What to Do If You’ve Lost Your Garage Door Opener Remote

Imagine this: you reach into your bag or glove compartment, expecting your fingers to find your garage door opener remote…and it’s not there. 

If you’ve lost your garage door opener remote, it’s more than just inconvenient. It’s a gaping hole in your home’s security and a disruption to your daily routine. 

Whether it was a theft, misplacement, or you lent it to your neighbor for a quick favor, you’re now trying to figure out what to do next. 

Don’t worry.

We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the steps you should take right after your garage door opener remote goes missing.

You’ll learn how to erase the lost remote from memory and reset the opener’s code for security, manually open your garage door so you can still get in and out. Finally, you’ll learn how to replace the remote or consider upgrading to a newer, possibly more secure, model.

Our goal is to give you everything you need to do immediately after you lost your garage door opener remote.

Let’s dive in!

Garage door opener remotes from LiftMaster, Genie, and Chamberlain

Erase The Remote from Memory And Reset The Opener’s Code

If you lost your house keys, you would immediately change all your locks. It’s the same if you’ve lost your garage door opener remote. 

The first step is erasing your lost remote from your garage door opener’s memory. This ensures that when you’ve lost your garage door opener remote, the person who finds it can’t open your garage and get inside your home.

This step becomes even more critical when you’ve recently purchased a new home, gone through a divorce, experienced a tenant turnover, had your remote stolen, or suffered a garage burglary. 

You may not immediately think about it, but resetting the opener’s code isn’t just a good idea. It’s a security necessity.

First, you need to know your garage door opener’s brand and model, which you can typically find on the side of your garage door opener. 

The most popular garage door opener brands are Genie, Chamberlain, and LiftMaster. We’ll cover each below because the steps you’ll take to reset them differ slightly.

Genie garage door companies

How to Clear Your Genie Garage Door Opener Memory

Genie garage door openers have changed over the years and the way you clear the memory depends on when your unit was manufactured.

Older models (pre-1995) can hold up to seven wireless devices. If you program a new device, it will simply overwrite the oldest programmed device.

When you’ve lost your garage door opener remote, clearing the memory from the opener will remove all programmed remotes, wireless keypads, and vehicle transmitters. It will not delete the Aladdin Connect and Wireless Wall Console.

Here is how to clear the memory for your Genie opener, depending on its manufacturing date:

Newer Models

  1. Press and hold the Program button until the round LED turns blue.
  2. Press and hold the Up(+) and Down (-) buttons simultaneously until both LEDs turn solid blue.
  3. Test the remotes and keypads to ensure they do not operate the garage door opener.

Models Manufactured Between 1995 and 2011

  1. Press and hold the Learn Code Button until the LED stops blinking.
  2. The Learn Code Button is usually on the opener module or under the light cover.
  3. Test the remotes and keypads to ensure they do not operate the garage door opener.

After clearing the memory, reprogram any remaining remotes and keypads. You’ll also need to reprogram vehicles with HomeLink or Car2U capabilities. 

For detailed instructions on how to reprogram, visit Genie Company’s guide.

How to Clear Your Chamberlain/LiftMaster Garage Door Opener Memory

LiftMaster and Chamberlain garage door openers are made by the same company. They give you two ways to clear your remote’s memory when you’ve lost your garage door opener remote.

Here’s how to do it:

Using the LEARN Button on the Garage Door Opener

  1. Locate the LEARN button on the garage door opener. It can be red, orange, green, purple, or yellow.
  2. Press and hold the LEARN button until the LED turns off (approximately 6 seconds).
  3. All previous codes are now erased.

Using the LEARN Button on the MyQ Control Panel

  1. Locate the LEARN button on the MyQ Control Panel. It can be yellow or purple.
  2. Press and hold the LEARN button until the LED next to it goes out (approximately 6 seconds).
  3. All previous codes are now erased.

Remember, after erasing the memory, you must reprogram each remote control and keypad you wish to use. 

For instructions on reprogramming, visit LiftMaster’s guide.

If you need additional support, visit Chamberlain’s guide on erasing a remote or contact LiftMaster Customer Support.

Taking these steps when you’ve lost your garage door opener remote is a simple, effective way to safeguard your home. 

How to Open The Garage Door Manually

After taking care of the immediate security risk, your next priority is being able to open your garage door manually. 

It’s not as convenient as clicking a button, but it will get you in and out of your garage when needed. 

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to help you understand the process.

Please note: Manually opening your garage door should be done carefully and safely. Make sure the door is fully closed before you start. If the door is open or partially open when you disconnect the opener mechanism, it could come crashing down, causing injury or damage. Always use a sturdy ladder to reach the door mechanism and lift the door carefully. Double-check that it remains open before stepping away.

If you've lost your garage door opener remote, you'll need to manually open your garage door with the emergency cable

Step-by-Step Manual Garage Door Opening

Step 1: Locate the emergency release cord. This cord, typically red, hangs down from the center rail of the garage door mechanism and has a red handle on the end.

Step 2: Pull the emergency cord down and away from the door to disengage the garage door opener. You will likely hear a click when the door disconnects from the opener.

Step 3: Lift the garage door straight up until the door is fully open. Make sure it stays open before moving your vehicle or walking under the door.

Locking Your Garage Door Manually

After manually opening and closing your garage door, you might wonder how to lock it. Most garage doors have a manual locking mechanism, usually a lock bar that slides into a track.

Here’s how to secure it:

Step 1: Close the garage door manually by bringing it down gently.

Step 2: Locate the lock bar. It’s typically on the inside of the garage door on one or both sides.

Step 3: Slide the lock bar into the track. This will secure the door and prevent it from being opened from the outside.

Step 4: Test the door to ensure it’s locked. Try to lift the door. If it doesn’t open, it’s locked.

Keep in mind that manual operation should be temporary. Over time, manually operating your door can stress the door and cause wear and tear on the springs and other parts.

Next Steps After You’ve Lost Your Garage Door Opener Remote

There are two options after you’ve lost your garage door opener remote: buy a replacement remote or upgrade to a new garage door opener.

Here’s a comparison of each option to help you decide:

Order a Replacement Remote from the Same Manufacturer

One approach is simply replacing your lost remote with a new one from the same manufacturer.

Pros: This remote will be compatible with your existing garage door opener system. It will work seamlessly, like your old one. It’s easy to program since it’s designed to work specifically with your system.

Cons: This option may be pricier than a universal remote, and shipping can take a while, especially for older models. You might also miss out on advanced features or improved safety in newer models or universal remotes.

Buy a Universal Remote

A universal remote may be the right choice if you’re looking for a quick, convenient solution.

Pros: Universal remotes are easy to find in stores or online. They’re usually affordable, and programming them to work with your existing opener is generally straightforward.

Cons: While universal remotes are designed to work with a wide range of brands and models, they may not be compatible with some very old or brand-new systems.

Upgrade to a Newer Model Garage Door Opener

If you’re ready for a change, consider replacing your garage door opener system with a newer model.

Pros: Newer garage door openers have better security and safety features. They offer more security, greater convenience, and increased customizability. Plus, they are more likely to be compatible with smart home devices.

Cons: This option will likely be the most expensive. It might also require professional installation or modification to your existing system.

Newer garage door opener models often have features like automatic safety reversal, which makes the door reverse if it hits an object on the way down. Many include a keypad entry system for added security, a battery backup system for power outages, and wireless smart home features that let you control and monitor your garage door from your smartphone.

While replacing your remote is a good option, upgrading to a newer garage door opener model can offer enhanced features and improved safety.

You can't open your garage door if you've lost your garage door opener remote

Wrapping It Up: What To Do If You’ve Lost Your Garage Door Opener Remote

If you’ve lost your garage door opener remote, it can be inconvenient, but it’s not the end of the world.

We’ve learned why it’s critical to promptly erase the remote from memory and reset the opener’s code. This crucial step keeps your garage and home secure from unauthorized access.

We’ve also figured out how to manually open the garage door to keep you from being stranded.

Finally, we’ve explored options for replacing the remote or upgrading to a newer garage door opener.

Photo of author

Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including BobVila.com, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.