Tag Archives: garage door opener security

Garage Door Security Tips


Everyone should know something about garage door security. Garage doors are a common weak point when looking at security in a whole-home approach and an easy target for thieves. Garage door are not only a weakness, but provide criminals a shelter once inside. To the casual passerby an open garage with a work truck pulled up to it doesn’t look out of place or scream break-in.

Securing your garage door doesn’t just mean the roll-up door; you have to look at every entrance point as vulnerability. Not that any loss to your family isn’t devastating, but one that occurs through a preventable measure just shouldn’t happen. Here are some important things you can do to secure your garage.

Automatic Garage Door Openers

When the first generation of automatic openers came out they all featured the same code. You can imagine the security risk by having one of these openers. Thieves could just drive a neighborhood pushing their purchased transmitter and if you had the same brand as they did they gained instant access.

The second generation of openers increased their security by featuring dip switches that could be set by the owner to a unique combination. While this did increase security, most owners would leave the default setting on and guess what? Again, instant access. Another security risk of the second-gen openers is that a code grabber could be utilized to gain access to your system. A code grabber device works by locking onto your signal and memorizing it. Then, all a thief would have to do is re-transmit the code and they were in.

Modern automatic garage door openers now feature rolling-code technology, where your remote will transmit a brand new security code each time you press your remote. There are over 100 billion codes, so the likelihood of a code grabber working is very slim. Be sure that your opener features this rolling-code technology. LiftMaster, a well known manufacturer of garage door openers, has their Security line that features this technology.

Top 10 Tips

  1. Don’t leave the garage door remote in your vehicle – If a thief breaks in to your car and steal the remote he has a way into your home.
  2. Invest in a keychain remote opener – Stop using that remote you clip to your visor and get a keychain remote opener that you can leave on your keys.
  3. Secure your garage door emergency release – Follow our article here and learn how easy it is throw some zip-ties on your emergency release and still retain its intended function.
  4. Keep it locked – Put a deadbolt on the door between your house and garage; is it really that much of an inconvenience to have to use a key each time you come home?
  5. Make sure the door from your garage into your house is as secure as your front door – Ensure you have a strong, sturdy door made out of solid-core wood or reinforced steel and install an Anti-Kick device like the Door Devil on it!
  6. Don’t leave your garage door open – It amazes me how many people in my neighborhood just leave their garage door open all the time. It’s just inviting someone to pop their heads in and grab something. No matter how safe you think your neighborhood is, good neighborhoods are the first place criminals like to drive through to case houses.
  7. Install a wide-angle peephole in the door between your house and your garage – You’ll at least be able to see what’s going on if you hear a strange noise; rather than opening the door to find out.
  8. Garage windows are available in tinted or seedie glass which makes it harder to see in the garage – Don’t do thieves any favors by enabling them to see when your vehicle is gone.
  9. Padlock the throw latch on your garage door when you’re out of town – If you don’t have a manual lock on your garage door, you can use a c-clamp tightened down on each side of the door track to effectively “lock” down the door. It’s similar to those small window track locks you can buy for your home interior windows.
  10. Don’t neglect maintenance on the mechanical parts of your roll-up garage door and keep an eye out for corrosion. Don’t forget the door from your garage to your house; check the frame, locks, hinges and any replaceable items.

Test your own security by putting yourself in a criminal’s shoes. How would you break in to your garage? What are the weaknesses of your security system? Do you have an external keypad? Try removing it and taking out the batteries out, can it be manipulated to open your door? How can you be sure if you don’t try it out? It will definitely make you rethink your security. Test your system for vulnerabilities! Take a few minutes and share this with your friends and family!

Don’t be the victim of a garage door break-in this holiday season!

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Guarantying Garage Door Opener Security

The original “self opened-and-closed” garage door revolutionized garages and car storage in 1918.

It was a fully mechanical system with no electronic parts, as electronics were not yet in common household goods. A U-shaped bar was set into the driveway, which turned other mechanical parts to make the door open. The original automatic garage door opener had no particular security safeguards, save from manually locking the door.

During World War II, new technology was invented that was used to remotely detonate bombs. Using a simple transmitter and receiver, this new remote control was adjusted to work on garage door openers. Originally, these garage door openers only worked on one unchanging radio frequency. This wasn’t a problem at first, but as more and more people owned automobiles, more and more houses were built with radio frequency- remote controlled automatic garage door openers. Suddenly, opening one garage door caused people to open their neighbors’ garage doors as well. The evening rush hour became quite interesting in cozy little neighborhoods.

In order to rectify the opening of multiple doors in range with the push of a single button, automatic openers underwent a change. Dip switches were added to the transmitters and receivers. Though they had to be set in advance, these wireless systems offered 256 code options. This meant that it was reasonably unlikely for neighbors to have the same code, and the opening of all the neighbors doors along with one’s own ceased, though they admittedly did not provide high security.

Because these codes are sent using radio frequencies, it was possible for persons with bad intentions to use frequency reading devices and capture a code to a given house simply by using the device at the same time a homeowner opened the garage door. This was particularly terrifying, as by this time, most garages were built onto the houses and offered interior access to homes. To address this security issue, automatic door openers began using rolling codes.

Openers with rolling codes automatically program a new code into the transmitter and receiver every time the remote is used to open the door. This means that it is not possible to capture the code with frequency reading devices, as the code is different every time. For a while, these openers were allowed to operate using government radio frequencies between 300 and 400 MHz. In 2005, the United States Department of Defense needed more available frequencies, and so remote openers now use 315 MHz frequency. This keeps the military’s Land Mobile Radio System (LMRS) from accidentally interfering with garage openers and resetting the codes.

Now that the codes are protected, other security concerns have arisen. External keypads are a convenient feature of many modern garage door openers, but they do present a weak point in home security. It is important to keep keypad codes secret and to change them occasionally. Many new remote openers feature vacation lockout. This feature shuts off the receiver so that it cannot be accessed when the homeowners are away for extended periods.

Many garage doors also have manual mechanical locks that can be used. Some have keyed entry, but many must be locked and unlocked from inside the garage. Of course, many home security companies offer ways to add security to garage doors, including monitoring. It is also a good idea to lock the interior entry door so that if a thief does make it into the garage, they are still denied access to the inside of the home.

The best resource for ensuring proper automatic garage door opener security is a professional door installation and service company. Ask about security before settling on a product and installation. If the representative is unable to help, find another company. If concerns still arise, talk to a home security firm about adding an extra layer of security to the garage entry.

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