How to Get into a Locked Garage – The Hanger Trick

How to Get into a Locked Garage – The Hanger Trick


If you’ve ever locked your garage door remote or keys in the garage (or most likely both) you know how frustrating it can be. These days most garage doors are automatic. This means that when they close, they are not meant to be opened manually from the outside and are thus to all intents and purposes locked. You generally need a remote to get the door open or need to go into the garage through the side entry door in order to open the door using the control box on the wall. If you’ve left the keys to the entry in the garage or they are somewhere else than on your person you’re going to need a way to access the garage other than going in through the side door. The following is a trick you can try that works with the majority of today’s commercially available garage door systems.

The Hanger Trick

The following trick is often employed by burglars. This blog post is in no way meant to encourage these people. However it is a handy trick and you can use it to access a locked garage.

The first thing that you need to know is that there is usually a lever on central arm that attaches to the garage door from the track that contains the chain. This lever is a manual release. It automatically allows the door to open manually when pulled. This is meant to be used from inside the garage in case the opener is not working for some reason.

How to Get into a Locked Garage – The Hanger Trick

Look for some molding or a gasket like area over the top of the garage door entrance frame. This is a kind of seal that is formed when the garage door comes into place when fully shut. It allows plenty of room to slip a hanger through up over the top of the garage door. Unwind the hanger and pull it out so it is long and straight. Bend a hook into the end of it, similar to the kind of hanger tool you might use to try to get into a car in which you’ve locked the keys. Slip the hanger through the molding area as close as possible to the central chain track area. If your garage door has windows you may be able to see this through them. If not just try to get close to the center of the door. You can even measure the exact center with a tape measure if you wish.

Now reach the hanger in underneath the gasket and over the top of the door as noted. If you happen to have a wedge shaped piece of wood like a door stop, you can wedge it in to hold the gasket apart. Once you have the hanger inside, feel around with the hangar for the central arm and track. The arm usually attaches to the track with a shorter piece that slides along it when the door opens. The manual release lever is usually located on the back underside of this piece. You may have seen this piece before – it usually has a cord hanging from it that the homeowner can pull in order to release the door. Try to grab this lever. You want to pull it toward you rather than away from you. This is a large piece and is usually not very hard to grab hold of with the hanger. Pull firmly and the door will release, allowing you to manually lift it open.

This is really about all there is to opening a locked garage door. It is actually far easier than getting into a locked car. This makes it something of a concern from a theft standpoint, but at least it makes it relatively easy to get in if you’re locked out.



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