Is Your Garage Door Working Safely?

When your garage door and opener were installed, some safety features were put in to make sure that people and property would be safe should a failure occur. You can easily check that these features are still working properly. It's a good idea to inspect and test the following safety features periodically so you and your family remain safe.

Garage Door Spring Safety Cable

High tension springs are used to counterbalance the heavy garage door so you or a small electric motor can raise and lower it. If a spring should break or become disconnected, it could fly across the garage and do serious damage to a person or car. A safety cable is installed with the spring to prevent it from getting loose in the garage. Check that these cables are there and intact.

  1. Locate the braided steel safety cable running through the middle of each spring.
  2. Check that one end is securely in place on a bracket on the ceiling.
  3. Check that the other end is secure on a spot next to the garage door.
  4. Check that the cable is not frayed, twisted or bent.
  5. If you see anything unusual in the cable itself or its connections, have a garage door service company replace it.

Do not attempt to work on the safety cable or springs yourself. The high tension on these springs make them dangerous to work with unless you have the proper tools and training.

Motion Sensor

Motion sensors are installed to detect anything in the path of the door going down. Should something cross its path, the garage door should stop immediately and reverse. You can easily test these sensors.

  1. Locate the two sensors near the floor on either side of the garage door opening.
  2. Open the garage door.
  3. Find a small ball or other object that rolls easily.
  4. Close the garage door.
  5. While the door is closing, roll the object through the garage door opening between the two sensors. This should break the infrared beam extending between the sensors. The garage door should stop and reverse.
  6. If it doesn't, check the following areas:
    • Make sure the two sensors are pointed at each other.
    • Check that the wiring is connected securely to the back of the sensors.
    • Follow the wiring to the back of the garage door opener and make sure they are connected securely there.
  7. If you find any problems with the wiring or position of the sensors, correct them and test the door again.
  8. If the door continues to fail to stop and reverse, call a service company for help.

Pressure Sensor

The garage door motor has a pressure sensor built inside to detect any resistance to the garage door going down. If the door encounters anything restricting it from moving, it should stop and reverse. This is also an easy safety device to test.

  1. Open the garage door.
  2. Place a chair in the path of the door lowering with the legs on either side of the motion sensor beam so it doesn't trip that safety feature.
  3. Close the garage door.
  4. If the door doesn't stop immediately and reverse, open the garage door and adjust the pressure sensor on the motor.
  5. Find the adjustment on the back of the garage door opener motor that says "Pressure".
  6. Move it in the direction that indicates "Less Pressure".
  7. Test the garage door again.
  8. If the door still doesn't stop and reverse, have a garage door specialist look at it.

Since the sensor is built into the motor, the entire motor may need to be replaced if the sensor doesn't respond properly.