Understanding How to Maintain Your Automatic Garage Door Opener

Do you know how important the garage door opener is? Obviously, it’s important because of the job it does. But do you know how important it is to keep this component well-maintained for your family’s safety? If you don’t, you’re not alone. However, it is crucial that you learn how to perform a safety check of the opener in your garage. We’ll show you how.

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Have you ever watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix? Have you used the KonMari Method to clean your garage? If you have, at least you have a start on knowing how to maintain and clean your garage.

However, that doesn’t mean you know how to ensure the proper safety of your garage door opener. If this component doesn’t function properly, you could be in trouble. Do you know the date your opener was manufactured?


Picture of warning sign

If you don’t know the year this component was manufactured, this is the first step to ensuring the safety of your family. We’ll explain why this is so important.

Step 1 > The Year Your Garage Door Opener was Manufactured

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.

There is a sticker on the surface of your garage door opener that contains serial numbers and manufacturing information. Hopefully, you or the prior homeowner did not tear this off.

Look at the section that says MFG. Date. This will be located on the sticker somewhere in black and white lettering.

Use this FAQ if the garage door opener in your garage is not a LiftMaster but a Chamberlain. The specifics of these are completely different, and it’s important to understand why.

Was the Garage Door Opener Manufactured Before 1993?

It’s time to replace your garage door opener. There is no repair or maintenance that can ensure it works properly because it lacks important safety updates.

Why does 1993 matter so much?

Every garage door opener in the United States and Canada received an important safety upgrade in 1993. You don’t want to own an opener without these safety updates; trust us.

Update Number One is Mechanical: Your garage door closes, and it contacts something on the ground. It automatically begins opening. This is normal, right? Before 1993, it wasn’t.

Update Number Two is Photoelectric: Photo what? There is a photoelectric beam that extends between two units on either side of your garage door frame. The beam is invisible, but when it is breached while the garage door is closing, the door will immediately begin reversing and opening. This is normal, right? Before 1993, it wasn’t.

Do you understand why you need an upgrade now? If you don’t, learn more about photocell safety beams and learn which urban legend about planes opening garage doors has been proven to be true. These are pretty gruesome, so don’t say you weren’t warned.

Okay, so your garage door was made after 1993. You’re good to go, right? Not so fast. 2012 is another extremely important date you need to be aware of.

Chamberlain’s garage doors began incorporating Security+2.0 in 2012. This is an important feature that prevents burglary.

Chamberlain and LiftMaster began noticing that burglars were using garage door opener remotes to burglarize homes. This happened because random codes could be generated and used on random doors as burglars rode through neighborhoods. However, this update stopped events like this from occurring. Now, a new pin code is generated whenever you open your garage door. Each unique code is only used one time.

This rolling code technology stops burglars from using your garage door as an entry point to burglarize your home.

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.

The old code is discarded each time you open your garage door. The new code is active, and once you open the door again, this particular code will be discarded as well. Without this code, burglars could still use random garage door openers and prowl neighborhoods, generating random codes to enter homes. This update is extremely important. So now, go back to your garage door opener and make sure it was manufactured after 2012.

If you’re certain that it was made after 2012, you can begin the real physical safety check. Get ready to do a little bit of work.

Step 2 > Does the Safety Reverse System Work?

● Place a box underneath your garage door.

● Use the remote or wall panel to close the door.

● You should contact your local garage door and opener specialist if the box ends up being crushed. The door should have opened automatically once it made contact or got close to the top of the box. This means the reversal system is broken and could cause injury.

Step 3 > Check the Photoelectric Reversal 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.

Checking the photoelectric system is easier than you think...

The Goal: Use a rolling object to breach the invisible beam that lies across the threshold of your garage door. The beam extends from left to right.

● Use a remote-control car, a wagon, a bike, a roller skate, or anything mobile to breach the threshold of the garage while the door is closing. Just don’t use an animal or a real person or part of your body.

● Close the garage door. After it begins rolling down, roll the object across the threshold. The door should automatically start lifting. If it doesn’t, the test is over. You need a repair service.

Step 4 > Test the Garage Door Opener Wall 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.

● The wall panel is normally near the entry door to your home. Test the open and close buttons to make sure they work.

● The LIGHT button should also turn the lights on and off properly.

Step 5 > Make Sure the Garage Door Opener Remote Works Properly

● Sometimes the batteries need to be replaced in the garage door opener remote. It’s important to test them from time to time to make sure they function properly, even if you don’t use the remote often.

This test is incredibly easy to perform: Normally, all remotes have an LED light that will brighten when you press a button on the component. When you press a button and the LED light doesn’t work, your batteries may have to be replaced.

● If the batteries don’t work, you probably need to reprogram the remote. Here’s how to program many LiftMaster accessories. It’s a fairly simple process.

● Sometimes you have to purchase a universal remote if none of the above steps make a difference. Learn more about remote controls, 3-button mini remotes, and universal remote compatibility. A new remote can easily be obtained if you lost the old one, or someone in your home needs one to control the garage door.

Check the antenna as the final option. If the antenna cable has been cut or removed from the garage door opener, you need to call a technician or purchase a new opener.

Step 6 > The Emergency Release Rope and Garage Door Handle

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

Close your garage door. Do you notice the rope that hangs in front of the door (from the inside of the garage)? This rope is an emergency feature that can free you from inside the garage if you are trapped.

It’s important that you don’t cut this rope or remove it in any way, regardless of what you’ve heard.

Let’s test it to make sure it still works:

Pull the Rope

The trolley is connected to the garage door and your garage door opener. When you pull the rope, this will automatically disable the trolley and the garage door opener. This gives you the ability to open the door manually using the handle at the bottom of the door.

Grab the garage door handle and lift.

Lift the handle at the bottom of the garage door. It should slide up fairly easily without much effort.

If your garage door spring system is well-balanced, you won’t have much trouble at all.


This means the door needs to be repaired or undergo maintenance. Close the door slowly and back away from it. This could mean the spring is under extreme tension.

Garage door springs that are under extreme tension are one of the most dangerous elements of your entire garage. These could break and cause serious injury or death.

The opener is not what does the heavy lifting when it comes to the garage door. The spring is actually the muscle of the entire operation.

Step 7 > Maintaining the Opener and Trolley

If the emergency rope works, you are almost done. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Now you just need to use a little elbow grease.

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

● The trolley should slide along the rail fairly easily without any rough patches.

● Clean all the dust and debris from the rail that the trolley slides along.

● Use a petroleum-based lubricant to saturate the length of the rail.

Great Tip: Since you are already up high, use your cleaning supplies to clean the hinges, springs, and other areas that are up high in the garage door opener area.

These steps should be completed twice per year to make sure your garage door opener is not a safety hazard. Do not forget to conduct this safety check once in the summer and once in the winter.

If you decide you don’t want to perform the safety checklist and you want a pro, you can contact us for this service.

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Contact us now at 1-800-590-4455.

We are equipped for maintenance, repair, or installation of your garage door or your garage opener. We have decades of experience in the garage industry and are waiting for your service calls.

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

At Dor‑Co Garage Doors, we are here to help you out. Besides repairs and maintenance, we have a huge selection of brand-new garage door openers and garage doors. We have something for everyone, so don’t hesitate to contact us for all of your needs.

If you already know which door you want, that’s okay too.

Ask us for a quotation by email. We can shoot it over with no problem.

Do you need some inspiration before you make a decision?

You can browse our residential photo gallery. These are real-life examples of work we have done in the past. Get a real glimpse into the quality of our work by checking out this photo gallery. Grab your smartphone and try our Design Centre. This is the only place where you can virtually design your garage door and check it out in a real-life setting!

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