garage door sensors

markmaghakianAugust 14, 2008


I have a question that hopefully can be answered.

We recently had a new garage door put in. My wife parked her Honda jeep in the garage and apparently had her spare tire sticking out past where the door would close. It wound up closing on her tire and damaged the top panal of the garage door. The question is: isn't the sensor supposed to make the door go back up once it is in contact with the tire ? It kept closing on the tire. The company the put the door in is claiming that they are not liable, but my feeling is that they are.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.


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yes, they should have adjusted the down force so that you can grab the bottom of the door with your hand and force it to reverse course. there is no excuse for it applying that much downforce.

oh, and hang a tennis ball on a string fromt eh ceiling. tell your wife to pull in until it touches the windshield so this does nto happen again!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 1:53PM
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You didn't mention the age or make of your opener. Some of the older openers have mechanical safeties and although they worked ok when everything was new they just don't any more. The newer units are electronic and work fine but can be easily mis-adjusted. The manufacturer recommends checking these safeties when maintenance is done on the door and opener. You can count on one hand the number of people that do this. I have to agree with the door company. The limit of their responsibility is what they contracted to do.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:04PM
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Thanks for the follow up.
Being that this company only installed the door (it was a wood one replaced by a vinyl one) and not the motor, do you think they still should have tested the downforce ?
Good advice regarding the tennis ball (lol)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Hi don,
The garage door was installed by Sears (its a Craftsman) about 3 years ago. Is it just a matter of the different weight of the new door throwing things out of whack ?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:13PM
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downforce varies by door and door conditions. they SHOULD have checked it. i would send them a certified letter stating they can either pay for the damages or talk to your lawyer. that may get them to deal with you. think about if that had been a child standing there.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 9:15PM
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Well, quite a pickle to be in, for both parties.

The law will vary from state to state as to what the requirements are for reconnecting an existing garage door opener upon installing a new garage door. In California, we are required to test the safety reverse prior to reconnecting an existing lift. The majority of older machines still in operation are equipped with some sort of safety reverse. Older Overhead Door Company brand machines are notorious for ruining many a garage door. And in some units, the force settings are maxed out beyond the machines ability to reverse properly when obstructed.

I know for a fact our technicians test this feature, because we "red tag" and cut the power cord on about 2 machines a year (which can also cause much tension with the homeowner - understandably). As a licensed contractor, we are bound by the law.

With that being said, who's at fault here is still open to interpretation. Your 3 year old Craftsman would without a doubt be equipped with this safety reverse feature. You said your door was replaced recently, but people's idea of "recently" can vary - a lot - ha ha. A good installer should have tested the safety reverse while on site (regardless of state law).

The owner's manual to the craftsman machine should state something to the effect that "Seasonal weather changes could require force/sensitivity adjustments." In colder weather a machine will require more pressure to get it to close normally, and less pressure when it is warmer. However, it should still reverse.

Is some circumstances, if the obstruction (car tire, garbage can, container) is far off to one side, it can cause the door to come off the track and damage the top section, which would not be considered a standard obstruction. The reverse feature is made to save your life, not the car bumper or your garage door.

Was the company that installed your door licensed? If not, you still have recourse through your state licensing board. I assume at this point that you've already contacted the company, I will be interested to hear what happened and what matter of resolution has taken place.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 3:48PM
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