Security Tips for Your Garage and Garage Door Openers

Protecting your garage and its contents is an important part of home security. Your garage likely contains high-value items like tools, sporting equipment, and seasonal items. It may also provide entry access into your home. Following some key security tips can help deter theft and break-ins.

Conduct Regular Inspections

Performing routine inspections of your garage interior and exterior can help identify potential security risks. Look for:

  • Loose or damaged weather seals around the garage door, which can provide access for intruders. Seal any gaps with caulk or weather stripping.
  • Windows that are accessible for breaking and entry. Make sure garage windows have working locks. Cover windows with curtains or blinds to block views into the garage interior.
  • Areas where tree branches or shrubs provide hiding spots. Trim back any vegetation near or around the garage.
  • Poor exterior lighting that creates dark areas at night. Install motion-sensor lights near garage doors and in vulnerable areas.
  • Signs of damage or previous break-in attempts around doors, windows, or walls. Make repairs immediately to prevent future intrusions.

Regular inspections allow you to proactively address vulnerabilities before they become bigger issues down the road. Do a walk around at least twice a year.

Upgrade Garage Doors and Locks

Your garage doors and entry points are the main targets for break-ins. Upgrading them enhances security:

Steel Garage Doors

  • Replace any aging or hollow wood doors with insulated steel models. Look for thick gauges of 22 or higher. The metal construction resists damage from forced entry.
  • Get doors at least 8 feet wide to cover the full opening. Gaps on either side can provide pry points for intruders.
  • Add extra bracing and reinforcement on side hinges, which are more vulnerable than center hinges.


  • Use a sturdy padlock with a hardened steel shackle on side entry doors. Go for grade 1 or 2 with a minimum 3/8-inch shackle.
  • Install deadbolt locks on all entry doors for better security than standard doorknobs. Get at least 1-inch throw bolts made of hardened steel.
  • Upgrade main garage door locks to either keyless entry or digital keypad versions. This avoids fussing with keys and makes it easier to change codes if keys are compromised.
  • Consider smart locks that allow keyless entry via smartphone and send alerts when accessed. Check models like Kwikset Kevo and Schlage Encode.

Door Reinforcements

  • Replace standard door jambs with heavy-duty, adjustable metal jambs for both garage and entry doors. They prevent jimmying of locks by spreading force across the entire frame.
  • Install metal or composite reinforcements behind entry doors. They prevent kicking in or forcing of the doors to gain entry.
  • Add jamb peepholes or other viewers so you can see who is outside without opening the door. Only open once you’ve confirmed it is not a threat.

Garage Door Openers

  • Make sure automatic openers have auto-reverse sensors that detect objects upon closing and reverse the door. This safety feature also prevents someone from crawling under a descending door.
  • Get openers with rolling code technology that changes the access code every time the remote is used. This prevents code grabbers from recording and playing back your signal.
  • Consider smart garage door controllers that send mobile alerts when the door opens or closes. You’ll be notified of any unauthorized access in real time.

Improve Visibility with Lighting

Proper lighting removes hiding spots and deters potential intruders who want to avoid being seen.

  • Install bright, energy-efficient LED flood lights activated by motion sensors near garage doors. Position them high enough to avoid easy tampering.
  • Keep interior garage lights on overnight or use motion-sensing models. Leave some lights on even when not at home to give the impression of occupancy.
  • Make sure exterior lights have photocells or timers to automatically turn on at dusk. Leave some lights on overnight.
  • Trim back landscaping and foliage to eliminate hiding places in dark shadows. Good visibility from windows and doors is key.
  • For smart lighting, consider Wi-Fi enabled bulbs that allow remote control via smartphone. You can easily switch them on and off when away from home.

Secure Garage Windows

Garage windows are entry points for break-ins. Enhance security with these tips:

  • Install sturdy steel window bars or grates on the interior to prevent forcing windows open from the outside. Quick-release models are available in case of emergency exit needs.
  • Replace standard window glass with reinforced, laminated glass which is much harder to smash. You can also apply security window film for cost-effective added strength.
  • Keep windows locked at all times, even when at home. Use key locks for inaccessible windows out of reach.
  • Cover windows fully with curtains, blinds, or window frosting films to block views of valuable items inside.
  • Trim back shrubs or foliage outside windows that can provide hidden access or serve as climbing aids.
  • For garage shop areas, consider installing plexiglass or polycarbonate pane windows which do not shatter as easily as glass. They still allow in light while enhancing security.

Store Valuables Out of Sight

The number one goal is making your garage look less enticing to potential thieves scoping out targets:

  • Keep high value items like tools, equipment, bicycles, and sporting goods out of view and locked away. Use storage cabinets, closets, wall organizers, or interior rooms instead of leaving in the main garage area.
  • Park vehicles all the way inside the garage rather than leaving room behind them. This prevents access to pry open a door or trunk.
  • Get opaque or curtained storage units instead of clear see-through varieties. Avoid tempting window shoppers.
  • Remove garage door openers from vehicles when parked outside the garage to prevent break-ins and theft. Give the impression your car is not kept here.
  • Keep the garage interior tidy and organized to eliminate places for intruders to hide behind clutter.

Consider Video Surveillance

Adding security cameras can help identify and catch criminals in the act. Features to look for include:

  • Wide angle lenses that provide full coverage of garage interior, doors and approach. Avoid blind spots.
  • HD or 4K image resolution sufficient to identify faces and details.
  • Infrared night vision capability to see in low light and complete darkness.
  • Motion activated recording to capture footage only when needed, avoiding endless hours of static video.
  • Weatherproof cameras that can withstand garage temperature extremes and humidity.
  • Internet and smartphone connectivity to enable remote viewing and real time alerts of suspicious activity.
  • Video doorbells to see who is at the side entry door before opening it.
  • Signs alerting of surveillance cameras on premises. These can deter crimes from even taking place.

Secure Interior Entry Doors

If your garage provides direct building access, interior entry doors need security upgrades too:

  • Replace hollow interior doors with solid core wood or metal doors at least 1 3⁄4 inches thick. Look for fire rated options.
  • Add secondary blocking beams or braces on the interior side for reinforcement against kicking in.
  • Use a wide angle viewer, peephole or video doorbell to see who is on the other side before opening.
  • Change the entry door deadbolt and knob locks to better grade devices with longer throw bolts and hardened steel components.
  • Consider smart lock options like August, Lockly, or Schlage to control and monitor access. These make it easy to let in trusted visitors like dog walkers without providing full key access.
  • Keep interior entry doors locked at all times, even when at home. Make it a strict household rule.

Implement a Security System

Installing a monitored security system provides 24/7 protection and alerts to unauthorized entry:

  • Professionally installed and monitored systems deter most intruders who don’t want police showing up. DIY systems are less effective.
  • Motion sensors, glass break detectors, door/window contacts and video surveillance provide complete property coverage.
  • Keypad and touchscreen controllers make it easy to arm and disarm the system.
  • Smartphone control allows you to monitor and manage the system remotely. Useful when on vacation.
  • Medical and fire monitoring provides an extra layer of protection for home emergencies.
  • Signage indicates the home is protected and monitored by a security company, which can deter crimes.

Practice Good Safety Habits

Certain daily habits promote better garage security:

  • Keep the garage door closed at all times, even when at home or just popping into the yard briefly. Don’t leave open access for theft.
  • Close the garage door immediately when pulling in or out to avoid leaving an opportunity for sneak-in access.
  • When parking outside, remove garage remotes and valuables from vehicles to avoid theft.
  • Make sure to lock side entry doors every time you pass through. Don’t just close it behind you out of habit.
  • At night, park vehicles fully inside the garage rather than leaving them projecting out.
  • Close and lock interior access doors every night for complete building security.
  • Turn on exterior and interior lighting in the evening whether home or away.
  • Keep keys and remotes out of sight and away from exterior doors where burglars can grab them through a broken window.

Consider Alternate Garage Uses

If security becomes an ongoing issue, consider converting your garage space to another purpose:

  • Build interior living space like a family room, spare bedroom, or storage area. Make sure to include a code compliant entry door.
  • Convert to a tool/workshop by installing insulation, electrical circuits, and storage systems. Add security measures to this space.
  • Turn into a hobby studio for crafts, music, exercise, etc. This removes the expectation of housing high value items.
  • Rent out the converted space to tenants for extra income to offset the loss of garage storage. Be sure to screen applicants thoroughly.

Ask About Neighborhood Security

Connecting with neighbors promotes community awareness about area security issues:

  • Talk to neighbors about starting a neighborhood watch program to monitor for suspicious activity. Agree on communication protocols.
  • Ask if they have security cameras that might capture footage of your home’s approaches. Offer to do the same in return.
  • Share each other’s contact info so you can alert one another about concerning events in real time.
  • Chat about security tactics like lighting, alarms, video cameras to get ideas you can implement.
  • Discuss any patterns of theft or break-ins so you know what to look out for.
  • Develop an emergency plan for how to respond and who to call if a crime occurs.


Taking steps to secure your garage can help protect your home and belongings from theft and damage. Focus first on entry points like garage doors, then add reinforcement measures like lighting, storage practices, video monitoring and security systems. Practicing daily safety habits like keeping doors closed and locked also promotes better security. With some diligence in following these tips, you can keep your garage and property safe from intruders.

Frequently Asked Questions about Garage Security

What are the most common ways garages are broken into?

Some of the most common methods of garage break-ins include:

  • Prying open side doors or forcing door locks
  • Breaking door windows to reach inside and unlock
  • Picking locks on side entry or garage doors
  • Using a snatched garage remote to open the main garage door
  • Crawling under a partially open garage door
  • Smashing door window panes and reaching inside
  • Kicking in side entry doors that lack proper reinforcement

What times are garages most likely to be broken into?

Garage break-ins tend to occur most often:

  • At night under the cover of darkness when fewer neighbors are awake to notice
  • When families are away on vacation and the home appears unoccupied
  • While people are at work for an extended period of time
  • During the warmer months when homeowners leave garage doors open more often

What maintenance helps prevent garage break-ins?

Regular maintenance like the following helps boost garage security:

  • Replacing worn or faulty weather seals around doors
  • Fixing loose or damaged entry door locks
  • Repairing cracks or damage to doors and windows
  • Lubricating and tightening door hinges
  • Testing and adjusting garage door sensors and auto-reverse
  • Replacing burned out bulbs in security lights
  • Pruning back trees/shrubs that have overgrown
  • Removing debris that could be used to smash windows

What high value items are commonly targeted in garage theft?

Some items frequently stolen from garages include:

  • Tools like cordless drills, saws, wrenches, pneumatic equipment
  • Ladders, compressors, wheelbarrows, and other portable job site gear
  • Outdoor power equipment like lawnmowers, chainsaws, blowers, tillers
  • Bicycles, golf clubs, surfboards and other sporting equipment
  • Motorcycle and automotive repair tools and diagnostic equipment
  • Hunting/fishing equipment like rods, vests, guns, and tackle boxes

How can I make my garage contents look less valuable?

To make your garage interior appear less tempting, try strategies like:

  • Parking cars all the way inside to block views behind
  • Covering windows to hide interior visibility
  • Installing curtains over shelving units or storage cabinets
  • Storing high value items out of sight in locked cabinets or closets
  • Keeping the garage messy and disorganized, avoiding neat organization
  • Leaving cheap items visible but locking away quality tools and equipment
  • Posting signs indicating the garage has video surveillance in use

What can I do if I don’t have a garage for secured storage?

If you don’t have a garage, other options for safe storage include:

  • Installing exterior lockable storage sheds anchored firmly in place
  • Fencing in your yard and adding lockable access gates
  • Storing items inside interior room closets, cabinets, or wardrobes
  • Renting offsite storage units like mini-storage facilities if space allows
  • Chaining items like bicycles to sturdy fixtures like posts or trees
  • Adding anchored tie-down cables and locks to secure equipment
  • Investing in heavy-duty locks and chains to secure items together
  • Parking vehicles in secure locations like locked barns or carports if available nearby

What steps provide the best security when converting a garage?

When converting your garage space, be sure to:

  • Install solid core wood or metal entry doors for better security than standard types
  • Include high-security deadbolt locks on any new entry doors added
  • Keep existing garage doors intact for maintenance access rather than removing permanently
  • Add motion sensor lights near doors and approaches to the converted space
  • Incorporate monitored alarm sensors on doors, windows, and motion detectors
  • Use strong hasps, padlocks and chains to secure equipment and utility panels
  • Construct walls/ceilings with plywood and steel framing to prevent easy breaking through
  • Avoid less secure building materials like drywall and plastic laminate finishes

How can I make my garage more secure on a budget?

Some budget-friendly ways to better secure your garage include:

  • Adding extra locks on entry doors and padlocks on garage door tracks
  • Installing temporary security film on windows to prevent break-ins
  • Using curtain panels or cardboard to cover windows and hide interior contents
  • Moving valuables out of the garage into indoor closets or wardrobes
  • Purchasing battery powered motion detector spotlights and solar landscape lights
  • Keeping vehicles locked at all times inside the garage to prevent theft from them
  • Using video camera stickers and security system warning decals to deter robbers
  • Keeping the garage door closed and locked even when at home to prevent easy access
  • Frequently inspecting windows, doors, and locks for maintenance issues that could compromise security
  • Keeping the garage tidy and free of hiding spots where intruders could lurk unseen

What steps should I take if my garage is broken into?

If you discover your garage has been broken into, key steps include:

  • Contacting the police immediately to file a report – provide serial numbers of stolen items if possible
  • Not entering or touching anything until police arrive in order to preserve evidence
  • Taking photos and videos documenting damage and missing items for insurance claims
  • Calling your insurance company to start your claim if items were stolen
  • Replacing locks, doors, or windows that were compromised in the break-in
  • Enhancing security by adding lights, cameras, reinforced doors, window bars, etc.
  • Hiding valuables or moving them to more secure locations
  • Informing neighbors so they can be alert for suspicious activity
  • Monitoring account activity for any credit cards stolen during the break-in

What are signs my garage may have been broken into?

Clues that your garage may have been burglarized include:

  • Doors, windows or walls with visible damage or pry marks
  • Contents ransacked with items scattered about
  • Valuable tools, equipment, or other items missing
  • Vehicle doors ajar or contents disturbed
  • Unfamiliar footprints, dust trails, or fingerprints
  • Lights switched off or burned out unexpectedly
  • Garage and side entry doors unlocked when normally kept locked
  • Pet behavior indicating they encountered an intruder

How can I get help paying for garage security improvements?

Some ways to get financial help for garage security include:

  • Checking with your homeowners insurance provider – some offer discounts if you add approved safety devices
  • Seeing if your police department provides grants for home security upgrades
  • Using rebates and tax credits offered for smart security and automation devices
  • Spreading out costs over time by financing hardware through home improvement accounts
  • Seeing if groups like Neighbors United provide assistance grants in your area
  • Doing the labor yourself rather than paying for professional monitoring services or installation
  • Starting with DIY improvements first like