Most are sure to lock their doors and windows before a long vacation away from home, but what about the garage? The garage is one often-overlooked part of securing the home, but a thief can break into the garage in a matter of seconds if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Securing your garage door before a major trip involves a few different steps.

Hide the garage door opener.

First, be sure that you don’t leave your garage door opener in your vehicle if you are leaving it at home. Thieves can break into your car and gain access to the entire home this way. Instead, leave your garage door opener inside the home, and consider investing in a keychain-style garage door opener so that you don’t have to worry about an in-car garage door opener in the future.

Secure the safety release.

It’s also important to secure your garage door’s safety release mechanism, which allows you to open your garage if the automatic door opener malfunctions or if something gets trapped under the door. A thief can disengage the safety release from the outside in a matter of seconds using only a coat hanger, after which the thief can simply lift the garage door to enter your garage and home. The easiest way to secure your safety release is to use a zip-tie to lock the disengaging arm in place, making it so that a coat hanger from the outside is not enough to yank the disengaging arm down.

Cover the windows.

On a similar note, thieves can use garage door windows to their advantage when they are attempting to break into a garage by means disengaging the safety release. Consider covering these windows from the inside as an added precaution.

Padlock the throw latch.

Many doors also have a latch next to the garage door on the inside wall of your garage. Slide the latch over and put a padlock through it to prevent your garage door from being opened. If your garage door does not have this type of a latch, you can also use C-clamps on both sides of the door from the inside to help lock the door in place.

Secure the door into your home.

With these security measures, protecting the door that leads from the garage into your home should not be as much of an issue, but it is still a good idea to secure this door just in case. Be sure that you keep it locked, and if possible, consider installing a padlock to make this door more secure.