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Lock Blog

A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals

7 Effective Ways To Improve Garage Door Security

by Ralph November 8, 2021

Improving your overall garage security can be done in several simple steps and does not need to cost a fortune. There are countless ways to attain better garage door security, but for the sake of time, we will stick to the most important and effective methods of protection.

The top ways to increase your garage door security include:

  1. Exposure
  2. Overrides
  3. Doors
  4. Locks
  5. Storage
  6. Visibility
  7. Surveillance


Why do criminals target garages?

Thieves associate garages with tools and large item storage. These are often high-value items that resell easily. For criminals trying to access a home, an attached garage is often an easy target as it may lead to an unlocked interior door or provide cover to open a locked interior door.

How do I make my garage more secure?

Garage security begins with garage door security. Start by making sure you are using the right lock for your doors and check that motorized garage doors have their emergency release cord secured. All side doors to the garage should be sturdily constructed with quality deadbolts.

What kind of lock is on my garage door?

Common garage door security locks include the T-handle design, rim locks, and a padlock secured to a hasp. T-handle locks are the most unique to garage doors in terms of their physical appearance and bolt assembly. Any keyed handle at the center of a garage door is likely mechanically similar even if the handle is not “T” shaped.

Can you kick down a garage door?

Some sectional doors can easily be kicked in. For stronger garage door security, use canopy doors where a successful battering attack would require enough force to break the door itself. Creating such force is not viable, short of driving a car through the garage door. 

What can I do to secure my garage door from the inside?

Securing a garage door from the inside consists of closing/blocking gaps between the door and frame or locking up valuables within the garage. If you are adding garage security measures to lock the garage from inside, there is a risk of damaging the door, motor, or tracks, if the lock is not used properly.

Is it possible to install a lock on a garage door?

If you are looking to add to your garage door security with an additional lock, be extremely careful during the lock installation process or use a professional locksmith. Without predrilled holes, it can be difficult to center T-handles. Any mistake can compromise the integrity of the lock and your garage security.

1. Exposure

It is common for garage doors to be left open during projects or when cleaning the space. During these unavoidable instances, you are exposing the contents of your garage to the world. If anything of value is easily visible, the garage may be targeted by a burglar.

When it comes to garage security, one of the best crime prevention strategies is to obscure items such as power tools, safes, electrical equipment, etc. If it is out of sight, you have peace of mind knowing your exposure to nosey criminals is nullified.

With the open floor plan of most garages, it may be difficult to find places to hide a safe, and some tools may be on display for the sake of convenient access. Just be cautious. Cover what you can with tarps, and never interact with your safe while the garage door is open.

Key Takeaways:

  • Do not leave your garage door opened and unattended.
  • Keep high-value items out of sight when the garage door is open.
  • Use tarps or put items behind stacks of boxes if they cannot be moved.

2. Overrides

Among the tricks burglars use to undermine your garage door security, none is simpler or quicker than pulling the emergency release on your motorized garage door. Though this cord is inside the garage, it can be accessed from outside with a little effort and a long-reach tool.

This override is designed as a power outage safety feature to allow the garage door to open manually. Best practices to preserve this safety feature, and improve garage door security, are to install barricades to deflect tools or zip tie the release latch.

The internal barriers should be installed inside the garage at the top of the door. If you zip tie the latch, you will need to pull hard and directly down on the chord with enough force to break the zip tie. With your new garage door security installed, test it as if you were locked out of your garage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Burglars can pull the manual release latch on electric garage doors from outside.
  • Protect this cord from outside manipulation and maintain its functionality.
  • Install barriers at the top inside of the garage door or zip tie the release latch.

3. Doors

Your actual garage door security, in terms of door strength, matters a lot. You can find videos of flimsy sectional garage doors being entirely knocked down with a few kicks and body slams. Even if the material for the garage door is hardy, it has to be secured properly.

It is much easier to improve your front door security than it is to improve your garage door security. The security of your garage door comes down to the door you purchased and how it is installed. As we discussed in the overrides section, any gap between the door and frame is a vulnerability.

Gaps are not always apparent, and you may need to push on the door to see how the give creates these openings. For garage doors with windows, window security is only a concern if the garage can be unlocked from inside or the glass is large enough for someone to fit through.

And whether we are talking about attached garages with doors leading into the property or detached garage security with a side door entrance, these other garage doors need to be strong. You will want to use solid core doors, not hollow core doors, installed with 3-inch screws.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sectional or multi-panel garage doors can be kicked in.
  • Canopy garage doors made of metal or wood are the sturdiest.
  • Block any gaps between the good and the garage walls.
  • Any side doors and doors that lead into the house should have solid cores.

4. Locks

Your garage door security is nothing without a lock that only opens to the right key. If your locks are not working reliably, then you need garage door lock replacement. All faulty locks present the risk of not locking properly, which means you will have no real garage door security.

Even if there is nothing wrong with your current locks, they may not be providing enough security. In many cases, you can use door lock cylinder replacement to upgrade the locks without changing the full garage door lock assembly.

And if you want to add locks to increase your garage door security, padlocks and hasps are easy to install. Just make sure you are using the best padlocks for your needs. Padlocks should not dangle loose enough to where they can be moved around and should have shackle protection that covers the hasp.

Key Takeaways:

  • Replace all malfunctioning locks on your garage door.
  • To improve an existing lock without replacing it, change the cylinder.
  • You can add padlocks to the inside or outside of the garage door.

5. Storage

What you are storing and how you are storing it affects your overall garage security beyond what was covered in the section on exposure. You can take steps to secure the valuables in your garage, so a failure in your garage door security still does not result in successful theft.

Tools can be kept in a locked toolbox, and even that lockbox can be secured. Taking a page out of the motorcycle security playbook, you can use anchor points and chains to keep anything portable from being grabbed or rolled away.

If you are storing classic cars or other large high-value items, it is a good idea to lock the garage door from both sides. In this case, your increased garage door security secures the largest opening and prevents the removal of these larger valuables.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tools and small valuables should be stored in lockable containers.
  • Anything that can be rolled or carried, can be secured to the ground.
  • Lock the inside of your garage door to keep large items from being removed.

6. Visibility 

Garage door security should rely mainly on physical security such as locks and other fortifying measures, but this can be assisted by increased visibility. A better line of sight to a garage allows for property owners, neighbors, and passersby to notice any suspicious activity.

If your perimeter security does not involve a wall or gate that entirely blocks a street view of the garage, you can make use of visibility tactics. You can start with basic landscaping, and limit the plants and debris around the structure, so it is harder to hide illegal activity.

Shadows act as effective hiding spots, so you should also be using lights for better visibility. Many people employ motion sensor lights for their garage door security. The turning on and off of these lights can draw attention, but if they are triggered often without incident, most people begin to ignore them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Better visibility increases the chance that someone will see and respond to crime.
  • Clear away any overgrowth or debris that criminals could hide behind.
  • Use lights to increase visibility and limit shadows. 
  • Motion sensor lights should only turn on when someone is too close to the garage.

7. Surveillance

You can strengthen your garage door security by properly placing security cameras around the structure. These cameras should be used for real-time response, crime documentation, and data gathering for future garage security efforts.

It is always a good idea to blend passive and active security so someone can be alerted when a crime is taking place. No garage door security is strong enough to withstand a meaningful and sustained burglary attempt. If a criminal wants it badly enough, they will take the time.

Without a response, you may still deter some criminals from approaching the garage as long as you have prominently displayed outdoor security cameras. However, when you are displaying your garage security, some thieves see this as proof there is something worth stealing.

The main problem with surveillance cameras is if you are not responding to an incident in real-time, a criminal can figure that out. And with the popularity of home security cameras, many criminals now assume there will be no response.

Key Takeaways:

  • With monitored surveillance, you can have someone respond to a crime as it happens.
  • Do not rely on the existence of a camera to ward off criminals.
  • Use documentation of attempted crimes to inform further garage door security efforts.

Final Considerations 

Without spending any money, you can increase your garage security with how you place valuables within a garage. If you have a motorized garage door, be sure that the manual release override cord is protected. And do what you can to use strong doors and high-quality locks.

Beyond using locks for your garage door security, you can also use them to secure items stored within the garage. Be sure no matter what type of physical garage door security you are using, there is also a balance with security intended to elicit a response to attempted crimes.

For help with garage door security or garage security, more generally, see if United Locksmith services your area. If you have any questions, insights, and concerns, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Category: Residential, Safety & Security

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