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Garage Door Opener Repair & Safety Part 2 – Reversal Test and Force Setting

“If your garage door does not automatically reverse
when it encounters an obstruction, it is a serious hazard.”


Two additional garage door opener repair tasks are the reversal test and force setting. These are both important tests that contribute to garage door opener safety. After ensuring your garage door is properly balanced, do the following:

Garage Door Reversal Test

1. Open the door completely and put a piece of standard 2″ X 4″ building material (1 1/2″ thick) on the floor under the middle of the door. The wood should be lying flat on the floor to simulate a 1 1/2″ obstruction.

2. Using the garage door remote or the button on the wall, press the button to close the door. When the door meets the piece of wood it should automatically reverse. Whether you have a sectional door or a one-piece door, the door should reverse direction and open when it meets the obstruction.

3. If your garage door does not automatically reverse, you need to repair it or have it repaired. If it cannot be repaired, the door should be replaced and should be disconnected in the mean time. Check the garage door opener manual for instructions on how to adjust your door operator or contact a professional garage door repair company to do the work for you.

NOTE: Visit our garage door opener manual page if you need a manual for your opener. You may also go directly to our garage door remotes page if you need a replacement or an extra remote.

4. Repeat this test monthly to be certain your door continues to operate properly.

SAFETY NOTE: If your garage door does not automatically reverse when it encounters an obstruction, it is a serious hazard. Some older garage doors will stop when they meet an obstruction but they will not reverse. In either case your garage door opener should be replaced. The relatively low cost is a small price to pay for peace of mind and the safety of people and pets.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, automatic garage door openers have killed about four children between the age of two and 14 every year since 1982. How did this happen? The children were trapped under a garage door that did not automatically stop and reverse direction when it encountered the child. Other serious injuries have been sustained for the same reason. If you own a pet, the same thing could happen. Please replace your old garage door opener.

Garage Door Force Setting Test

Garage door closing force is just as it sounds. It is the amount of force exerted by the garage door opener when closing the door. If the force is too low, the door may not close completely before reversing directions and opening. If the force is too high, this could pose a hazard to people or your pets should the door close on top of them.

To test the closing force, place your hand under the door about mid way through the closing cycle and try to keep the door from closing. The door should automatically reverse direction without your having to apply too much effort. To give you an idea how much force it should take to reverse the direction of the door, imagine you were a child or a small pet under the door. If the force seems excessive and potentially injurious, adjust the closing force accordingly.

Most garage door openers have adjustment screws that adjust the closing force of the door. With so many openers on the market, it is best to consult your opener’s manual for specific instructions.

SAFETY NOTE: Most garage door opener repair tasks can easily be performed by a do-it-yourselfer. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, ask a competent friend for help or call a profesional garage door opener repair company. Ignoring the problem is not a good option.

Chamberlain Model WD962KD Belt Drive Garage Door Opener
Genie 1/2 hp Garage Door Opener
w/Direct Lift™ Screw Drive – Model #36280R


Go to Step 3 – Door Sensors and Other Safety Features

Go to Step 1 – Balancing the Garage Door

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