How to Unlock an Automatic Garage Door

An automatic garage door opener can be a wonderful convenience. Simply press the button, and open or close the door without ever getting out of your vehicle. Everything is great as long as there is electricity to power the motor, but what happens when the power goes out or the motor fails. Luckily there is a simple release mechanism to allow you to open the door in this situation.

  1. Locate the release mechanism. Somewhere along the track between the motor and the door should be the drive carriage and a release mechanism with a cord hanging down. Usually it will be closer to the door assuming it is closed. If the power is out and your garage is dark, you may need to use a flashlight to help you see.

  2. Pull the handle to release the carriage. It may take a little force especially on an older opener that might be stuck. Pull all the way until it stops to be sure it is completely released. If not fully released, attempting to manually open the door could damage the opener.

  3. Manually open the garage door. Now the garage door should be able to freely open and close. Be aware that anyone will be able to open the door from outside. You might want to use a latch if this is not a temporary solution.

  4. Re-engage the automatic door opener. Once the power has been restored or the opener has been repaired, pull the release cord again to make sure it is fully open. Manually raise or lower the door until the carriage locks into place. Verify that the opener works as expected.


  • Be careful when working around an automatic garage door, improper use or installation can result in bodily harm. Also consult the owner's manual for proper usage instructions.

About the Author

Cole Markham is a software developer with more than 10 years of experience in computer programming. He also has experience in systems administration on both Windows Server and Linux platforms. Markham's articles have been published on eHow and Answerbag.