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How to Program Your Car Home Link to Your Garage

Posted by Anthony Rutt at April 20, 2021

You may have seen new vehicle with the technology to open garage doors already installed. However, you have to program that technology first, so you can use it on your garage door opener or gate for that matter. You might hire the services of a garage door repair company to do the job, but it is possible to do it yourself and save considerable time and effort when it comes to opening your garage door without having to use a special remote.

Why Remotes are Problematic

Having a remote device in your vehicle may be handy, but it also presents issues if you are not careful with its use.

  • Batteries Dry Out
  • Remote Gets Lost
  • Intruders Use Remote

While keeping a fresh set of batteries is commonplace, it can be pretty easy to lose your garage door remote even when kept in the vehicle. However, the worst danger is the presence of the remote signals to potential intruders a way inside your home. They can break into your vehicle and gain access through the garage or use another device that mimics the functions of the remote. Being able to use the car’s own systems to operate the garage door reduces the chances of having your home broken into by thieves looking for an easy way in.

The following instructions are for those who have vehicles with programmable remotes built-in. The remote operator for your vehicle is almost always found on bottom front of the rear-view mirror. You can use your vehicle’s manual or start with the instructions as follows.

Older Garage Door Openers

The first step programming car to garage is to clear the memory of the car so that any past programming settings are gone. If you’ve purchased the vehicle used, this is an essential step. You should be able to erase all previous programming from your vehicle by finding the three Home Link buttons. Press #1 and #3 and hold for at least 20 seconds. You should see the LED light blink which indicates that the memory has been erased.

The next step is to program your vehicle’s remote with the portable garage door remote close by. Start with the garage door closed and your vehicle facing the door in the driveway. You’ll want to press and hold the open/close button on the remote while at the same time you need to press and hold the appropriate button located on the rear-view mirror. After five seconds or so, the LED light in the rear-view mirror should flash which indicates success. Now you can use that button to operate your garage door opener.

If you are not successful, try putting some distance between your garage remote and the rear-view mirror. Go a few inches at a time until it works. If it is still not working, you may need to change the batteries in your remote or ensure that your car’s electronics are on and operational. Keep the manual for your vehicle and the garage door opener handy.

New Garage Door Openers

If your garage door opener is fairly new, you will need to add a step to ensure that your vehicle will be able to open the garage door. This is because newer garage doors will vary the code requirements for entry which is designed to dissuade thieves from using older remotes to open the garage door. Called Rolling Code Remotes or Programming Alternative Code Remotes, you should check your garage door opener to see if it has this feature.

SMART Button: On the back of the motor that operates your garage door should be a button labelled “SMART”. This should be easy to find, although sometimes it’s labelled as “LEARN”. While some openers may vary in their instructions, generally speaking there is a simple way to program your vehicle’s remote into the motor.

WARNING: If the LEARN button is yellow, vehicles manufactured before 2013 may not work in operating the motor.

The first step is to clear the Home Link of any pre-existing codes, so you’ll need to hold down buttons #1 and #3 for at least 20 seconds until the LED light blinks in rapid order. This indicates that the memory is no longer storing any codes.

Get a Friend: This is a little wonky, but to program your vehicle’s remote you’ll need at least two people for the job. One person will need to sit inside the vehicle which should be in the driveway facing the garage door. They will be pressing the open/close button on your garage door remote and at the same time pressing and holding the button on your rear-view mirror that you want to use to operate the garage door. After about five seconds, the LED light on the Home Link in the rear-view mirror should blink which indicates that the programming has worked.

Now, the person who is behind the motor unit of the garage door should see an LED light blinking. In most cases, this will be on the motor itself. When that happens, press and hold the SMART or LEARN button and the LED should remain a solid light during that time. Now here is the tricky part, the person on the motor who is holding the SMART or LEARN button tells the person in the vehicle to press and release the Home Link button which has been programmed to operate the motor for about three seconds, then release and repeat from two to four times until the programming is successful.

What to Do if the Programming Does Not Work

Before calling a garage door repair company that can do the programming for you, there are a few things to try first.

Reset Home Link: Try holding buttons #1 and #3 at the same time until the LED light blinks quickly.

Open/Close Button: Press and hold open/close on remote and button on Home Link simultaneously. Once the LED blinks quickly on Home Link, press and hold the SMART or LEARN button on opener motor. At the same time, press and hold Home Link button for three seconds, then release. Try again until you get an indication that it worked.

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