You’re just getting back from running some errands and you want to open the garage door to go in. You reach for your remote and realize it’s not in its normal spot. Searching around the car more carefully turns up nothing. Where could it be? Was it stolen? Panic sets in…
Currently, in the US, though the rate of burglaries has decreased, the average dollar amount stolen has drastically increased. Illegally entering homes by stealing garage door opener remotes is toward the top of the list of methods for burglars. And there are plenty of chances for them to get their hands on these remotes. Often wrongdoers roam shopping center parking lots and target cars with unlocked doors.
Most of the time, homeowners clip their remote on the visor, or in is a special box placed on the ceiling near the rearview mirror. Once the remote has been found, all that remains is locating the car registration for your home address. Once again, most folks store their car registration in the glove compartment or in the center console between the two front seats. That’s all it takes. They have your address and the remote to open your garage door. Moving fast, they can gain entry to your home and ransack it while you are still trying on shoes!
Is there something you can do when you realize the remote has been stolen? How can I prevent this from ever happening again?
Disable your remote
Here is how a garage door opener works: your remote emits a signal that is captured by a receiver located in the housing for the door opener motor. It is the same principle for all models of door openers, whatever year they were manufactured. What can be different is the type of code programmed and the frequency that is used. Since 1993, the large majority of door openers use rolling codes, meaning each time that you use your remote, it changes its transmission code.
Disabling your remote… how? There are a few ways to do it:
- Depending on the brand of your door opener, there is a green, red, orange, yellow or purple Smart Button (see photo) located on the motor housing.
- Pushing on this button for a couple seconds will deprogram all remotes and keypads that you have in the house. This way, even if a remote has been stolen, it won’t be able to be used to open your garage door.
- The next step is to reprogram all remotes and keypads by following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you still have the owner’s maintenance manual from the dealer who installed your garage door, you will find there the procedure to follow. Another alternative is to look on the manufacturer’s website to find a copy of the maintenance manual. Some websites even have videos to help you. Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to find the condensed instructions posted on the opener’s housing.
- But what if I just unplug the opener? Won’t this clear the settings? No, because there are some garage door openers that use a battery to store the codes so that you don’t have to reprogram if there is a power outage.
But what if you don’t want to deprogram everything?
- Depending on the model of door opener, if you have a control panel installed near the door accessing the house, you can use the LOCK button. By pressing this button, you disable all signals from remote controls or exterior keypads.
- However, you can still open and close your door by using the Open/Close button on this control panel.
I don’t have a control panel, but instead a doorbell-type wall control…
- The safest way is to unplug the door opener from the wall outlet and keep it unplugged until you are sure your remote has been really stolen.
- If you then need to open and close your door, you’ll have to pull on the emergency release cord (generally red) to disengage the overhead trolley, and operate your door manually.
- If you wish to relock your door, you should install a lock on the side of the door, generally on the second section of the door.
If you have LiftMaster’s MyQ system on your smartphone…
- Because everything works by way of a wireless system, even if you erase the current program, you won’t have to reprogram your smartphone.
- A rule of thumb – always lock your car doors, even if your car is parked in your driveway. You’d be surprised how many remotes are stolen at night.
- Never place your remote in plain sight in your car. We all have the reflex of hanging it on the visor. Instead, place it in a place out of view. In situations when you are leaving your car in a less-than-ideal place for safety, take the remote with you.
- By the same token, hide your vehicle registration showing your home address in other than the popular locations like the glove compartment. Try keeping it in your wallet.
- An excellent idea is to use a mini-remote on your keyring. This way you will carry it with you and rarely, if ever, lock it in the car. This way there is no opener in the car to steal!
- Use the latest technology, developed in 2014, that of LiftMaster’s MyQ technology.
Can someone help me? I know nothing about this…
Following the loss of your garage door remote control, if you still have questions that haven’t been thoroughly answered, contact a garage door specialist in your area.
You can be assisted by this specialist over the phone. To replace a remote that has been stolen, be sure you have the other remote you use on hand. You will need to give the model number and year of your door opener. You can also send a request for an online quotation.