How do I open my garage door manually?

Garage Door Emergency Release Red Cord

Power outages are a pain. They disrupt our routines and can leave us feeling powerless. This becomes especially true when you need access to your garage since most garage doors rely on electric openers. Knowing how to open your garage door manually is essential if the power goes out. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be back in control in no time.

Introduction to Garage Door System

Most houses feature an automatic garage opener which without electricity won’t function. An essential component of this system is the emergency release red cord, designed for situations like this.

Locating and Using the Emergency Release Cord

The emergency release red cord is typically attached to the garage door opener track. It’s a red cord, often with a red handle, dangling down from the opener mechanism. Here’s how to use it properly:

  • Pull the garage door cord gently but firmly until you feel the release mechanism disengage. The trolley should disconnect from the carriage, releasing the door from the motorized opener.
Technician pulling the garage door emergency release red cord down.

Manually Opening and Closing the Door

Opening the Door Manually:

  • Disengage the Opener
  • Lift the Door: Position yourself at the centre of the garage door. Lift the door smoothly and evenly with both hands. If the door is well-maintained and adequately balanced, it should move quickly and can stay open when lifted to about half its height. This halfway point is an excellent test to check the door’s balance. Unbalanced doors are dangerous and it’s recommended to have a technician.

Closing the Door Manually:

  • Gently Lower the Door: After ensuring the area underneath is clear (to avoid damage or injuries), gently pull the door downwards using both hands. Be careful once you release the cord since unbalanced doors can be heavy.
  • Secure the Door: Once fully closed, ensure the door sits flush with the ground and the garage frame to prevent gaps that might compromise security or insulation.

Re-engaging the Automatic Opener:

  • Restore Power: Once the power is restored, reconnect the garage door opener to the power supply. Ensure all safety measures are in place to avoid any electrical hazards.
  • Re-engage the Opener: Pull the emergency release red cord towards the door firmly. This action re-engages the door to the automatic opener system. You might hear a click or see the carriage lock back into place, indicating that the door is ready to be operated automatically again.
  • Test the Opener: Finally, test the garage door opener with the remote control or wall button to ensure it functions correctly. The door should open and close smoothly without any issues. If the door does not operate as expected, it may require troubleshooting or professional servicing. 

Tips and Warnings

Tips for Safe and Effective Manual Operation:

  • Perform Regular Maintenance: Regularly check the balance of your garage door by lifting it halfway and seeing if it stays. Lubricate the tracks, rollers, hinges, and springs at least twice yearly to ensure smooth operation.
  • Know Your Door: Familiarize yourself with the features and mechanics of your garage door system. Knowing where the emergency release lever is and how your door operates can make a big difference in an emergency.
  • Keep the Tracks Clear: Ensure that the tracks on either side of the garage door are free from debris and rust. Obstructions can cause the door to operate unevenly or become stuck, potentially leading to damage or injury.
  • Check Door Alignment: Periodically check the alignment of the garage door. Misalignment can stress the door mechanism and prevent it from opening smoothly.
  • Educate Your Household: Ensure all capable household members know how to operate the garage door manually. This knowledge is crucial during emergencies such as power outages.

Warnings to Consider:

  • Beware of Broken Springs: Never manually open your garage door if a spring is broken. Garage door springs are under significant tension, and a broken spring can lead to severe injuries.
  • Avoid Force: If the garage door does not open smoothly or feels unusually heavy, do not force it. Forced operation can bend tracks and brake cables or lead to other damages that might require costly repairs.
  • Use Caution with Tools: If you need tools to assist in manually opening the door, be cautious. Improper tool use can damage the door or cause personal injury.
  • Secure the Door When Open: If the door must remain open for a prolonged period, ensure it is securely propped up to prevent it from suddenly closing. This is especially important in windy conditions or uneven garages.
  • Consult Professionals for Doubts: If you need clarification on the condition of your garage door or how to perform maintenance safely, consult a professional. Regular professional inspections help catch issues before they become serious problems.

Visit Motion Garage Doors for helpful tips on maintaining and managing your garage door. We’re here to help ensure your garage door is safe and functional, no matter the circumstances!


How to Release a Garage Door Manually?

Locate the emergency release red cord hanging from the garage door track system to release your garage door manually. This cord usually has a red handle. Pull this cord down and away from the opener motor to disconnect the door from the automatic opener, allowing manual operation.

How Do You Manually Control a Garage Door?

After disengaging the door from the automatic opener by pulling the emergency release red cord, lift the door smoothly from the bottom using both hands. If the door is balanced correctly, it should move freely and stay open at about halfway up without assistance.

Can Someone Open My Garage Door Manually?

Yes, anyone with access to your garage can open the door manually by pulling the emergency release red cord. It’s essential to secure your garage door and ensure the garage area is adequately secured to prevent unauthorized access.

Can I Open a Garage Door Without Power?

Using the manual release mechanism, you can open a garage door without power. This is useful during power outages when the electric garage door opener cannot function.

Can You Manually Open a Garage Door With a Broken Spring?

Opening a garage door with a broken spring manually is not advisable. The springs are responsible for balancing the door’s weight. If a spring is broken, the door can be hefty and hazardous to lift. It’s best to have broken springs repaired by a professional before attempting to open or close the garage door manually.

If you still have any questions, contact us today and get connected with a garage door technician.

Check our latest blog

Please let us know how we can reach you.

Please let us know how we can reach you.