So, if you’re wondering how to open a garage door without a key then you’re in the right place. This is an article covering this exact topic for those moments when you’ve either lost your key, or your garage door lock is jammed and you just can’t get inside!
This did happen to me, and I had to try out a few things before I was able to open my garage door without a key.
So, I’ll run through a few different things you can do to help anyone else who finds themselves in the same position as me! Obviously, it hopefully goes without saying that you shouldn’t use these methods on doors that aren’t yours. That’s not cool.
Method one: Use a makeshift key
So, this is the method that actually worked for me, so I’ve put it first. Basically, to open your garage door when you’ve lost your key, I found that using a make shift key worked amazingly well.
I think that this method probably works best if you have an old garage door lock. You’ll know of you do if your key (when you had it) didn’t have lots of groves on it.
This means that the lock itself doesn’t have an overly complicated mechanism inside to activate the lock pins.
So, all you then need to do is get a thin bit of metal roughly the same size as your key and jimmy it into the lock.
Wiggle it around a few times, and if it works the lock will turn as normal.
Personally, I used this small flat-head screwdriver attachment from my leatherman and that worked a treat. I highly recommend getting yourself a leatherman – mine has lasted 15 years and counting.
Obviously there’s a risk of damage here, so try this method at your own risk.
Method two: Use the credit card method
I’ve called this one the credit card method because it’s a lot like that trick you see in old spy movies where the spy slides a credit card into an internal door frame to open the lock.
Basically, this works in doors because it presses back the locking bolt if the blot is spring loaded.
On some garage doors, especially the traditional up and over garage doors in the UK, they lock in the same way.
Except that the bolts are located in the top of the door and are much “stiffer” than a cheap internal door lock.
So, instead of a credit card get yourself a flat head screwdriver and slide it around in the gap between the top of your garage door and the lintel.
You’ll then be able to feel where the bolts are, and then you’ll just need to act like James Bond and push the screwdriver into the bolt and lever it down.
You should then be able to push on the door and have it slide open.
Now, this method doesn’t work if you can’t get anything into the gap, or if the bolts extend too far up into the lintel.
Method three: Destroy / Drill the lock on your garage door.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to try this method as it can not only mess your lock up but also risk major damage to the locking mechanism in the door itself.
Also, it may not even work.
That said, if you’re desperate to get into your garage and you have no other option, then read on.
If you have a regular Yale lock, then you simply take a drill, and drill into the part you put your key in to. This basically destroys the locking pins. Drill in little bursts and constantly wriggle the lock, at some point it will come free. Spray in some W-40 to help free up the lock if you sense that it can move but seems jammed up.
There’s a few things to watch out for if doing this method, so watch this short video to get a better idea of how to do it:
If you have a T-lock on your garage door, this technique can also work. But be careful not to drill too deep.
Basically, a T-lock has two parts to it. The first bit you see is the bit you put your key in to, the second bit is the hidden bit, which is the the spindle which turns the cables in the door to free the locking bolts.
Drilling too wildly ends up wrecking the spindle that allows you to actually turn the door, which could cause an issue.
That said, if you have access to a drill and it’s either this or calling out a locksmith, then it could be worth a try.
Method four: Admit defeat and call a locksmith.
Ok, so any DIYer doesn’t really like admitting defeat, but if you’ve tried methods one and two and don’t really feel like / are able to drill out your own lock the a locksmith is the next best option.
Some people may recommend breaking a window to gain entry to your garage, but honestly that’s going to cost you more money and time to fix and doesn’t actually solve the problem.
So, if you’re at your wits end, call a locksmith out. In the UK, this will generally set you back somewhere between £100-150 depending on how urgent the job is and whether you want your lock replaced.
A note of caution
If you find that these methods helped you open your garage door without a key then that’s great. But, do bear in mind that if you can do it, then someone else can!
For me, this was a bit of a wake up call when I managed to open my garage door with my leatherman attachment.
It made me realise that the garage was may be the most vulnerable part of my house. Not great considering all the things I store in there.
So, if you’ve managed to open your garage door without a key consider better ways to secure your garage in the future.
Also, do what I did and replace your garage door lock. It’s an easy, 20 minute job and it means that it’s at least a little bit safer!