are in an emergency, there is a hack that you can follow.

Here are the steps to open the garage without power or a remote:

Step 1: Unlock the release


Find the release of your door. It is a key slot that disconnects the door from the garage door opener or motor. It is usually a rectangular metal located at the upper part.

Step 2: Ready your key


Next, get your garage keys (usually, most vault garages have this). Put the key into the slot and turn it 90 degrees, left or right, until it frees up. After that, the key will pop up, and you will notice a metal cable connected to it.

Step 3: Pull the cable


Stretch a bit more after pulling the tumbler with the cable until you hear a clicking sound. This is the indication that the garage door opener is going to release or disconnect.

Step 4: Unlock the manual lock (if your garage has one)


This fourth step is only applicable to garage doors with manual knobs. You can skip this part if your entry does not have one.

Put the key in the lock and turn. Then, grab the handle and turn it as well. Make sure that it goes from a horizontal to a vertical position.

Step 5: Put the key slot back in


Return the tumbler or the key slot in the exact opposite direction as it was before. At this point, you can already move the door up. There are doors when you need to push it using your palms, while others are accessed by holding the bottom part and pushing it up to the top.

Nevertheless, remember that once you get it disconnected at the bottom, you can freely move the door manually.

2. To unlock a broken or stuck manual garage door

There are several possible reasons why your manual garage door won’t open from the outside.

However, you can choose which solution to choose as some can cause permanent damage, requiring you to repair your door locks. There is also a way that you will gain access and resolve the issue safely and efficiently without wasting a penny on further door repairs.

These instructions will help you on how to unlock a faulty manual garage door by yourself:

What to Prepare:

Before attempting to unlock the door, gather the following tools:

  1. Pliers or wrench
  2. Drill
  3. Hairpins
  4. Lighter

Step 1: Inspect the Door and Identify the Issue

To unlock a manual garage door, examine the door first for any visible obstructions or physical damage that may be causing it to stick or jam. Then, check the track and rollers for debris, rust, or misalignment, as these issues can also prevent the door from opening smoothly.

Step 2: Pick the lock

  • Option#1: Drill out your handle lock


One of the easiest and fastest ways to break into your garage door is to drill out the keyhole of your door latch. You may opt for this solution after losing the garage door key. 

  1. Start with a minor bit and work to puncture the keyhole.
  2. After several moments of drilling, change your bit into a larger one.
  3. As you spin the drill further, you will notice that the tumbler, a piece where the key is attached and turned, will start to detach itself from the latch.
  4. Get the tumbler out. Try to spin your knob or latch. It should be free-spinning after busting the keyhole.
  • Option #2: Use hairpins as key replacements


Did you know you can open a broken garage door even if you are locked out of the garage from outside by using two hairpins? You need to make two things: your lockpick and the tension wrench. Here’s how:

  • Making the lockpick


First, bend one of the hairpins into a 90 degree angle. It should look like an ‘L’ after doing the first step.

Next, bend the squiggly end, the textured side of the hair pin back around. Then, burn the plastic tip of the end of the straight side for you to have a nice flat surface to utilize. Insert that flat surface into your door lock. Apply a bit of pressure for you to have that slight bending hook.

Your hook should look something like this in the picture.


  • Making the tension wrench

Grab your second hairpin. Bend the hairpin a half inch away from its end part at a 90 degree angle.

And, voila! There you have it! You lockpick and tension wrench.

Step 3: Check for Broken Springs

Broken garage door springs commonly cause manual entries to become stuck or difficult to lift. If you suspect that the problem is caused by a broken spring, you must refrain from attempting to open the door further. This situation can lead to additional damage and potential injuries.

Instead, call a professional garage door repair service to replace the broken spring safely.

Step 4: Seek Professional Assistance

Always prioritize your safety. Do not proceed further, especially if you are unsure and the door remains stuck or broken despite your efforts. It’s best to seek help from a qualified garage door technician.

Professional technicians have the expertise and tools to diagnose and resolve complex garage door issues, ensuring your door is opened safely and effectively.

3 Enhancing Garage Door Security Tips


It may sound scary as it seems, but did you know that a burglar can break into your garage door

 in 6 seconds?

Here are some preventive measures to keep your garage door safe:

  1. Install a security keypad for keyless entry, avoiding the risk of losing keys. You can have something similar to Liftmaster garage door intelligent solutions.
  2. To prevent code grabbing, consider upgrading to a more secure electronic garage door opener with rolling code technology.
  3. Regularly inspect and maintain the garage door mechanism to avoid unexpected malfunctions.


Being locked out of a garage can be stressful, but as you have read, there are multiple ways to regain access from the outside. Seek the help of professionals if the process is way beyond your skills.

Nevertheless, we hope that this cheat sheet has given you ideas on how to open a locked garage door from the outside. Remember to always prioritize safety and legality when attempting DIY solutions.

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