What Should I Do When Someone Steals My Remote?

Did you know that one of the most prominent means of breaking into a house nowadays is by stealing someone’s garage door remote and entering through the garage?

Imagine approaching your car only to notice that the remote is no longer clipped to your visor or located where you typically keep it. You search around for a moment to no avail. Someone has stolen your garage door remote. This may seem insignificant until you remember that the registration papers for your car (usually conveniently stored in the glovebox) contain your home address.

As of 2016, approximately 88% of all burglaries in the United States are residential and 77% of all crimes are property-based crimes. Identity theft is indisputably the most rapidly growing crime throughout America and you do not intend to become an addition to this statistic because someone stole your garage door remote.

So how does one fix this issue or prevent it from ever occurring again?

Lost Your Garage Door Remote Control? Start by Retracing Your Steps

It’s easy to get bent out of shape over a missing garage door remote. First, remember to take a deep breath and retrace your steps. It’s possible that someone in your household borrowed your device if a backup ran out of battery power.

Think about the last time you had your garage door remote control. You may have left this device on a counter or table, in your car’s glove compartment, or in your purse or backpack. Be sure to check between the seats in your vehicle or even along the floor. Garage door openers are usually compact and can easily slide between surfaces.

When to Reset a Garage Door Opener

The key to maintaining home security is to act immediately when you notice your device is gone. If you’re positive that someone stole your opener, take action as soon as possible. Resetting a garage door system is as simple as pressing a button, so take this step first before purchasing a brand new remote.

How to Deprogram a Garage Door Opener Remote

Every garage door remote works in the same manner: a signal is sent to a receiver in the housing unit of the opener. If your opener was manufactured after 1993, then the remote will most likely use a rolling code, meaning the transmission code changes with every use.

If you are certain that your garage door opener has been stolen, you should consider deprogramming the remote so the potential burglar is not capable of stealing your precious possessions.

You can erase your automatic opener’s memory with the following steps:

  1. Go to your mounted opener hanging in the garage.
  2. Remove any access panels to see control buttons.
  3. Hold the “SMART” button for several seconds until you see a flashing light.
  4. Blinking lights indicate your system’s memory is clear.
  5. Confirm the erased memory by testing with another remote or keyless entry unit.

Temporarily Disabling a Garage Door Remote

Another method of ensuring your possessions stay safe is to lock the opener.

If you have a control panel, it will have a “LOCK” button which will disable the opener from being used without deprogramming any of the remotes. You may still use the control panel itself to open and close the door. This option is perfect if you leave your opener at work or in someone else’s vehicle.

If you do not have a control panel, then simply unplugging your garage door opener until you’ve resolved the issue will suffice.

In order to continue using the door, you will need to pull the emergency release cord (which will typically have a red handle). This allows you to manually operate the door.

Note that unplugging your garage door opener will not reset the unit’s memory.

How Can I Link My Replacement Opener?

Can’t find your automatic opener manual? Fortunately, most manufacturers upload product-specific guides and troubleshooting documents online, usually free of charge.

If your garage door opener has physical buttons or an LED display, search for an option that says “LEARN.” Take a look at the following steps to pair your replacement device or spare remote:

  1. Press the “LEARN” button on your opener and release it.
  2. Check for blinking LED lights or audible sounds coming from the mounted opener.
  3. Press and hold the open button on your remote device.
  4. Pay attention to flashing lights indicating your opener is linked.
  5. Repeat these steps for each new remote.

Garage door openers from LiftMaster follow this process, but keep in mind that other garage door openers may be slightly different.

Also, please note that linking a replacement opener may only work if you purchase the same remote. Your best bet is to take your old remote with you to the store so you can compare. Another option is to purchase a universal remote, which comes with an instruction manual. However, a universal remote isn’t compatible with every opener.

Security Tips If Your Garage Door Opener Was Stolen

To prevent future theft and/or burglars from accessing your garage, you can install extra locks and security features to monitor the activity of your opener. Consider the following preventive measures to increase security:

  • Install cameras and alarms: If a thief returns to the scene of the crime, you can record footage in real-time as well as monitor your garage via your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • Set up motion detection lights: Motion detection lights are excellent ways to scare off thieves and unwanted visitors. Configure your sensors so you have a clear view of cars and people approaching your property.
  • Minimize use of digital codes: Garage door codes are convenient for entry, but thieves have a fair shot at guessing your pin number. Reset these devices from time to time, and limit the number of remote openers linked to your system.

Contact Madison Local Garage Door Pros for Repairs and Installations

Need assistance with your garage door in Madison, WI, or the surrounding area? Our team has over 10 years of industry experience with garage door repairs, installations, and openers. To learn more about increasing the security of your garage, contact us online to request a service visit.