how to lock a roll up garage door
Tips & Tricks

How to Lock a Roll-Up Garage Door

The garage door could be the weakest link in your home’s security. Even though you have an automatic garage door, nowadays, criminals can override your opener remote control codes and enter your home.

Most garage doors come with a roll-up door locking mechanism, but some do not. That’s why it’s best to supplement the security features of your garage door, especially when staying out for a long while.

You can install any of the following garage door locks; sliding locks, ground locks, padlocks, garage door defenders, and even keyless lock systems. You can install some lock types on your own, while others may require professional installation.

Either way, many homeowners are unaware of garage door locks that you can install to secure their homes. So we will explain the most common garage door security locks and how they operate.

How do you lock a roll-up garage door from the outside?

Since there are several ways you can lock your roll-up garage door from the outside, it’s best to select one that suits you best. Below are the most common methods you can manually secure your manual or automated garage door.

Install a slide lock

There are two major types of roll-up door slide locks or latches; one uses a T-handle and comes with levers, and the other uses a sliding bolt without any lever. To lock the roll-up garage door from the outside, you’ll need first to install the one with the T-handle and levers.

This T-handle slide lock has a mechanism that doubles as a handle to close and open the garage door from the outside manually. Then you mount the lock on the inside part of the garage door so that the extended bolt passes through the rail to prevent the door from rolling up.

The roll-up door slide lock consists of three main parts;

  • Sliding bolt: locks the door.
  • Vertical spring-loaded release lever: This snaps into place when you extend the bolt, securing it in the locked position, and pushes the bolt open when you release it.
  • Diagonal spring-loaded operating lever: This extends the bolt manually from the inside or using an exterior handle.

If you want to lock your garage door from the outside using a slide lock, you have to install a lock T-handle or L-handle by inserting the spindle into the square hole next to the operating lever. After installing the handle, turn the handle 90 degrees to lock the slide lock. This turn pushes the operating lever and the bolt into the locked position.

To lock and unlock the bolt from the outside, you will need to add a lock cylinder to activate the release lever. First, insert the spindle next to the release lever into the flat hole. Then insert the key into the lock cylinder and turn it to trigger the release lever, thus unlocking the garage door lock.

Note: When installing a sliding door lock, you should avoid using it with a garage door opener. If you do, you will damage the tracks and panels of the garage door, along with the opener. Therefore, always disconnect the garage door opener if you want to lock the door using a sliding door lock. You disengage the opener by pulling down the Emergency Pull.

The main downside of the garage door slide lock is you will have to drill holes into the garage door to mount it, which could affect your warranty.

Automatic locking systems

Alternatively, you can install an automatic slide lock and sync it with your garage door opener if you have the budget. These locking systems use either a fingerprint, pin code, or remote control to open it.

It prevents you from forgetting to unlock the slide lock before using the garage door opener. However, you can’t unlock the automatic slide lock from the inside. So it’s not the best option if you use the garage door as an emergency exit.

Install an external heavy-duty garage door lock

There are different methods of securing the garage door to an external lock. But fixing it to the ground is likely the most effective one. An external heavy-duty garage door lock is a floor-mount device that prevents the door from sinking in and rolling up.

Use a door defender

A garage door defender or a stop bar is a device you place outside that locks into a solid steel base, secures the bottom of the garage door, and prevents the movement of the door. You mount the door defender centrally to your garage door and directly in front of where it will lift and open. The solid base is bolted to the ground and comes with an armored padlock.

The main advantage of the door defender is it is a surface mount, so you won’t have to drill holes into your garage door.

How do I permanently lock my garage door?

You can lock your garage door permanently if you want to convert your garage into a room without removing the garage door. The easiest way to lock your garage door permanently is by screwing the garage door closed with a drill on the inside.

Screw through the lip on the side of the garage door and into the studs that frame the door to keep it shut.

There are also other heavy-duty locks you can install to lock your garage door in the long term; they include:

  • Deadbolt lock
  • Garage defender

How to lock a roll-up door from inside

There are three major ways you can lock your garage door from the inside:

  • Cable tie
  • Padlock
  • Garage door side lock

The above methods are inexpensive and easy to install yourself.

Use a cable tie

Tying the emergency release lever with a cable wire is probably the cheapest and easiest way to lock your garage door from the inside. You will need a cable tire of about 8 inches and a pair of scissors.

The emergency release lever disengages the opener’s motor, and you can use it to open the door when there is no power.

However, anyone can access the emergency release lever from the outside using a fishing rod. Using a cable tie will prevent such an occurrence. Here’s how to do it:

  • First, unplug your garage door opener from power.
  • Next, find the emergency release lever.
  • Find the hole where the release rope is coiled. The hole is on the roll-up door latch called the trolley release arm, which engages and disengages the garage door.
  • Then insert the cable tie through this hole on the latch to disable it from shifting.
  • Wind the cable tie again through the hole at the bottom of the trolley carriage to secure the emergency release lever from engaging. The trolley carriage is where the emergency lever connects and pulls the garage door open.
  • Lock the cable tire securely and cut the excess cable using the scissors. Also, you should never reuse cable ties as they could be less sturdy.

Use a padlock

You can use a padlock on the vertical track to manually lock a roll-up garage door from inside. There are holes in the vertical tracks that you can use with a simple padlock. If there are no holes, you can drill some to help secure the garage door to the track and avoid movement.

Install a side lock

The side lock is an inexpensive and DIY garage door side lock, but it is the most secure method on our list. Garage door side locks attach to the inside of the garage door, latches to the hole in the vertical track, and allow you to lock and unlock the door only from the inside. Here’s how to install your side lock.

Things you need

  • Universal garage door side lock latch
  • Hex screwdriver
  • Impact drill
  • Four self-drilling hex bolts
  • Marker(optional)
  • Padlock(optional)


  • Locate a rectangular hole on the vertical track for the side lock. This hole should be on the second section, from the bottom, on either side of the garage door.
  • If the vertical track has no hole for the latch to slide into, some have a square knockout on the track that you can remove.
  • Use the impact drill to remove the knockout. If there is no hole or knockout, use the drill to make the rectangular hole depending on the side lock’s size.
  • Align the roll-up door lock latch with the rectangular and place the lock against the garage door.
  • Check for pilot holes on the garage door where you can insert the screws. If there are none, make holes with the impact drill, two above and two below.
  • Align the side lock with the drilled holes, then secure the self-drilling hex draws to keep the side lock in place.
  • Side locks also give you the option of installing a padlock for extra security. So you can insert the padlock through the hole on the end of the latch.


There are many ways to lock your garage door manually from the inside and outside. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to consider installation procedure and material. Heavy-duty locks are more pricey, but they are more durable, secure, and difficult to manipulate.

Locks that require drilling of the garage door could void your garage door warranty. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask for professional assistance from your garage door manufacturer for lock recommendations.