How to Open a Locked Garage Door From the Outside

Sometimes, gaining access to your garage without using a remote or keypad may be necessary. For instance, if you have locked your keys inside the garage or lost them altogether, understanding how to open the door from outside can be very valuable.

How to Open a Locked Garage Door From the Outside

Additionally, if you do not have an alternative way of unlocking the door and need to get inside quickly, knowing how to open the door from the outside can save you time and energy. Furthermore, if your garage door is stuck or malfunctioning and preventing you from opening it remotely, learning how to open the door from the outside may provide a quick solution. In this blog post, You will learn in detail how to open a locked garage door from the outside.

Summary: When it comes to opening a locked garage door from the outside, there are a few different options available. The most secure and reliable method is to use a remote-controlled system that utilizes an electronic keypad or access card to open the door. Alternatively, some garage doors may also have an exterior manual lock which can be manipulated using a key.

Tools You Will Need

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Ladder
  • Crowbar
  • Drill with bits
  • Hacksaw
  • Socket wrench set
  • Lubricant or penetrating oil
  • Pry bar
  • Flashlight
  • File or metal scraper
  • Garage door opener (remote)
  • Extra garage door springs (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Open a Locked Garage Door From the Outside

Step 1: Inspect the Door

Before attempting to open the garage door from the outside, take a moment to inspect it for any visible signs of damage. Check that all the bolts and hinges are intact and secure.

If you still have a key to unlock your garage door on its lock, try using it first. Insert the key in the lock and turn it to see if it opens. If not, then proceed with the other steps.

Take a Moment 
to Inspect It

Step 2: Identify How Your Door Locks

Different garage doors have different types of locks that need to be opened from the outside. Take a look at your door and identify how its locks work.

Determine whether it has a manual lock or an automated one. If you are dealing with an automated garage door, then chances are there will be an emergency release handle located near the bottom of the door. It is usually red in color and can be pulled to disengage the motor from the opener.

Step 3: Disengage the Emergency Release Handle

Pull the emergency release handle towards you and hold it in this position for a few seconds until you hear a click. This will disengage the motor from the opener, allowing you to open your garage door manually. Depending on the type of lock used, locate the manual lock. It is usually a small metal lever near your door’s top or bottom.

Step 4: Unlock the Manual Lock

Insert a flat-head screwdriver into the slot for the manual lock and turn it until you hear a click. This will unlock the manual lock, allowing you to open the door. Once the manual lock is unlocked, grab the handle of your garage door and open it manually. Ensure you do not use too much force as it can damage the hinges or cause other damage.

Step 5: Re-engage the Motor

Once you are done opening the garage door, re-engage the motor by pushing down on the emergency release handle. You will hear a click when it is properly engaged. Push and hold the button inside your garage to close the door from the inside. Ensure it is properly aligned and securely closed before leaving the garage.

Re-Engage the Motor

Step 6: Lock the Door From Outside

If your door has a manual lock, you can use the same flat-head screwdriver to lock the door from the outside. Turn it clockwise until you hear a click, indicating that the door is locked. If your door has an automated lock, you can simply push the button manually from outside.

With these simple steps, you can easily open a locked garage door from the outside. Keep this information handy for the next time you find yourself in such a situation.

Precautions for How to Open a Locked Garage Door From the Outside

  1. Make sure you are familiar with the available emergency release mechanisms, if any, and have practiced using them in an emergency.
  2. Check for a manual garage door release system that may be accessible from outside the door before attempting to open the door from outside manually. This will help reduce further damage to the door or lock.
  3. Wear eye protection for added safety when attempting to open the door from outside.
  4. Ensure that all tools and equipment used are in proper working order and of the appropriate size and strength to manipulate the lock or garage door with minimal damage.
  5. Use a professional locksmith service if you don’t feel comfortable attempting to open the door from outside.
  6. Consider whether or not the lock may be tampered with or picked if you are trying to gain access from outside the door.
  7. Avoid using a screwdriver, pliers, crowbar, hammer, or any other tool on the lock, as it could damage the lock beyond repair.
  8. Finally, always keep spare keys in a safe place to ensure that you can gain access to your garage at all times.
Avoid Using a Screwdriver

By following these precautions, you can safely open a locked garage door from the outside without causing any damage or harm.

How Can You Determine if It is Better to Call a Professional Service for Assistance With This Task? 

If it is impossible to identify the lock type easily, or if you cannot pick the lock yourself, it may be best to call a professional service for help. Professional locksmiths and garage door companies can provide assistance in unlocking your garage door from the outside.

They will also be able to determine what type of lock your garage door has and what tools are necessary to access it. Professional services also advise the best way to secure your garage door in the future, so you can be sure that it is safe from potential break-ins. Finally, they can also estimate the cost of unlocking your garage door from the outside.

It is important to note that attempting to unlock a garage door from the outside without the proper skills, tools, and experience can cause serious damage. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you contact a professional service to have your garage door unlocked safely and correctly.

How Can You Prevent Future Issues With the Garage Door Lock System? 

Once you’ve opened a locked garage door from the outside, it’s important to take preventative measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future. One of the most effective steps is installing an electronic lock system that requires a code or access card to open the door. This will make it much more difficult for intruders to access your garage.

You should also check the door’s alignment regularly. Incorrectly aligned doors can cause them to stick, making it difficult for your opener to work properly. You can use a level and tape measure to ensure that the door is perfectly centered between the tracks and that there are no obstructions blocking its path.

Finally, make sure to use a quality lock designed for garage doors and tested for strength and durability. This will help you ensure that the door remains secure when it is locked. If possible, have a locksmith assess your current system and provide the best recommendations on how to protect your property in the future.

How Can You Store Any Tools or Equipment Used to Open Your Garage Door From Outside Safely and Securely? 

If you open your garage door from the outside, storing any tools or equipment used safely and securely is important. It is a good idea to ensure that any lock-picking tools are kept in a secure spot, such as a locked box or cabinet, away from prying eyes.

Additionally, if you are using an automated system such as a keypad or key card to open your garage door, you should make sure that the access codes are not easily guessed or shared with anyone who may have malicious intent.

Using an Automated 
System Such as a Keypad

Finally, any external remote control systems for automatic garage doors should be kept indoors in a secure location and never left in an unlocked vehicle. This will help ensure that your tools and equipment remain safe and secure and can be used only by authorized personnel.


In conclusion, opening a locked garage door from the outside can be done in several ways. If you have access to the garage door opener, use it! You can also try jiggling the handle or using a slim jim, as long as you know what you’re doing and take the necessary precautions. Remember that if your door is heavily damaged, it’s always best to call a professional locksmith. With the right tools and knowledge, you can easily open your garage door from the outside.

Remember that safety is paramount when attempting to open a locked garage door from the outside. Be sure to take all necessary precautions. Otherwise, you may end up damaging or compromising your security system. If you’re ever in doubt about how to open your garage door from the outside, call a professional locksmith.

They can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently. I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to open a locked garage door from the outside. Make Sure the precautionary measures are followed chronologically.

Photo of author

Rick Kelly

I am Rick. I grew up helping my dad with his handyman service. I learned a lot from him about how to fix things, and also about how to work hard and take care of business. These days, I'm still into fixing things- only now, I'm doing it for a living. I'm always looking for new ways to help people grow and develop. That's why I have created this blog to share all my experience and knowledge so that I can help people who are interested in DIY repair.

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