9 Effective Ways to Secure a Garage Door from Break-Ins
Securing your exterior doors will do little to stop burglars, unless you also secure your garage door. This large door can be a huge liability due to it’s overall proportions and different opening/closing mechanism. Breaking in through the garage door can also allow a burglar to park their vehicle inside your home while you’re away, and load it up with your stuff without being noticed by anyone.
So how can you prevent a garage break-in?
First of all you should make sure that the door is closed properly, especially when you’re away from home and at night. There are many garage door security devices that you can install which will add further protection. Such as a surveillance system, motion detector, advanced lock or opener, alarms and more.
In this article you’ll find the 10 best methods for making your garage door impenetrable.
1. Prevent “door fishing”
Your garage door opener almost definitely has an emergency release. It’s purpose is to disconnect the door from the opener if the opener is malfunctioning. However, it’s a security risk because it can be used to “fish” a garage door by using a wire hook.
Fishing however is not possible with all openers, because they sometimes have a release mechanism that must be pulled straight down. In other words, it won’t release if the cord is tugged at an angle toward the door which is what fishing is all about. So it really depends on what type of an opener you have, but chances are that you have the standard one that can be “fished”.
How fishing is done:
- First a burglar will push the door inward to create a gap at the top.
- Then they will insert a wire hook and fish for the release. In some cases they will use a wedge to hold the gap open
- Once the cord gets hooked, it takes only a few push-pull movements to disconnect the door from the opener. In some cases hooking the release lever works equally well.
Easy DIY locks for fishing:
- GARAGE DOOR LOCK SHIELD – To prevent fishing, you can make a garage door lock shield. It’s basically a wood cleat and a scrap of plywood. You screw it to the opener’s arm so that it can’t be fished with a wire hook. The plywood should be fastened to the cleat with two brad nails so that it can break away in case it runs into something while the door is moving.
- PLASTIC ZIP TIE LOCK – In case your trolley has a pair of holes, it’s really easy to make a garage door lock on the emergency release with a small plastic zip tie (link to Amazon). This will work because it can resist the tug of a fishing wire. It’s best to use a small plastic tie to make this lock. This is a very easy and affordable solution. Here is a full tutorial on how to make one:
2. Use a garage door monitor
Believe it or not, most break ins happen because the door is not closed properly. It can either be because of a malfunction or simply because someone forgets to do it.
Using a garage door monitor makes this problem go away. It’s a small device that is easy to use. Simply stick the sensor to the door and place a monitor somewhere where you’ll see it when going to bed. A nightstand is typically the best place because you’ll definitely see it there. The good thing about monitors is that most of them will work regardless of the opener you have.
A very popular monitor is the Skylink long-range model. On top of showing you if the door is closed or opened, it also has a loud beeping alarm that will alert you of any break in attempt. It’s a really affordable monitor. I prefer it over others because it doesn’t rely on Internet connection, Bluetooth and similar connectivity approaches which can sometimes be unavailable or pose an additional security risk.
3. Install an automatic garage door closer
Having an automatic closer is the best way to ensure that your garage door is closed whether you’re at home or not. Installing one of these requires some simple low-voltage wiring and typically takes around 30-45 minutes.
The Nex Garage Opener from Amazon is my top recommendation, because it has great features and is pretty affordable. Here are the main reasons why I like it:
- You can easily open and close the door remotely, you only need a WiFi connection.
- To activate the opener, simply tapp on the Nexx mobile app or give a voice command to Alexa or Google Assistant devices. If this isn’t your thing, you can simply drive near the garage door.
- You can authorize multiple people to have access to the garage.
- It sends notifications if you forget to close the door, which makes it also a garage door monitor.
- It has security encryption and real-time activity log so you can always be aware if the door is being open and closed by someone even when you’re away from home.
Here’s a full video review of this Nexx opener and how to install it:
In my opinion, as far as security and convenience goes it’s the number one option.
4. Install a security lock
Equipping your door with a heavy duty lock will make it more resistant to forceful break ins and clever manipulations.
My recommendation is to use a heavy deadlock such as this security lock made from galvanized steel, which can only be accessed from the inside.
This lock is under $10 and you only need 4 sheet metal screws (dimensions: 14×3/4) to install it. You can get these screws for about $1 in a regular hardware store. This lock will fit on virtually any garage door.
5. Cover the windows
Does your garage or garage door have windows? It’s highly advised to cover them with curtains or window film so that no one can peak inside and see all the cool stuff you have inside.
Windows on garage doors can also make it easier to “fish” the door with a wire hook, so definitely cover them in some way.
Privacy window film is a good option because it allows light to pass through the window. Alternatively, you can use curtains or blinds.
6. Floodlight motion sensors
Keeping the area in front of your garage door well lit is a proven way to deter intruders. However, instead of keeping bright lights on throughout the night, using floodlights with motion sensors is a much cheaper way to scare off the bad guys. They’re also convenient when coming home at night so that you don’t accidentally bump into stuff.
While there are many floodlights available, the most commonly used for house security are the Solar LED Outdoor Security Lights. They have motion sensors, 3 adjustable heads and are designed for entryways, garages and yards. When buying floodlights for outdoor use, always make sure that they’re waterproof. The same goes for security cameras as well. Which brings us to the last product recommendation.
8. Home security camera
Home security cameras are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. It’s no wonder, when you consider that you can get a great security camera for less than $100. A camera that has WiFi connectivity, live stream access and can send you alerts if it notices any suspicious activity. A great outdoor camera that has all of these features as well as night-vision is the Zmodo wireless security camera. This cam can be used for monitoring any part of your home. It also offers HD video quality and is weatherproof.
Having a camera is great because it can capture suspicious activity and alert you of it before the break happens so that you have enough time to call the police and ensure your safety. But more importantly, it serves as a great deterrent. Just imagine if you were a thief for a second. Would you try to break into a home that has a fricking security camera or the neighbors home that isn’t protected at all. I certainly wouldn’t want to get captured on camera trying to break into a garage even I wore a mask. It’s way too risky. So it’s easy to see why cameras are so widely used for security purposes.
Installing a security camera involves pulling the cable through the wall/surface to plug it into the power outlet. Positioning it properly and plugging it in is all that is required. If you have any experience using a drill, you won’t have any problems doing this. As far as positioning the camera, it’s best to place it above the garage door or somewhere high enough where the potential intruder can’t reach it and cover it or even attempt to destroy it.
If you don’t want to install a camera, you can use a dummy camera instead. It’s a model of a camera that doesn’t have any surveillance technology, but you can stick unto any surface as a deterrent. Dummy cameras are really cheap. You can get 4 of these for less than $30, so you can spread them around your home or even place one or two indoors.
Alternatively, you can use both a real and a dummy camera. Place a dummy camera on a visible spot and hide the real camera, or place both of them on a visible spot as a double deterrent.
9. Use a simple door alarm
A door/window alarm is not necessary if you have an alert-sending camera or monitor, as the ones mentioned above. If not, it’s the most popular way to get alerted about an attempted break in. And not only you, but your surrounding neighbors will also definitely hear it if the decibel level is 90 dB or more.
The easiest security measure is to stick a basic alarm on the door. When the door (or window) opens, it will emit 120 dB of pure annoying sound that will make everyone jump out from their bed.
Since you can get 2 of these alarms for less than $10, I suggest placing them on other ground-floor doors and windows as well. They have completely adjustable timers and other options so you can set them up for night time or any other time when you’re not at home or sleeping.
About garage door security
Securing your garage door can be done with different devices and approaches. Cameras and floodlights are great deterrents, whereas additional locks and a better automatic opener/closer will actually buff up the door and make it harder to come inside. So I hope you find some of these methods for optimally securing your home.