Keep Your Garage Door Safe by Checking on These Three Safety Devices

Posted on: 31 August 2015


The mechanism that opens and closes your garage door is a complex series of cables, pulleys, and springs carefully balanced. It allows you to easily open and close a heavy door manually or with a small electric motor. Three safety devices prevent you and your family from being injured should the system fail. Periodically check these safety mechanisms to make sure they are working correctly and your family stays safe.

High Tension Spring Safety Cable

The springs on your garage door are under a lot of tension. They counterbalance the weight of the door so you can lift the heavy door to open it. Should one of these springs break, they could fly across the garage and cause someone or something serious damage. A safety cable should be installed to contain the spring should it break or become disconnected. Here's how to check it:

  1. Look for the springs that run parallel to the ceiling.
  2. Find the braided steel cable running through the springs.
  3. Check that one end is secured to a bracket on the ceiling and the other to a bracket near the top front of the garage door.
  4. Make sure these brackets are not bent or twisted.
  5. If the cable is connected to the brackets by S-hooks, look for signs of the hooks straightening out.
  6. Check that there are no frayed or kinked areas in the braided cable.
  7. If you see any signs of problems with this safety cable or connectors, contact a garage door repair company to replace those components.

Garage Door Motion Sensor

As the garage door goes down, if it encounters something moving in its path, the door should stop immediately and reverse. This keeps the door from coming down if you hit the remote control button before you get the car out of the garage. It also prevents the door from closing if one of your children should ride across its path as it comes down. Here's how to check it:

  1. Find the two infrared sensors positioned at the bottom of the garage door on either side.
  2. Open the garage door then hit the garage door button to close it.
  3. Roll a ball or other object across the path of the infrared sensors.
  4. The door should immediately stop and reverse.
  5. If the door doesn't stop and reverse, check that the wiring is connected to both devices and runs up to the garage door opener motor.
  6. Make sure the devices are pointed at each other to create the safety beam.
  7. If you find a problem with the wiring or can't get the sensors to work, have a garage door specialist inspect and repair the sensors.

Garage Door Pressure Sensor

This last safety device prevents the garage door from closing when it encounters an obstacle. This could happen if the garage door becomes jammed in the metal track and can't move. It is also another precaution should something be in the path of the door but doesn't break the infrared sensor beam. Here's how to check it:

  1. Open the garage door fully.
  2. Place an item, such as a chair or a child's tricycle, at the base of the garage door so that it straddles but does not block the infrared beam.
  3. Close the garage door.
  4. When the door touches the item, it should stop immediately and reverse.
  5. If the door continues to move down slightly after touching the object, find the screw controlling the pressure sensor on the back of the garage door motor.
  6. Look for the arrows telling you which direction to turn the screw to adjust for more or less pressure.
  7. Turn the screw in the direction of less pressure and try the door test again.
  8. If the door still fails to stop and reverse as soon as it touches the object, have a repair service look at the door and sensor.

These three safety mechanisms prevent you and your family from being hurt by the heavy garage door. Make sure each is component is doing its job by periodically inspecting them and calling for help at the sign of any problems. For assistance, talk to a garage door repair professional.