How to Open a Garage Door Manually From the Outside

You’re returning home on a rainy night, getting the kids back from school, or arriving at the end of a long work day, and pressing the garage door opener remote yields no response. Do you know how to open a garage door manually from the outside? If so, this situation won’t seem so dire. We’ve covered how to unlock a garage door from outside without a key and even open a garage door without power. To ease the frustration, we’ll look deeper into opening a garage door from outside.

Even the most modern and sophisticated electronic garage door systems can be opened manually. If you’re outside and the garage door isn’t opening, you can try the following to get your car, yourself, and your family safely inside.

Use the Emergency Release Lock

Many garage doors are installed with an emergency release kit or outside disconnect kit. It’s typically located at the top center of the opening. While not a standard feature on all doors, a professional can install one if yours doesn’t have one. 

The emergency release lock is accessed via a small keyhole near the top of the door. To use it, insert a matching key and turn it. The lock tumbler can now be pulled out to allow access to the emergency release cable. Pull on the cord to disengage the automatic garage door opener, so you can lift the door panel from the outside by hand.

Unlock the Door from the Bottom

Depending on your garage door, it may have another lock near the bottom handle. It is designed to keep the door closed. If this lock is installed, you’ll need to release it with a key before you can open the garage door manually (even if you’ve opened the emergency release lock).

Carefully Open the Garage Door

With the emergency release and bottom locks opened, the garage door should be easy to lift. Grab the bottom handle and pull it straight up. Continue until the door is as far as it will go. The springs will hold it in place. The door should open smoothly and with little effort. Stop if it feels heavy or moves roughly or unevenly along the tracks.

Once the door is fully open and you’ve confirmed it’s securely in place, you can drive your car into the garage and allow people to pass underneath.

However, if the garage door doesn’t stay in place, it may have a broken spring, cable, or pulley. If you urgently need to get in the garage, have at least two people carefully lift the door and secure clamps under it at the tracks. Then use the handle to guide it down. By now, you should be waiting for an emergency garage door repair tech to arrive.

Re-Lock the Garage Door

Now that you’ve opened the garage door manually from the outside, and have access to your garage, close it to prevent the door from slamming shut. If a power outage is preventing your garage door from working, you may have to continue using it manually. You should still lock it to maintain security. To do so, place a clamp on the track above a roller, which will keep the garage door closed.

Once the power is restored, you can re-engage the automatic garage door opener. The door must be in the closed position for you to proceed. Once it’s fully extended, pull the emergency cord toward the door to compress the spring and bring the trolley into position. Next, reconnect the trolley and the door; to do this:

  • Move the door along the track manually until the mechanism is in position, or
  • Activate the opener remote, which enables the trolley to reconnect automatically.

You should hear a distinct clicking noise when the trolley and garage door opener connect.

Safety Considerations When Opening a Garage Door Manually From the Outside

The garage door is the largest moving part of most homes. But opening it manually is relatively safe thanks to various built-in features. Nonetheless, you should always follow safety precautions when operating a garage door by hand. The following tips can prevent injury or damage:

  • Pull the Release Cord Only When the Door Is Closed: This probably isn’t an issue if you’re outside and haven’t accessed your garage yet. But when the garage door is closed, it’s under the least amount of pressure. A closed garage door can’t move, fall, pinch, or crush anyone or anything.
  • Unplug the System If Working on Any Components: If you need to work with the motorhead or carriage assembly to check the garage door opener mechanism, turn off the power first. An electric shock can occur if the power suddenly returns.
  • Contact a Professional If the Door Doesn’t Open: A garage door is designed to be disengaged from the opener for easy lifting. If it’s too heavy to lift manually or you need assistance, call a garage door service company to make adjustments or repairs. This avoids strains and injuries.

What Can Cause My Garage Door to Stop Opening?

It’s unexpected and frustrating when you press the remote button and the garage door doesn’t move. One reason for this may be the remote’s batteries are drained. Other possibilities include:

  • A power outage
  • A circuit breaker tripped
  • The power cord is unplugged
  • The garage door is off the track
  • The trolley disconnected
  • A garage door spring broke
  • The motor stopped working

A power outage is out of your control while a circuit breaker can be reset. If the power cord is not plugged in, you’ll have to reinsert it. However, if there’s a mechanical or electrical issue involving your garage door system, you’ll need to call a professional to troubleshoot and address the problem.

What If I Can’t Reset the Garage Door Opener?

The garage door opener must be reset after it’s been disengaged or there’s been a power outage. If you can’t get the carriage to align or the opener to work normally, unplug the system and plug it back in after 30 seconds. The system should reset itself. If not, it may have been damaged by a power surge or other issue, so call a garage door repair professional.

Contact Mesa Garage Doors

We’re happy to share our knowledge of how to open a garage door manually from outside. It can help in many situations. However, depending on the problem, you may need a professional to inspect the system and make necessary repairs. Our experienced technicians can handle any garage door repair and fix all makes and models of garage doors. They’re available 24/7 to address emergencies such as when your garage door won’t open or close. To request help, call (800) 893-1107.