Is Your Garage Door Lock Secure?
As a locksmith I see this all the time. Bikes, power tools, camping equipment, motorcycles, prams and various other sentimental items that we quite can’t bring ourselves to get rid of, bung it all in the garage, slam down the door and lock it all up. All safe and sound right?
Well, next time youre dusting down your hands after squeezing yet another item into your massive, but ever shrinking prized space, take some time to take a look at the lock. No, I mean the on the inside of the door. How many locking points are there? Does it have substantial locking bars or tinny, mass produced rods that may or may not engage into the door track?
Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable, yet neglected when it comes to security. Most modern garage doors are fitted with a handle and separate euro type cylinder which in themselves aren’t that bad, but its the internal locking mechanisms I have a problem with.
Over time the locking bars become loose, bent, or the door track itself actually becomes loose hence the bar no longer engages properly, leaving one or both sides of the door virtually unlocked. It seems ok, but once you have locked the door, try pulling the door up. Then try pulling it up from either side. Does it come up at either side? Even if it locks ok, the internal locking mechanism is manufactured in such a way that any determined intruder could quite easily force the door with common tools available at any hardware store (that’ll be a crow bar).
So what can be done?
As a local locksmith I know that there are many excellent products available for garage door security but first you need to ask yourself a few questions. How valuable are the garage contents? Do I regularly access the door from outside or is there another door at the rear leading to the garden or into the house? Will the kids be using the lock? ( Kids won’t bother locking it if it takes more than say, 5 seconds to lock).
I recently attended an emergency call out to a customer who’s neighbors garages had nearly all been broken into. There were ten garages, all in a row, situated away from the houses, down a back lane. Six doors had been forced open and the other four were either secured properly or they were just lucky.
The door I was called to look at was actually unable to be opened, because in the attempt to force the door, the locking bars, which were actually the older , heavy duty type, actually held but were bent in such a way as to prevent them from being retracted by the handle. The others were not so lucky, one had a single light duty bar locking only at the top of the door! A mini was taken from this one. The one next to it had two padbolts fitted to the outside, one either side. Only one lined up still, so the one on the right hand side of the door was the only one actually doing anything, but the padlock was a tiny little thing designed for a suitcase so they lost some mountain bikes and all of their bike riding gear and tools. The stolen articles were worth about £6,000 and the padlock securing all of this was worth about £1.50!
It needn’t cost the earth though, even simply replacing the standard locking bars with heavier ones will be enough in some cases, or if there are more valuable items, such as motorcycles, mountain bikes, or even old Aunty Jessie’s dressing table, which would look a tad out of place in the house (but might be worth something one day), there are some excellent products out there, most of which after one look, would send most burglars away to think again. Thats the lock I mean, not the dressing table.