Important Safety Features of Garage Doors and Openers

Did you know that the average single garage door weighs 130 pounds or more? Double garage doors can even weigh as much as 400 pounds. With this much weight moving up and down over your garage entrance, you can’t afford to have your garage door or your garage door opener break down. In fact, a malfunctioning door or opener can result in significant material damage to your car — or worse, serious bodily harm to you or your family.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of your garage door’s safety features, what they are and how they work. That way, you’ll be able to recognize when something is amiss before anything unfortunate happens.

Safety Features of Garage Doors and Openers

Your and your families safety around garage doors is important. To help with your safety it is important to know and be familiar with the safety features that garage doors and garage door openers.  These are the main safety features of most garage doors and openers:

  • Auto-Reverse
  • Motion Detection
  • Manual Control
  • Annual Maintenance


In the 1980s and early 1990s, as many as 54 children lost their lives due to automatic garage doors that didn’t reverse or stop when met with resistance. Hundreds more ended up in the emergency room with serious injuries, and thousands of pets were hurt or killed. For this reason, since 1992, garage doors are required by federal law to have so-called entrapment protection. Nowadays, this protection is most often provided through the auto-reverse feature.

The auto-reverse feature is one of the most crucial garage door opener safety features. It works as follows: Your garage door is equipped with special sensors that detect whether something or someone is obstructing its trajectory. If it detects an obstacle, the door stops closing and automatically reverses to the open position.

You can test whether your garage door’s auto-reverse feature is working properly by placing a sturdy two by four underneath the door, where it meets the ground when fully closed. Close the door. When the door touches the board, it should automatically reverse. If it doesn’t do this but instead keeps moving downward, the auto-reverse feature isn’t working, and you should contact a garage door pro as soon as possible to get it fixed.

Motion Detection

Motion detection is a garage door safety feature that offers additional security in two ways. When a vehicle or person crosses the path of the motion detection sensors that are installed in the doorway, the garage lights automatically turn on and stay on for between four and five minutes.

This feature provides you with good lighting so that you can get out of your car and into your home without stumbling over something or otherwise hurting yourself. It also helps with home security, since any burglar or other criminal trying to enter your home via the garage will trigger the motion detection sensors and cause the lights to come on. As home security experts advise, quality lighting is one of the best burglar deterrents!

Manual Control

If you’re asking yourself, “Why would I want manual control on a motorized garage door?” you’re not alone. However, there’s a very good reason all garage doors come equipped with a manual control feature. Imagine the following scenario: There’s a power outage, and you need to get your car out of the garage to go to work. Without power, the electronic motor isn’t going to work, and you’ll be stuck at home.

However, if you know how to operate the manual control, you can bypass the motor and open the door by hand. You do this by using the override feature to disconnect the garage door from the electronic system. Since the door remains on the tracks, you can simply lift it by hand. Then, when the power is back on, you can reconnect the electronic system.

Annual Maintenance

Now that you have an understanding of the various safety features of your garage door and opener, it should be clear that they need to function properly at all times. That’s why you need not only annual garage door maintenance but also annual garage door opener maintenance. Both should be performed by a qualified professional.

If you don’t have your door and opener serviced properly at least once a year, then your garage door lift mechanism and opener are unlikely to remain in good working order. And that, in turn, could result in damages and accidents — not to mention costly repairs and a shorter lifespan of the products, which require you to replace your garage door and opener years sooner than necessary.

Fortunately, Quality Overhead Door professionals are always available to provide you with sound advice and top-notch service. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your annual maintenance appointment.

Garage Door Safety Tips

Garage Door Safety Tips

1. Routinely Test the Safety Sensors

It’s most likely that your garage door already has safety sensors. All garage doors made after 1991 have a feature where, if the door touches anything, it reverses. This feature helps prevent injury because if a person or animal were to walk under the door, the door would not keep going down.

Make sure you frequently check that this feature still works properly. Garage doors will need repairs over time, but you definitely want to be aware as soon as possible if the safety sensors are not working.

To test your garage door’s safety sensor, first open the garage door. Place a soft object under the middle of it and try closing the garage door. When the door touches the object, it should stop and then go back up. If the sensors are no longer working, you should call a professional to repair it as soon as possible. Make sure your entire family is also aware. Until the door is fixed, closely watch the door when you close it to make sure nothing gets in the way.

2. Don’t Share Entry Passwords

Having a keypad to open your garage door is a great feature because it can be used in the case of an emergency. If you or your kids forget the house key, you can still get safely inside. However, you should not share entry passwords with others.

The only people who need to know your garage door’s entry password are the people living in your home. If you have immediate family members living in the area, you could give them the passcode. However, the more people who know the password, the less effective it will be.

It’s very important to teach your kids not to share the passcode with anyone. Make sure they understand that you, the parent, are the one who decides who knows the password.

3. Teach Your Kids Garage Safety

When your kids are old enough, make sure you teach them how to use the garage door properly and how to avoid getting hurt by it. Here are a few simple lessons to teach your kids to keep them safe around the garage door:

  • The garage door is not a toy.
  • Before closing the garage door, make sure no one is standing in the way.
  • Always close the garage door if there is no one outside.
  • Don’t tell anyone, including friends, the entry password.

These lessons are a good starting point to have a program about garage door safety with your kids.

4. Read Through the Manual 

When you installed your garage door, it should have come with a manual. This booklet will teach you how to properly use the different functions of your garage door.

This book is a great resource to learn how to use your garage door safely. It can also be a good place to start if something isn’t working properly. You may be able to figure out how to fix something yourself with the manual. By doing so, you can avoid hiring a professional who ends up doing a simple fix but still charges you for their time.

5. Don’t Leave the Doors Partially Open

At some point, you’ve probably noticed homes that keep their garage door open about a foot. This can help keep the garage (and also the rest of your home) cooler and let pets (especially cats) get back inside easily. But keeping your garage door open also poses a threat.

Wild animals may slip into your garage looking for food or shelter. An animal could cause a good amount of damage to your garage and the items you store there.

A burglar will see a slightly open garage door as an opportunity. They may think that at some point, you may forget to close the garage door the rest of the way and keep an eye on your home. If you ever do forget to close it, that person could get inside and steal valuables from your home.

You can avoid all of these potential dangers by simply keeping the garage door closed when no one is outside.

Quality Overhead Door is the premier place for all your garage door needs in the Toledo area. For more information about our products and services, please contact us today.

Additional Resources on Garage Safety & Security Door Tips:




Subscribe to our Newsletter