Like many homeowners, you assume your garage door will open and close on command. However, a power outage or a malfunctioning motor can lead to a stuck door. You’ll need to know how to open and close your garage door manually when this happens.
Fortunately, all garage door models have a built-in process or system for opening the door manually, whether you’re inside or outside your garage. This failsafe ensures you can access your garage, drive your car out and make it to work on time. You can also keep your vehicle protected, even when inclement weather leads to a power outage.
How to Open Your Door From the Inside
Follow these steps if you can’t open the door when you’re inside your garage:
- Locate any locks or latches and ensure they’re in the open position. Otherwise, you won’t be able to raise the door.
- Unplug the power cord to your automatic garage door opener.
- Find the emergency release cord, a red-handled object hanging from the door center track.
- Pull the emergency release cord downward to disconnect the trolley — the rail that connects the opener to the door. You should only attempt to operate the cable if the door is completely closed.
- Raise the door by lifting the handle located at the bottom’s center upward. Lift the door as far as possible, then wait a few moments to ensure it stays in place without sliding back down. Never stand directly under an open overhead door.
- Upon exiting the garage or backing your vehicle out, close the door by grasping the handle and lowering it to the ground. Slide the lock bar into place to secure the door until you’re ready to open it again or have it repaired.
How to Open Your Door From the Outside
If you’re having difficulty getting into your garage, you can follow these steps to gain access:
- If you don’t have another exterior door for accessing your garage, there might be an emergency release kit (also called an outside disconnect kit) at the top center of the opening. You should also have a compatible key to unlock the kit. Outside disconnect kits aren’t standard on all doors, so it may be a good idea to call a professional and have one installed if you don’t have one.
- Insert and turn the key and pull out the lock tumbler. Pull the cable to engage the door opener carriage’s release mechanism, putting the door in manual mode.
- You should see another lock at the bottom of the door next to the handle. Use your key to unlock the door.
- Open the door by grasping the handle and pulling straight upward.
- Upon entering the garage, re-engage the release mechanism by pushing the lever upward with a broom handle or similar object. Use a ladder to gain easier access to the lever if necessary.
- Close the door by lowering it to the down position.