How to Maintain Your Automatic Garage Door Opener to Make Sure It Is Safe?

You’ve just bought a new home. Well. It’s new to you but it was built a few years ago. Or perhaps even decades. Your hubbie is sooo glad because it has a really nice garage with an electric garage door opener. Oh joy! Oh happiness! Everything he was dreaming of for his own get-away-from-it-all space!

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

What a great 2-door garage! If you’re thinking of replacing your garage doors and like the timeless beauty of Traditional look, these garage doors are Classic CC, in 1-car size, Ice White colour, and with 4 lite Orion windows

Or maybe you’ve been living in the same house for a while, but the garage was cluttered with so much stuff you couldn’t even park your car there anymore, even though you had everything there is to do so easily – automatic garage door opener, remote controls, keypad... BUT you binge watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and you used the KonMari Method to clean your garage. So, Oh Joy! Oh Happiness! You can now use your garage to park both of your cars!


Picture of warning sign

If you haven’t used your electric garage door opener for a while or if you bought a house with a used one, here is a blog that could literally save your life – or at least make sure your opener will work properly for a longer period of time.

Step 1 > Find out what year your door opener was made

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

Here are the main models of LiftMaster garage door openers with their sticker locations and the information you can find on it.

Your garage door opener should have a sticker with a lot of important information written on it like the model and serial numbers – those are really handy when you call your local garage door specialist.

By looking at the MFG Date, meaning manufacturing date, you will learn what year your garage door opener was made.

If your garage door opener is a Chamberlain, but not a LiftMaster model, this FAQ could help you.

Your Garage Door Opener Was Manufactured Before 1993?

Oh boy! Forget about maintenance and repair. It’s time to replace your garage door opener. Your family's safety is at stake.

Why is 1993 such an important date?

Since 1993, garage door openers made in the US and Canada must include 2 reversal systems designed to protect your life.

  • The 1st one is mechanical: if the bottom section of a descending door hits an object, the motor detects the resistance and the door reverses.
  • The 2nd is photoelectric: it consists of 2 units installed about 6 inches from the floor, on each side of the door. One unit emits an infrared beam, invisible to the naked eye. The other unit is a receiver. If something breaks the beam while the door is closing, the opener motor automatically stops and then reverses direction and opens the door.

Not convinced you need an upgrade yet? Learn more about photocell safety beams and learn which urban legend about planes opening garage doors has been proven to be true.

Your garage door was made waaaay after 1993. So, you thought you’d get away with it? The year 2012 has another milestone you should be aware of.

Since 2012, Chamberlain’s garage door openers have all had Security+2.0, a rolling code technology.

Indeed, Chamberlain and LiftMaster found out that some people were driving around nice neighborhoods trying out different garage door remotes on any garage door they saw. The goal was to open the garage door and burglarize the house.

So, this rolling code technology protects against intruders by generating a new security code every time the remote control is used on your garage door opener.

The Security+2.0 label

Want to make sure your garage door opener has rolling code technology? Look for the Security+2.0 label on your Chamberlain, LiftMaster or Craftsman garage door opener.

When the remote control activates the garage door opener, a unique algorithm "rolls" the remote control's code to one of more than 100 billion possible codes. The previously used code will be discarded, and the opener will only respond to the new code the next time the remote control is used. The same code will never be used more than once. Stolen codes are useless to intruders.

Now that you know your garage door opener has the proper features to protect you from injuries and from burglaries, it is time to start the real checkup.

Step 2 > Test Your Garage Door Opener Safety Reverse System

  • Lay a wooden 2×4 board flat on the threshold of the door.
  • Close the door with the remote.
  • The door must go back up when it hits the board. If not, it is a real safety hazard. You should contact your local garage door and opener specialist now so he or she can fix this.

Step 3 > Test Your Garage Door Opener Photoelectric Safety Reverse System

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

What to look for on your garage door when you want to check your photocell reverse system? 2 photo eyes installed on each side of your door no more than 6 inches from the floor.

How to check this safety feature?

  • The Goal: Your garage door must stop and go back up if you break the invisible beam with your foot or an opaque object while it’s closing.
  • However, we do not recommend using your foot or your dog, as feet are so practical and pets so charming. Use a big enough, old stuffed animal or your bike, especially if you don’t care if it gets smashed because you really want a new one.
  • Finally, try closing the door while breaking the beam. The door should not activate.

Step 4 > Check Your Garage Door Opener Wall Control Panel

A picture of garage door opener wall control panel

Where is your wall control panel? On the wall, often by the access door leading to the house or beside the garage door itself, at least 5’from the floor.

  • Check if the button for opening and closing works properly.
  • Check if the LIGHT button also works.

Step 5 > Verify Your Garage Door Opener Remotes & Keypad Work

  • Do you know when the last time was you or the former homeowner changed remotes and/or keypad batteries?
  • Perform this simple test to see if you should replace them: Most accessories have a LED light that comes ON when you press a button. If the LED does not light up or the remote doesn’t activate the door, your batteries may have to be replaced.
  • Did you replace the batteries and your remote still doesn’t work? You might need to reprogram it. Here’s how to program many LiftMaster accessories.
  • You’ve tried to reprogram your remote and it was of waste of time? Or maybe you need another one for your wife or hubbie? You’re not sure which one would work with your garage door opener? Learn more about remote controls, 3-button mini remotes, and universal remote compatibility.
  • Check the antenna: An antenna wire should stick out the bottom of your garage door opener. Make sure it is NOT cut or bent upwards, as it could affect your remote’s range.

Step 6 > Check Your Garage Door Emergency Release Rope & Handle

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

If your garage door opener is not from the Jurassic era, you should see a rope hanging down near the rail that runs from your opener to the door. Not the garage door tracks. The opener rail.

When your garage door is closed, this manual release handle and rope should be near the garage door.

How to check if it still works:

  • Pull the Emergency Release Cord

    The trolley is connected to your garage door AND to your garage door opener motor. It moves when you open / close your garage door electrically. Pulling the emergency cord will disable the trolley operator which usually moves your garage door.

  • Locate the lifting handle on your garage door & lift it

    Use the manual lifting handle on your garage door. Most of the time, it’s installed on the bottom panel, or sometimes on one above that.

If your garage door spring system is well‑balanced, it will be easy to lift your garage door with only 1 hand.

If the door seems heavy and hard to lift, STOP IMMEDIATELY.

Carefully close the garage door, get away from it, and make sure nobody goes into the garage until you have your door checked, repaired or undergo maintenance.

Garage door springs are under extreme tension and if one of them is almost broken or malfunctioning, you could get seriously injured.

Many people think that garage door openers lift their garage doors up. They do not. Your garage door springs are doing the real work of lifting the door.

Step 7 > Do Maintenance on Your Garage Door Opener Trolley and Rail

Checking your emergency release cord went well and you’re still here to talk about it? Great! You’re almost done!

Time to do a little bit of maintenance!

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

The installer is checking if the garage door opener trolley slides well on the rail

  • Make sure the garage door opener trolley slides well all along the opener rail
  • Using a clean dry cloth, remove any debris and dust all along the opener rail
  • Lubricate your opener rail with a petroleum-based lubricant
  • Great Tip: Since you already have your stepladder, your cleaning cloth, and your metal lubricant in hand, why not also maintain your garage door tracks, springs, and hinges?

That’s it! You successfully checked your automatic garage door opener! Don’t forget to repeat all these steps twice a year to make sure your garage door opener is not a safety hazard.

Realized You’re Not Up for this Challenge? Want to Talk to a Garage Door Opener Specialist Before Going Further?

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

Are you looking for a prestigious exterior look for your house? Our garage door Prestige XL design would enhance it even more! Here shown in 9' x 8' size, Moka Brown colour, with Cachet windows.

Then contact a GARAGA dealer in your area.

They are indeed experts in garage door openers and garage doors. They have extensive experience, and they love helping you find the perfect garage door system at the right plus for you.

Found the perfect door opener or the garage door of your dreams already?

Ask us for a quotation by email.

You’d like to shop online a bit first?

You can browse our residential photo gallery. Would you like to see your favorite garage door designs and colours on your home? Grab your smartphone and try our Design Centre. You’ll have fun building your dream door and you’ll be able to try it on a picture of your house.

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