Keep reading to learn how burglars break into garages and how to make a garage door more secure.
How to Make A Garage Door More Secure
Here’s how to make a garage door more secure:
1. Upgrade the Door
Most burglars target locks rather than trying to penetrate the garage door itself. However, if you live in a remote area or have particularly valuable items in your garage, the door might be the next best target.
Here are the best ways to make a garage door more secure:
- Install an automatic opener: Electric garages generally have better locking systems than manual doors. Unless hacked, they cannot be opened without a direct code or access to a unique remote.
- Replace the door: Steel, sectional, and roller garage doors are the most secure types. Replacing a door with a less penetrable material can decrease the likelihood of break-ins.
- Fit a new strike plate: The weakest part of a garage door is the strike plate, the metal plate where the main door bolt is extended into a hole. Replace weak plates with a thick, reinforced strike and use 3-6-inch screws to secure it.
2. Add Extra Locks
Most garages have basic locks that are easy to break into. High-quality doors tend to have better security features, but upgrading the door can set homeowners back between $700-$2,000, on average.
A simpler solution to make a garage door more secure is to install extra locks, which can cost as little as $50. The best garage door locks include:
- An anti-snap lock: Appears like regular locks with anti-snap lines on the cylinder locking system, which, when excessive force is applied, will snap at the line and not the cylinder, leaving the locking mechanism intact.
- A heavy-duty steel security bar: Installed externally across the width of the garage door, preventing it from being opened.
- A garage door defender system: A metal T-bar locked into place at the base of a garage door exterior that prevents opening without removal.
- A garage shield: A plate installed over a garage door’s emergency release cord, preventing burglars from overriding the emergency opening function and accessing the garage.
3. Install Flood Lights
4. Fit Security Cameras
5. Hide Valuables
Frequently opened garages attract attention, especially if valuables are on show. Keep high-value items hidden from view when the door is open. Safes should also be kept hidden from sight—never place them on the ground floor of the property.
Likewise, ensure windows are covered and blinds are closed to prevent intruders from peering in. If burglars can’t see anything worth breaking in for, the garage is less likely to be a target.
Can Burglars Open Garage Doors?
Here are the most common ways burglars can open garage doors:
- Using a coat hanger: Most burglars break into garage doors by forcing the top corner of the door open and accessing the interior release mechanism using a coat hanger. This method is quick, inconspicuous, and leaves little trace.
- Finding your remote: Remotes are unique, so burglars need to find the specific remote to open the garage door. They may break into your home to do this.
- Hacking your security system: Digital access codes can be hacked, especially if an electric garage doesn’t use a rolling code. Special software can guess combinations through multiple attempts or record codes when entered.
- Manually breaking in: Burglars will also attempt to break into a garage by manually picking the lock or damaging the door (like cutting out the lock).
Another way burglars break into a garage is by hiding in nearby shrubbery when the garage door is open and entering when no one is around. Once inside, they’ll hide until the garage is unoccupied and the door closed. They can easily open the garage door again using the interior release function.
Burglars mostly do this on impulse. This is known as an opportunist burglary.
Can Someone Open Your Garage Door Without a Remote?
Yes, a garage door can be opened without a remote. All electric garages have a manual override system that enables access in an emergency, like when a remote is lost or stolen.
To open an electric garage door without a remote, the automatic opener chain must be deactivated. This can usually be done with a small key supplied with the electric garage.
The manual release (where the key goes) will usually be in the corner of the garage door or next to the locking mechanism.
How Secure are Garage Doors?
Garage doors are only as secure as the material they are made of, and the locking mechanism protecting it. The most secure types are sectional or roller doors made from galvanized steel. Modern doors, including electric garages, are more secure than older, manual garages.
Aluminum door panels are also secure, especially if made from a thickness of 1 inch or more, but they aren’t as sturdy as steel. Vinyl is another durable material for garage doors and offers a more pleasant aesthetic, but it’s better for protection against the elements rather than brute force.
Entrances made from wood, fiberglass, or thin aluminum can be made more secure by adding extra locks, like defender systems or security bars, or by installing deterrents, like security cameras and motion-sensor lights.
How are Garage Doors Hacked?
Garage doors with access codes can be hacked if someone figures out the combination. Hackers will either try various combinations of codes to gain access to a garage or use software to the same effect.
More sophisticated hackers use a blocker that prevents the door from opening after the first attempt and records the code.
When the code is entered again, the door opens. If the garage door opens by itself, never assume it’s caused by a glitch. Change the code immediately.
The most secure garages have rolling access codes, which change every few weeks or are only accessible via a preset mobile app. Because these change frequently and/or are only accessible via a designated mobile device, the garage door is less likely to be hacked.
Electric garages also contain a manual override system, which can be hacked by disconnecting the opener chain. This can usually be done with a key, but the lock can also be picked. Installing a garage shield (a metal plate) over the emergency access can prevent intruders from accessing the override function.
Is It Possible for Someone Else’s Garage Door Opener to Open My Garage?
No, provided the garage in question is a modern electric one installed in the last 30 years (after 1991). The remote will be unique to the garage it is paired with. This means someone else’s garage door opener cannot be used to open your garage.
The only way someone can access another person’s garage is if they hack the access code, steal the remote, or break in manually by disabling the locking mechanism or damaging the door.
Impulse crimes happen when someone walks past an open garage, spots valuables, and takes the opportunity to steal items when they can.