Are electric remote control garage doors secure?

Not all electric garage doors are made equal and unfortunately there can be big differences in the security features offered, not only between manufacturers but even between the types of garage door that an automation system is installed on.

Mechanical locking and de-latching kits

One of the main security points of any automation system is that as a general rule, the main physical locks that a garage door would have when used manually, have to be disengaged when an automation system is fitted. Otherwise the motor would be trying to open the door while the latches are still engaged.

This is not so much of a problem with a sectional type garage door as the locking action of the motor at the top of the door is often more secure against forced entry than a side catch. A ‘one piece’ up and over door however, usually has at least 2 mechanical locks at the bottom corners of the door which can sometimes offer more security than the locking mechanism of the motor.

Another problem is that there can be a certain amount of ‘flex’ in an up and over type door so it may be possible to pull the door open slightly at the bottom edge, even when the automation system is holding the door closed. This can be enough for someone to crawl under or apply more force to open the door further. The addition of a ‘de-latching kit’ however, is a reasonably inexpensive and simple device that allows the mechanical locks on an up and over door to be activated through the mechanism of the motor.

We always recommend a de-latching kit is fitted with any automatic up and over type door as it offers much higher levels of protection against forced entry than the operator alone.

Operator locking and manual override

As previously mentioned, the locking action of an electric operator usually offers higher levels of protection against forced entry on a sectional garage door than the side latch on a manually operated door. This type of locking, however, relies solely on the strength of the lock in the automation system. Electric operators that feature a mechanical locking mechanism (that physically engages a locking device) offer far higher levels of protection than some budget models that rely on the drive mechanism to act as a lock.

Another common method that thieves use to gain entry is to feed some wire through the top of the garage door and ‘fish’ for the manual override or emergency release mechanism. Once this is disengaged the door can simply be lifted open. Most modern door systems have features in place to prevent this method of entry but they need to be fitted correctly to work.

Hand transmitters and encryption

Early garage door automation system used basic code technology to transmit the signal that activated the door. They were primarily designed to ensure that your neighbour’s door did not open when you opened yours, and had very basic levels of security. It was quite easy for someone with the right equipment to ‘clone’ the code from a hand transmitter as it was being used. Most modern automation systems use ‘rolling code’ technology to prevent this with more advanced models incorporating digital encryption that provides even higher levels of security.

Roller garage doors

There are 2 main types of roller garage door and they differ slightly from other types of garage door in terms of security features. A continuous curtain roller door, as the name suggests, is manufactured from a single sheet of material, usually steel. These types of roller door are designed and built to certain price points and whilst they offer extremely good value for money, their security features are often less advanced than other types of door.

A Roller shutter garage door is assembled with separate hinged slats or ‘laths’ that make up the curtain. There are a large range of companies offering this type of roller door and whilst they usually offer higher levels of security than continuous curtain roller doors, there are some models that offer much higher levels of security than others, with advanced features such as reinforced locking mechanisms, reinforced end plates and deeper guide tracks providing enhanced levels of security.

Secured by Design

There are a large number of specifications and certificates that test and indicate the ‘break in resistance’ of a particular product. STS20, BS PAS 23, BS PAS 24 and LPS 1175 are some of the standards issued and recognised by different authorities. To make things clearer, the UK Police have developed the ‘Secure by Design’ initiative which provides an umbrella certificate that recognises a number of standards and guarantees a high level of security and break in resistance. More specific information can be found on the secure by design website

So are electric remote control garage doors secure? Yes, they certainly can be, and can often provide higher levels of security than a manual product. Here at ABi Garage Doors we are experts in garage door security and have been installing electric garage doors across the Yorkshire region for over 25 years. So for the latest in garage door technology and security equipment why not drop in to our showroom or contact a member of our friendly and dedicated sales team.