Introduction: Garage Door Security Hack

About: I'm a long-time DIYer and full time engineer with an interest in home security and home automation. Check out my web site for more articles that don't fit the Instructable format.

Would you be surprised if I told you most garage doors can be opened in under 10 seconds without any electronics?

I know I was.

And, I was motivated to find a solution!

So, here's my fix for a common vulnerability that burglars could exploit. You can get more details at .

CAUTION: The emergency release is there for a reason, safety! Make sure you don't compromise its operation trying to defend against an exploit.

Step 1: Consider Shortening the Pull Cord for the Release.

The length of the release cord is made to be long enough for every garage that the opener would be installed in.

That means:

It's probably not the right length for yours.

In my garage, that meant that with my door, the release was hanging down too far. For one, you run into it walking through or pulling into the garage. Two, that makes it easy for a burglar to hook the release and pull the cord.

So, I removed the large plastic cap on the end and shortened the string so that it was easy to reach for adults, but difficult to hook and pull from the door.

Step 2: Find a Sturdy Material to Block Access to the Emergency Release.

Take a look at the emergency release (the one with the string hanging down and determine what you could do to block access to it from the side with the door. For me, I used a paint stick, marked it, and trimmed it to length.

Note: Make sure the block extends well past the bottom of the release.

Step 3: Use High Strength Multi-surface Adhesive to Attach the Barriers to the Release and Clamp Until Dry

I used Gorilla Glue ($6 from Amazon, Just make sure it works on the surfaces you have (e.g. plastic, metal, wood) to attach the paint stirrers to either side of the emergency release and clamp them overnight.

Step 4: If You Have Windows in Your Garage Door, Consider an Additional Barrier in Front of the Release

Even with the blocks on either side of the release, it may still be possible to slide something in between them to hook the safety release if it's easy to see it from the window.

To prevent that, you can do a couple of things.

  1. attach another piece of wood or some strong tape to block access from the door side yet still allow the release to operate.
  2. Use a film over the window to block the view from outside. It's almost like the glass on your shower. It will obscure the view and still look OK from the street.

CAUTION: It's critical to test the operation of the release with everything in place to make sure you can open the door in an emergency.

Step 5: Rest Easy Knowing Your Home Is That Much Safer!

This is just one vulnerability. But, making a burglary that much harder is well worth 30 minutes of your time, don't you think?

If you like tips like this, be sure to check out my website linked from my profile!