Troubleshooting: Locked Out Of Vault Garage Door


A vault garage is a garage that only has a single entrance and that's through the garage door. Imagine a cave dug into the side of a hill where you can only get in through the one opening. Vault garages are popular in condos and apartment complexes where price is an issue. Unfortunately because price is an issue these garages often don't have proper backups in place when there is a problem. Often landlords expect the tennants to fix the problem! The first step if you are renting is to contact the landlord. They may have an interest. He may be able to even fix it without calling in a professional.

Typical Causes

Typical causes are:

  1. The power is off and so the opener no longer works the door.
  2. The opener is malfunctioning.
  3. The springs broke.
  4. Hinges or cables have broken or snapped.
  5. Lost the transmitters.


Plan Ahead

The best solution is to plan ahead and test. All other "solutions" are much more expensive and time consuming. Proper solutions are putting a handle on the outside of the door so it can be lifted manually. The second part of the solution is installing an "Outside Trolley Release" as can be seen here. With this installed it's possible to open the garage door unless there is a problem with the door itself.

Creative Shenanigans To Disengage The Opener

When the door itself is not busted it's remotely possible to do the following:

  1. Sometimes the top of the door was never sealed properly and there is a gap. It may be possible to disengage the opener if you can get your arm in with a hook on a stick to then disengage the opener.
  2. Putting a hole into the door, where the future Outside Trolley Release will go, and then attempting with a small pole to hook and release the trolley.
  3. Breaking a window if it's possible. That's usually much cheaper than breaking the garage door.
  4. Pressing against one side of the bottom panel, potentially breaking it, and the squeezing in. This could be expensive.

Problem With The Door Itself

It's going to be expensive. See the last two steps from above. Expect to pay potentially much more than $300.

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