Videos at YouTube show how it is done.
- Straighten a coat hanger, but leave a curved hook on one end.
- Push the hooked end of the wire through the weather seal between the frame of the house and the top of the garage door in the area shown by the red arrow. (It is possible to push some garage doors inward at the top to create a gap large enough to insert one's own hand into the garage.)
- Catch the emergency release lever (yellow arrow) and gently pull until the lever releases.
- If necessary, hook the red cord and pull it to release it or pull it toward the door where it can be grasped by the hand and pulled.
Step 1: Two Solutions
That may work on many garage door openers, but this one is a Genie screw drive opener, and it has no hole in the traveler. I could drill a hole through the body of the traveler, but I would want to know more about the internal structure of the traveler so I do not weaken it or damage something inside.
My plan is to add a shield around the release lever. That process begins with making a cardboard pattern. Notice that I have trimmed one corner of a piece of cardboard so the edge is now parallel to the opener's track. The gap indicated by the orange arrow is smaller than it appears. A spring clamp temporarily holds the cardboard in place. See the yellow arrow. (The release lever is in the released position in the photo.)
- Cardboard for a pattern
- 3/4 inch pine
- 2 bolts 1/4 x 3 inch with washers and self-locking nuts
- 3/8 x 5 inch bolt and nut
- Marking pen
Step 2: The Pattern
Step 3: Make the Shield Covers and Spacers
Step 4: Shields in Place
The second photo shows that the shields are not in the way of anything when the garage door opener operates.
Step 5: Rope Protection
After thinking back on decades of garage door opener use, I can remember times I needed to release the garage door from its opener track so I could troubleshoot a problem. Never have I needed to pull the emergency rope as if seconds count and doing so would prevent some catastrophic event. In this case, "emergency" is a relative term. I can easily get a step stool from another corner of the garage and remove the bolt.
To place the bolt, I viewed the end of the release lever and placed the drill bit so it appeared to be just under the bottom of the release lever. After drilling the first hole, I let the top of the bit rest on the bottom of the release lever and pushed the second hole through the other Masonite shield.
I considered some kind of pin I could remove by pulling a cord, but it would either fit loosely enough that the bad guys might be able make the lever release, or they could hook and remove it to gain entry, after all.
My solution to the problem of the six second garage door break-in is not perfect. It is secure, but it requires getting and using a step stool when I would need to release the traveler from the door arm.