How To Manually Open A Garage Door? An Experts Advice!

Garage door openers have become a common convenience in modern homes, allowing us to effortlessly access our garages with just the click of a button. However, there may come a time when you need to open your garage door manually, perhaps due to a power outage or a malfunctioning opener. Knowing how to do this can save you from being stranded outside your own garage. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to manually open a garage door or the steps of opening a garage door manually if it has an opener. Plus, we’ll share some valuable tips to ensure a smooth and safe operation.

How To Manually Open A Garage Door?

**Step 1: Locate the Emergency Release Cord**

Most garage door openers come equipped with an emergency release cord. This cord is typically red and hangs from the opener rail. Its purpose is to disengage the garage door opener so that you can manually open and close the door. Find this cord before attempting to open the door manually.

**Step 2: Pull Down the Emergency Release Cord**

(only pull the cord if the door is in the down position)

Once you’ve located the emergency release cord, gently pull it down towards the garage floor. This action will release the door from the opener’s drive system, allowing you to operate it manually. You may hear a clicking sound when you pull the cord. 

**Step 3: Lift the Garage Door Manually**

With the emergency release cord pulled down, you can now lift the garage door manually. Stand inside the garage, grasp the door handle (or the bottom edge of the door), and lift it slowly and steadily. Be prepared for some resistance, especially if your garage door is heavy.

**Step 4: Secure the Door in the Open Position**

Once the garage door is fully open, make sure to secure it in place. You can use a clamp, a piece of wood, or a similar object to prop the door open and prevent it from accidentally closing.

**Step 5: Re-Engage the Garage Door Opener**

When it’s time to use the automatic opener again, you’ll need to re-engage it with the garage door. To do this, simply pull the emergency release cord towards the opener unit until it clicks back into place. Your garage door opener should now be functional once more.

**Tips for a Smooth Manual Operation:**

  1. Keep the area around the emergency release cord clear of debris and obstructions so that you can access it quickly in case of an emergency.
  1. Get your door serviced by a qualified technician Yearly.
  1. Ensure that you and anyone assisting you are aware of the proper lifting techniques to prevent injury.


Knowing how to open a garage door manually when it has an opener is a valuable skill for every homeowner. By following these simple steps and practising safety precautions, you can confidently handle a manual garage door operation when the need arises. Remember that if you encounter any issues with your garage door opener, it’s a good idea to consult a professional for repairs to ensure the continued functionality of your system.

*** The garage door opener’s manual release cord should not be pulled in certain scenarios, as doing so can lead to safety hazards or further complications with your garage door system. Here are some scenarios when you should avoid pulling the manual release cord ***

  • During a Power Outage: If the power is out, pulling the manual release cord is unnecessary unless you need to manually open the door to exit the garage. In most cases, you should wait for the power to return and use the automatic opener as intended.
  • When the Garage Door is Stuck or Jammed: If your garage door is stuck or jammed due to an obstruction or a malfunction, pulling the manual release cord without addressing the underlying issue can worsen the problem. It’s important to identify and resolve the cause of the jam before attempting manual operation.
  • 3. If the Garage Door Opener is Functioning Normally: If your garage door opener is operating correctly, there is generally no need to use the manual release cord. Pulling it without a specific reason can disengage the opener unnecessarily.
  • 4. When the Garage Door is Unsafe to Move: If the garage door is damaged, off its tracks, or if there is any reason to believe that it may not be safe to move manually, it’s crucial to avoid pulling the manual release cord. Attempting to move a compromised door manually can lead to accidents or further damage.
  • 5. When You Are Not Familiar with the Procedure: If you are not experienced with manually operating a garage door and have not been properly instructed on how to do it safely, avoid pulling the cord. Incorrect handling can result in accidents or damage to the door.
  • 6. If There is Tension in the Spring System: Some garage doors are equipped with torsion spring systems that store a significant amount of tension. Pulling the manual release cord while these springs are under tension can cause the door to slam shut or spring open rapidly, posing a serious safety risk.

In summary, the manual release cord should be used judiciously and only when necessary, such as during a power outage or an emergency situation where you need to exit the garage. If you are unsure about whether to use the manual release cord or if your garage door is experiencing issues,  it’s advisable to consult a professional garage door technician who can assess the situation and provide guidance on the appropriate course of action to ensure safety and prevent further damage.