When it comes to home security, we are mostly concerned with our doors leading in and out—entryways are lockable and secure; perhaps equipped with cameras, etc. And while there are pros and cons to video doorbells and other tech-focused security measures, it’s all done to satisfy our duty as a homeowner and family protector…to keep the bad out, and the good that’s on the inside safe and without worry.
But oddly enough, many fail to think about the biggest door of all…the garage door.
Maybe it’s the automation behind most, or the fact that people think doors are “heavy” and thus a nuisance for anyone trying to get in. Sadly, the reality is, garage doors aren’t structurally-sound, and criminals aren’t easily deterred, leaving one that’s “unlocked” a target for an easy score.
Think about it this way—few of us would leave the house or go to bed with the front door unlocked, so why would you take the chance with the garage door?
It could just be a matter of not knowing your options.
But, when it comes to garage door locks, there is more to consider than what meets the eye.
How Does a Garage Door Lock Work?
A garage door lock works by blocking the door track with a bolt, most commonly through a sliding lock, or a t-handle lock and release system. There are a variety of different garage door locks, some affixed from the inside and/or outside, and each serving specific purposes based on the type of garage door you wish to lock.
Briefly, a few common types of garage door locks include:
Slide Garage Door Locks
A slide door lock is installed on the inside of the garage door, and functions just as it sounds, with the lock installed in alignment with a hole in the track for a bolt to pass through.
T-Handle Garage Door Locks
A t-handle lock, named for its shape, functions more like that of a traditional door lock you’d find in your home, requiring a key to be inserted to unlock the handle that needs to be turned to open the door. This handle is installed to the outside of the door, and the key used is usually an atypical cylinder shape.
Keyless Coded Locks
There are also those who prefer keyless locks, and would rather use a personalized code to lock and unlock their garage doors. These keypads offer flexibility, and in the event a code is compromised, can easily be setup with a new code (as opposed to having to rekey or replace a lock if a physical key is misplaced). A lock without a keyhole also can’t be picked.
Disadvantages of Traditional Garage Door Locks
While the above options are all sufficient when it comes to garage door theft prevention, they may not be the most efficient depending on your situation.
For instance, these are all manual locks that require you to lock and unlock by hand whenever you need to open the garage door. For those of you who park in the garage or use the main garage door as an access point into the home, you’ll be constantly unlocking and locking your door each time you pull out the car or need to go in and out.
Thus, unless you’re planning on going out of town, or won’t need access to the garage from the outside (or need to leave from the inside), a manual lock is reliable and will provide peace of mind.
Alternatives to Traditional Garage Door Locks
But, if you need a more “everyday” lock, what do you do?
Let’s get back to basics.
The point of any lock is to prevent something from opening when you don’t want it to—that’s the bare minimum. Beyond that, though, the lock should be convenient, and not some cumbersome activity if it doesn’t have to be.
Take the lock on your car as an example. A large percentage of you reading this right now have a key fob to allow you to lock and unlock your car. Some of you probably don’t even have to click a button…you just walk right up, the car recognizes your key is nearby, and voila.
Now, say when you’re renting a car—have you ever had to go back to the “old school” system of sticking your key in the door? Not fun, right? In and out, unlock and lock, every, single, time.
That’s kind of what it’s like with a manual garage door lock. You have an automatic door. You have an opener that allows you to open that door with a click of a button. But now you also have a lock to physically unlatch before you can get going.
There has to be a better way, right?
(Hint: there is!)
But first, think about how criminals break in through a garage door. With a common automatic roll-up door that many homes have, thieves target the safety release mechanism, and gain access to your garage by simply sticking a coat hanger through the door, reaching up to the emergency release, and disabling it with a small tug. (Yes, that’s it!)
Now, when you think about the manual lock examples above, they mostly function by preventing the garage door to run up its track, and thus, locking it in its current position.
So, then, the only other way to “lock” your door from being opened when you don’t want it open is to protect that cord from being accessed.
Zip Ties (Hint: Not a Viable Alternative)
Given the simplicity of the solution, it’s often recommended to zip tie the garage door release to prevent the release lever from being pulled down.
Regardless of whether or not such an action is in violation of federal regulations (UL 325), the whole idea of “locking” your garage door is done in the name of security. Thus, manipulating a piece of equipment that was put in place as a safety measure seems much like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
So, while the zip tie is propagated as a viable solution (as is removing the cord altogether) we certainly do not recommend it.
The Garage Shield
With everything said above, we are looking for a locking solution that doesn’t require manual work every time you’d like to leave and return home, while also not compromising your overall security as just mentioned, right?
The Garage Shield acts as just that—a shield that blocks a coat hanger or hook from ever reaching the emergency cord. It’s an easy install within minutes, allows for normal use of the emergency cord, and allows you to use your garage door as intended—without the need to manually lock and unlock upon each use. It’s a garage door anti theft device that also allows you to efficiently go about your day.
In the end, when it comes to locking your garage door, you have options. With each, do due diligence when assessing your situation and needs—from convenience to safety, the overall safeguarding of your garage and the points to which your garage grants access, and of course, the protection of your valuable belongings and loved ones on the inside.