Proper Maintenance for Garage Door Openers: Easier Than You Think

You want your home to be safe from top to bottom, inside and out. This means that you can’t forget about your garage and garage door. Having a nice garage can be handy for storage, to have an extra room, or to store your vehicles, of course.

A picture of 2 single garage doors in Classic CC design, 9' x 7', Ice White color, 4 lite Orion windows

These garage doors are our Classic CC design, seen here sized for one car. The Ice White color and 4 lite Orion windows give them a truly classic, traditional appearance.

Perhaps you’ve been using the garage for storage and have finally gotten around to cleaning it out after years. You might have caught Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and decided that you would use the KonMari Method to get rid of everything that didn’t bring you joy. Now, you have more space… as long as the garage door opener is safe to use and working properly.

But Is the Garage Door Opener Safe?

Picture of warning sign

Maybe you haven’t used the opener in a while. Maybe you aren’t sure whether it’s working properly or not. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out the blog below. It can help you keep your opener in shape and know when to get some help if it doesn’t.

Step 1 > The Age of Your Garage Door Opener Makes a Difference

An example of a garage door label and where it can be found on different garage door opener models

The image here features the main models from LiftMaster. This picture shows you where to find the sticker locations on each of the models, and where you can find the manufacturing date.

Garage door openers have stickers on them that include a range of information that you will need. This includes the model number and the serial number. It will also include the year it was manufactured. Why does the year matter? It could end up making all the difference in the world.

Those who have Chamberlain models that are not LiftMaster can check this FAQ to learn more. Now, let’s look at why the dates are so important

1993 and Earlier

These are openers that are from the “ancient era”, and you should make it a point to replace them as soon as possible. A garage door opener from ’93 and earlier can be dangerous.

It was only since ’93 that garage door openers made in the US and Canada were required to have 2 reversal safety systems.

The first one is a mechanical system, so when the motor touches an object when it’s descending, it will detect resistance and reverse.

The second safety system is the photoelectric eye. These systems have 2 units—a receiver and an emitter. The emitter shoots out an infrared beam to the receiver, creating a steady beam. When something contacts and breaks that beam, it signals the opener that it has to stop and reverse rather than close.

You should take some time to better understand photocell safety beams. You can also check out the urban legend about planes opening garage doors. You might find that you need an upgraded garage door opener more urgently than you imagine.

2012 and Earlier

Even if you have a garage door made after 1993, it doesn’t mean that you are out of the woods quite yet. You still might need something newer. In 2012, Chamberlain started to use Security+2.0. This introduced rolling code technology.

In the past, people would drive around with garage remotes and click the buttons, checking to see if any of the doors would open. Sometimes, they would, which could provide thieves with easy access to what’s inside of the garage and sometimes, the home.

The rolling code tech changes up the codes after each use, which helps to keep the garage and home safer.

The Security+2.0 label

Be sure to look for this label.

You’ll find more than 100 billion potential codes, which means thieves can't use the codes to get into your garage. Because they change after each use, it also means that thieves won’t be able to steal a code to use later. This technology is one of the best things to look for when you want to improve your security.

By now, you should have a better idea of what you need your garage door to have available to keep you safer from thieves and injuries. It’s time that you knew how to give the door a test to ensure it’s working properly.

Step 2 > Checking the Mechanical Safety System

This is a fast and easy test, and you’ll see right away whether it is working or not.

● Get something relatively small, such as a 2x4, and place it on the door’s threshold.

● Close the door using your remote.

● If it’s working properly, the door will reverse when it hits the board. If it doesn’t, you have a serious safety issue on your hands. If that happens, you must contact your local garage door and opener specialist for a repair or replacement.

Step 3 > Checking the Photoelectric Safety Reverse System

A picture showing where is the photoelectric safety reverse system on your garage door and what it does

Make sure the photo-eye system is placed evenly on the sides of the door so the beam can connect.

Remember, there are now 2 types of safety features in garage door openers manufactured after 1993. Checking this feature is just as easy as the mechanical feature. You need to be sure that the door will stop and reverse when something breaks the infrared beam.

● You can place an object beneath the door so that it breaks the beam. Use something large enough that it can break the beam.

● Use the remote to close the door.

● If the beam is broken, the door should not move and attempt to close. If it does activate and try to close, you will want to talk with a professional.

● If the door won’t close when nothing is breaking the beam, check to see that the two units are set up properly and that the beam is connecting between them. If not, adjust them and try again. You can also talk with a professional to have them set it up correctly.

Step 4 > Maintain the Wall Control Panel

A picture of garage door opener wall control panel

Your wall control panel may be right on the wall near the garage. Other times, it might be near an access door in the garage that leads to the house.

● Press the open and close button to see that they are both working.

● Check to make sure the LIGHT button is functioning correctly.

Step 5 > Garage Door Opener Remotes and Keypad: Are They Working?

● If you haven’t changed the batteries in a while, it might be time that you did. When you press a button, a LED light should come on. If it doesn’t, your batteries may have to be replaced.

● If the new batteries don’t do the trick, reprogramming might be in order. Check out how to program many LiftMaster accessories.

● Maybe reprogramming doesn’t work either. Perhaps you need to have a new remote for a second driver. Here, you can get a better understanding of remote controls, 3-button mini remotes, and universal remote compatibility.

● There should be an antenna wire that comes out from the opener’s bottom. If it’s bent upwards or cut, the range on the remote will be reduced. You might need a new one.

Step 6 > Examine the Release Rope and Handle to Ensure They Are Working

A picture of an installer a garage door opener emergency release rope and handle

Along your garage opener’s rail, you will likely see a rope that hands down and is within easy reach.

The manual release handle and rope should be located near the door when it’s closed. To see that it is working properly, you will want to pull the emergency release cord. When you do, it will disable the trolley operator, so you can then use the lifting handle on the door to lift it open.

If you find that you can’t open up your garage door with just one hand, it could mean that it’s not well-balanced. If you run into this issue, it means there is a problem with the garage door springs, and it should be checked out by a professional. Trying to use the door could be dangerous, so let everyone know that they shouldn’t use it until it has been fixed.

Call out the professionals to check out the door and so that it can undergo maintenance.

Keep in mind that the springs in your garage door have the potential to be very dangerous. They are under a lot of tension. If something happens to them, it could cause serious injury. They are the parts that are responsible for opening and closing the door.

Step 7 > Simple to Perform Maintenance of the Trolley and the Rail

If you’ve made it to this point, you’re almost done with the checkup and maintenance that you can do on your own. Now, you need to do a bit of cleaning and upkeep. Fortunately, it’s easy.

A picture of an installer checking if the  garage door opener trolley slides well on the rail

In the image here, you can see the installer looking at the opener and trolley to ensure it is sliding properly along the rail.

● You want to check to see that your opener trolley can slide easily along the opener rail. Look at it when you open and close the door. If there are any areas where it stops or stutters, that’s where the problem might be.

● Get onto a ladder and safely remove debris and gunk on the opener rail using a dry, clean cloth.

● You can then lubricate the rail, but make sure you are using the proper lubricant.

● Since you already have the cloth, ladder, and lubricant, you can go a step further. Clean and maintain other parts of the door, such as the tracks, hinges, and springs.

This is simple maintenance, but it’s important you don’t forget it. You should perform it about 2 times a year to ensure your garage door opener is not a safety hazard.

You Always Have the Option of Working with a Garage Door Opener Specialist

A picture of a garage with 2 single garage doors in Prestige XL design, 9' x 8' size, Moka Brown color, with Cachet windows

How do you feel about this Prestige XL design? It might be the perfect choice for your home. It is seen here in 9'x8', Moka Brown color, and with Cachet windows.

Give us a call at 905-642-6606.

We are standing by and are ready to help with maintenance, repair, or installation. Whatever you need, our professionals can provide it.

Do you think you need a new garage door opener or a new garage door?

At First Choice Overhead Doors, our professionals are ready to help you find the right solution for your needs and budget. Get in touch and we can figure out the best option for you. You will find great services, products, and options.

Maybe you already know what you want.

We can provide you with a quotation by email.

Find the Best Solution by Getting Inspired

Check out the images in our residential photo gallery. You can find some great styles and colors that can work with just about any property. The Design Centre app is a fun way to see what a door would look like when it’s placed on your garage.

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