Do-It-Yourself Garage Door Maintenance & Safety Guide

Garage door maintenance isn't for the inexperienced, but there are a few ways that you can inspect your garage door at home when you're experiencing an issue so you can ensure that it's in working order. Before you attempt any do-it-yourself maintenance or inspections, however, read up on these smart tips for evaluating your garage door.

  1. Complete a visual inspection. First, give your garage door and all of its components a look-over once a month or so. Check the springs, hinges, cables and rollers to make sure that nothing looks like it's worn out or broken, but be sure that you don't remove or detach any of these essential components. It helps if you know exactly what these pieces look like when they're in proper working condition, so try to familiarize yourself with the appearance of your garage door components.

    Learn how to care for your rollers with the garage door roller FAQ guide.

  2. Give it a balance test. Next, give your garage door a balance test. An unbalanced door is a safety hazard that could potentially cause it to fall. Begin this by closing the garage door and detaching it from the garage door opener. Next, open and close the door by hand; when you do this, it should move easily without any interference. Finally, lift the door half way and let it drop - a balanced door will stay in one place or only move slightly, while an unbalanced door will quickly fall to the ground.
  3. Try the Reverse Mechanism Test. This test checks for a reverse mechanism, which is a piece required in all garage doors made after 1993. The reverse mechanism is a part of the door that prevents people or pets from being trapped under the door. Once a month, you should place an inanimate object under the door and attempt to close it. The garage door should automatically reverse when it begins to be exposed to the object. If it doesn't, you may need to replace your reverse mechanism or your entire system immediately.
  4. Test the photo eye sensors. Federal law requires automatic garage door openers manufactured after January 1, 1993, to be equipped with photo eye safety beam sensors in addition to a reverse mechanism. The photo eye safety beams are an additional layer of protection that prevents trapping and injury by automatically reversing the door when an obstruction breaks the beam between the photo eyes sensors. The photo eye test should be performed once each month to ensure the safety of your automatic garage door opener system. If your photo eyes fail the test below, additional troubleshooting may be required or you may need to replace your photo eyes. To test the photo eye mechanism, use an object such as a stick to break the beam between the photo eye sensors as the door is closing. The door should automatically reverse. If the door does not automatically reverse, it may be time to replace your photo beams.