lock garage door manually

How to Lock Garage Door Manually (Quick Fix)

Need a quick-fix to lock garage door manually? In this how-to guide we explain temporary and long-term fixes to manually lock a garage door that has a missing, stuck or broken lock.

Securing your garage with a lock prevents intruders from breaking in or forcing their way inside. But there are times that the in-built garage door lock will break when we are about to leave our home.

If your garage door lock is broken or stuck, then it’s critical to understand the proper techniques for manually locking a garage door. If you don’t know how to do it properly, the chance of getting robbed is much higher.

In this guide, we explain a few different methods for manually locking your garage door from the inside and outside. We cover temporary quick fixes you can use right now to lock garage door manually, as well as longer term measures you can rely on while you wait to get a new garage lock professionally installed.

lock garage door manually

Introduction to Manual Garage Door Locks

It’s a standard nowadays for homes and businesses to install automatic garage doors, but many of us still want to have a manual garage door lock because it’s much easier to fix when it gets broken and in some cases more secure. There are also times that the automatic opener will break and you need a garage door manual lock as a back-up security meaure.

The most common types of garage doors are sectional, roll-up and up-and-over styles, and throughout this guide we are going to assume that you have one of these styles. If you need help identifying what style of garage door you have, this article by Puls explains the difference between different types of garage doors very well.

Caution: In the article above, Puls also point out that garage doors feature heavy-duty tension springs and cables, and that trying to fix these parts without professional guidance can be very dangerous. This article covers easy fixes without touching these parts; for more serious garage door fixes we recommend engaging a professional to avoid any risk of personal injury or property damage.

How to Lock Garage Door Manually

Method 1: Install a garage door deadlock

This is the most common method for fixing a garage door lock manually, and it won’t cost you too much money. It is also easy to install. This is the most secure way to manually lock the garage door from the inside, with products specifically designed for this purpose.

Time required: 20 minutes

Required materials:

  • Garage door inside deadlock (aka garage door side lock; slide lock/latch)
  • Screwdriver, screws, impact drill, hole punch suitable for metal

Steps:

  1. Start by locating a small knockout template on the vertical tracks of the garage door, around the second section from the bottom of the garage door.
  2. Remove the template with a hole punch to allow the latch to slide.
  3. Align the lock and latch against the wall, ensuring that they are perfectly aligned with the hole.
  4. Once aligned, guided by the lock’s holes, begin pre-drilling screw holes (pilot holes) into the wall.
  5. Lastly, drive two screws into the pilot holes, one to the top and one to the bottom. Finish screwing any other screws as required for the deadlock you bought.

Popular products:

PRIME-LINE Heavy-Duty Deadlock for Garage Doors  


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NATIONAL HARDWARE Garage Door Side Lock


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NIDAYE Heavy-Duty Inside Deadlock for Garage


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Method 2: Install an external padlock and padbolt

Using an external heavy-duty padlock and padbolt bypasses the need to use the original garage door lock at all, allowing another method you can use to lock your garage door manually. While the garage door deadlock is our preferred method, this is the next best solution if you can’t find a garage door deadlock at short notice, or don’t have tools to punch a hole into the vertical tracks.

This is a very easy and quick fix, commonly used on sheds and gates. It will work on almost all styles of garage door, and the parts are easily found in any hardware store.

Time required: 10 minutes

Required materials:

  • Padlock
  • Padbolt (or heavy-duty hasp).

Steps:

  1. Check around your garage door and ground (or wall) for a suitable place to install the padbolt, near the bottom of the door. Make sure the padbolt piece installed on the door will not block movement of the garage door when it is rolled up.
  2. Anchor the base plate of the padbolt to the ground (or wall), and mount the other part to the garage door.
  3. Put the padlock on, and that will secure your garage door.

Tip: Installing the padlock and padbolt on the outside of the garage door will reveal to would-be burglars where exactly the lock is, and they could then cut it. To avoid this, install the padlock and padbolt on the inside, as this will make the lock unreachable to intruders and not reveal the locking mechanism to them. Of course, this would mean you could only open the garage door lock manually from the inside, which may be undesirable depending on your situation.

Method 3: Lock the garage door release lever with a zip tie

Depending on your situation and garage door style, this is a handy trick for providing extra security if your existing garage door manual lock is out of action. A manual garage door lock is usually connected to a release lever, and the lever is used to open and close the door from the inside when it encounters a mechanical problem.

Unfortunately, on many doors this lever is also accessible to burglars when they want to open the garage door. They may do this by inserting a clothes hanger into a top opening, and once they reach the lever, the garage door will open. A simple counterattack to that move is to use a zip tie on the release lever.

Time required: 10 minutes

Required materials:

  • Padlock
  • Zip ties

Steps:

  1. Inspect the inside of your garage door to see if it has a release lever.
  2. Disconnect the garage opener and then look for the release lever cord.
  3. Locate a hole at the bottom of the trolley.
  4. Insert the zip tie into the hole, tightly lock its grip, and cut the excess tie. The zip tie will now prevent the lever from being released.

Method 4: Use a padlock or C-clamp to lock the garage door tracks

Quick Fix: Use C-clamps on the inside to secure your garage door temporarily

While our recommended method to lock garage door manually is using a garage door deadlock, if you need a super quick ‘right now’ solution, then utilizing a C-clamp or a key padlock as a short-term alternative to lock vertical tracks from the inside will also work. Simply look for a spot to drill a couple of holes to place the padlock, if there aren’t any suitable holes already.

If using a C-clamp, you don’t need to drill holes at all, just attach the clamp to a suitable spot on the inside of the garage door, and screw it on tight. Using a C-clamp to manually lock your garage door is a very temporary solution, but it will do the job if you’re just about to walk out the door and need a quick fix.

Method 5: Hide the view into your garage

In addition to the methods mentioned above, another way to secure your garage if it has windows, is to simply install blinds, curtains or adhesive window tinting to prevent would-be burglars from seeing what stuff you have in your garage. We wouldn’t recommend using this method alone, but is worth considering in conjunction with another garage door locking method above.

Method 6: Install motion sensor lights around your garage

Installing motion sensor lights around your garage door exterior will help you to be aware if somebody is trying to access your garage door locks. During the night, the motion sensor light will startle the thief and that should in many cases discourage them from proceeding. Again, you wouldn’t want to rely on this method alone, but paired with a garage door manual lock it is worth considering.

Method 7: Install a heavy-duty trailer/cargo lock

This is a more serious investment with a higher price tag than the other options here, but is worth considering if you want to add some extra security to your garage as a back-up to your existing garage locking mechanism. This is not a quick fix, but rather an added level of security if you are really looking to protect your gear. For more information, check out our article and reviews on the best trailer locks over here. Just make sure the lock you choose will fit your style of garage door before settling on a product, since many of them are made for swing-style doors (not roll up).

Tips to Manually Lock Garage Door that’s Jammed or Stuck

One of the most frustrating things to happen especially when you are in a hurry is when the garage door suddenly gets stuck. Sometimes, a garage door will stick halfway due to some unpredictable obstacles. Don’t stress – here are some tips for what to do if your garage door gets stuck.

  • Make sure that all your garage door locks and latches are unlocked, so the garage door will be able to open manually. Unlock, then lock them again. Sometimes the lock itself will encounter unpredictable problems, and simply unlocking and relocking things will fix it.
  • Check around the garage door and make sure there is nothing blocking it, such as your garage contents leaning against it or something else that has accidentally fallen against it like a piece of timber or a stray screwdriver.
  • Check the alignment of the garage door. If it the garage door is misaligned, it will struggle to open or close. You could reach out for professional help regarding the misalignment, but most of the time you can just manually fix it by jiggling it around a bit.
  • One reason for jammed garage doors is due to a fault in the wheels that move the door. The wheels may be going off track, making it hard to open or close. Unfortunately, this is a more difficult fix that will require replacing the wheels. Locate the jammed wheel, remove it, and change it to new and high-quality garage wheels.
  • A broken spring will cause the garage door to get jammed and unfortunately most of the time it is the first thing to break. If this is the issue, then installing a new torsion spring for your garage door will fix it. Avoid forcefully opening the garage door if you found out that the problem is the torsion spring. This is not something you should try to fix yourself (see note of caution earlier); contact a skilled professional to help you deal with it instead.
  • If none of the above solutions work, you can use the garage door opener’s emergency disconnect. Usually, this is a red cord that is attached to the lever. Get a ladder and climb up to reach it, pull the cord, and lift the door using both of your hands.

Final thoughts

Well, that covers pretty much everything you need to know about how to lock garage door manually. Aside from using your garage for cars or other vehicles, it’s also a storage place where you can keep important and valuable things, such as power tools, appliances and sports gear. A well-secured and properly locked garage door will also ensure the safety and protection of you and your family while at home. Keeping your garage secure starts with learning how to lock the garage door manually.

Although automatic garage door locks have become the norm and it is easy to rely on them, often the automatic openers fail unexpectedly, leaving your garage vulnerable. Therefore, it is worth installing a manual garage door lock either as a primary locking method, or as a backup in case the automatic opener fails. We hope this article has given you what you need to make an informed decision on methods to manually lock a garage door, to keep you, your valuables and your family safe.

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