Universal garage remote only works with setup

An ad in today's paper advertises a '13 Dodge Dart Limited with Universal Garage Door Opener. What does that mean? Can anyone with this car drive by my garage and the universal opener will open my garage? How can this possibly be safe?

— Nancy F., via email

While a universal garage-door remote can be used to work with most major brands of garage door openers, it still requires programming and setup for it to be used successfully in your home.

Garage-door openers work off of digital codes that are transmitted between the remote and the garage, changing each time the garage door is opened and leading to billions of potential code combinations.

According to Popular Mechanics, even if one of these codes is discovered by a hacker using a scanning system, the code will never be used again, making a break-in nearly impossible.

A universal opener is simply an alternative to using a remote that is specifically the same brand as your garage-door opener. Anyone with a universal remote would have the potential to connect with your home, but without the other programming information, such as specific brand coding that would come with a manual in packaging, the person would be unable to actually connect.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.

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