How to Open a Locked Garage Door from the Outside Without a Key

Forgetting, losing, or misplacing your keys is never a pleasant situation. Neither is being locked out of your garage. But you can still get inside. After all, burglars have many ways to do it; some of these methods exploit the vulnerabilities of your garage door. But it just goes to show not all is lost. Here’s how to open a locked garage door from the outside without a key:

Pull the Emergency Latch

Unless you have built-in precautions against this, you can straighten out a wire hanger and insert it through the top of the garage door. Feel around until you reach the emergency latch. If you can hook the cord, slowly pull on it. Once the safety release is disengaged, you can roll the door up manually.

Create a Makeshift Key

Older garage door locks sometimes don’t use the familiar keys that have a lot of grooves. The mechanism is much simpler than in today’s locking systems. If you’re this lucky, just look for a piece of metal similarly sized to the key and jiggle it into the lock until it engages. Your garage door will be unlocked so you can use it as normal (and hopefully find your old key).

Use Your Credit Card

No, not to pay a locksmith or buy another lock. This works on an older traditional garage door with a spring-loaded locking bolt. The card presses back the bolt so the door will open. Another variation of this trick is to slide a flathead screwdriver into the gap on top of the door to push on the bolt. You should then be able to slide the door open.

Pick the Lock

If your garage door features an exterior handle, you can use a diamond pick and an L-key to open it. To do this, place the L-key at the bottom of the lock hold, and then insert the diamond pick at the top. Move it to lift the tumblers. The lock should rotate so you can open it. Similar tools can be used if you don’t have an L-key and diamond pick.

Destroy the Lock

This may lead to needing costly repairs, so should be a last resort. Depending on the lock, you can drill into the hole the key would normally go in. Drill in quick bursts. The locking pins will be destroyed. Wriggle the lock until it comes free; you can even spray some WD-40 to speed up the process. Don’t drill with too much force or the door may not open.

Contact a Professional

If you’ve secured the emergency release with a zip tie, have a deadbolt, or installed motion sensors and alarms, opening a locked garage door from the outside without a key may be fruitless. You may not be able to solve the problem yourself. But a locksmith has the tools to get your garage door open without causing much damage. It’s best not to put yourself at risk of injury or an expensive repair job later.

Contact Mesa Garage Doors

Our team is available 24/7. We can provide any type of garage door repair and know how to open a locked garage door from the outside without a key. Throughout much of Southern California, we install all types of garage doors and garage door openers. Get answers to frequently asked questions, request a repair or new door estimate, or call (714) 361-0451 for prompt service.