How to Connect Your Garage Door to Your Car

Dustin Hawley | Feb 15, 2021

One of the most convenient things that a homeowner can install in their house is a garage door opener. With just the press of a button, either in the car itself or on a remote control, you can open and close your garage door with ease, allowing you to quickly come and go.

connect garage door to car

But what do you do in the event that your remote or car control panel isn’t connected to your garage door opener? 

There are solutions to this conflict, and today, we will break down how to connect your garage door to your car remotely, discussing both control methods so you can get your garage door up and running.

How Does a Garage Door Communicate with Your Car?

The first thing that needs to be addressed is that there’s no such thing as a “general” garage door opener. In fact, there are hundreds of different garage door opener models and associated remotes. 

The majority of North American garage door openers are controlled from a central garage door opener unit consisting of a central computer or signal board, plus a few trolleys and ancillary components.

In layman’s terms, most garage door openers work when a remote, which can be either carried by hand or installed in your car, sends a radio signal to a receiver built into the garage door opener itself. Radio waves carry a signal between the two devices, which are set to a particular frequency. Common examples of frequencies used include 315 or 390 MHz. The similarity between openers’ chosen radio frequencies is why certain garage door openers can work for multiple units.

Once the radio receiver picks up the radio signal, it triggers the door to either open or close based on its current position.

So what happens when your remote doesn't engage your garage door opener? In most cases, it's because your radio signal is being interrupted in some way. The most common cause of this issue is that your remote simply needs a new battery. But in some instances, there may also be a problem with the garage door opener’s receiver. 

Regardless, there’s a high likelihood that your remote can and will become disconnected at some point in time. Fortunately, there is a simple and straightforward process that will likely fix this issue for you in a relatively quick manner.

How to Program Your Garage Door to Your Car

There are multiple ways you can program your garage door and connect it remotely to your car. Your approach depends on whether you’re using a remote or using a built-in control installed in your car. These units are often installed on the ceiling of your vehicle’s cabin or near the main control panel.

With a Remote

We have assembled a simple breakdown of how to program your garage door with a remote. Please note that alterations and differences may exist depending on the specific type of remote you have. Different remotes may have alternative programming processes. These directions apply to the more “universal” remotes on the market.

  • Start by looking for a “learn” button somewhere on your garage door opener (the actual machine the door is attached to in your garage). While the button may have a different name, it should be similar in nature and is usually near the antenna radio receiver.
  • Most of the major buttons, like “learn,” have LEDs next to them indicating when they are being pressed and/or receiving commands.
  • Once you locate the appropriate “learn” button, press and release it, which should put the control unit of your garage door opener into a programmable state. At this point, it will be open to new radio frequencies.
  • From here, take your garage door opener remote, which should have at least one or two buttons that can be pressed to open and close your garage door.
  • With this remote, push the button you want to use as your primary control for your garage door for a few seconds. In most cases, 5 to 10 seconds is usually a safe bet to ensure you have achieved the necessary duration of time.
  • Once the garage door opener’s control unit is no longer waiting for a programmable signal, the LED light should turn off.
  • Test your new program by using the remote control and attempting to open and close your garage door

Again, this process may need to adapted depending upon your remote and garage opener's specific programming requirements. If the above process proves to be unsuccessful for you, try to locate the user manual for your particular remote and garage door opener and follow the instructions located within. If you can’t find the manual on hand, do an online search to see if it’s available.

Without a Remote

The process for connecting your garage door opener to your car without a remote is pretty similar to the process noted above - but with a couple of subtle differences:

  • First, you’ll want to find the garage door opener control panel in your car. It can be located above the driver’s seat or somewhere near the rest of the vehicle’s primary control buttons in most car models.
  • As noted, your control panel likely has a few different buttons. One of them may be labeled “program” or something similar.
  • If your panel includes a “program” (or similar) button, push and hold it for a few seconds until a light flashes, or as otherwise directed by your car manual.
  • Once keyed, the remote should be ready to accept a new keycode command or automatically link to a garage door opener within its vicinity.
  • To ensure your opener connects to the correct garage door panel, make sure your car is parked in your garage.
  • In some instances, while performing the steps above, you may need to use the program button on the control box of your garage door opener as well, perhaps even simultaneously, for a connection to be established. Again, we suggest that you consult your car manual as well as the manual for your garage door opener for further information on additional programming procedures.
  • After programming a new keycode or linking the control panel to your garage door opener, allow the buttons to rest for a few seconds.
  • After a few seconds, test your program by using the remote button and attempting to open the garage.


All in all, connecting your garage door opener to your car can be a pretty quick and easy process once you know how to go about it. However, individual manufacturers may have proprietary programming instructions for their products, and therefore, you should always consult your user manuals as a first resort when taking on this venture. Luckily, most modern manufacturers make these components easy to program by default, allowing you to quickly reconnect your garage door opener to your car if the two ever become disconnected.

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