Everyone makes mistakes, but if nothing is learned, it's just a mistake.  Making use of the mistake and using it for some positive benefit is better.  So we share mistakes to prevent others from making them.

overhead door manual lock
Manual lock installed on overhead door

When inspecting overhead doors, we always make a point to look for manual locks installed on doors having automatic openers.  There's a good reason for that.  If the lock happens to be engaged when the opener attempts to open the door, there's a decent chance the door or opener will be damaged.  In the worst case scenario, the door could come off the rails and fall inward.  At a minimum, it puts strain on the door components and opener.

When we find manual locks on overhead doors with openers, we recommend removing or disabling the manual lock so it cannot be engaged when the opener attempts to lift the door.  Just remove or disable the lock to prevent damage.

Here's our $800 button push story.  When inspecting a house in early 2022, the inspector went into the garage, and looked over storage items in the garage at the overhead door.  Looks fine the inspector thought.  So, he turned around and pushed the opener button on the wall, and at the same time, had the realization that he did walk over to the door to check for a manual lock.  Well, there happened to be one, and it happened to be engaged.  As soon as the door started upward, the noises made told the inspector he'd made a mistake pushing the button. So, to try and remediate the issue, he pushed it again in the attempt to reverse or stop the travel.  Well, all that did was tell the opener to try to lift the door again.  Upon the second button push, a loud popping sound was made, and the door stopped operation.

overhead door bent track
Bent overhead door track

Rats!  Too late, the damage was done.  The travel belt or cable was broken, and the middle overhead guide track was all mangled.  Whew! It didn't look all that bad.  It looked like a new belt and some typical railing parts would fix it right up.

After sending a trusted garage door company over there, it was discovered that the motor was also now inoperable.  So, long story short, a whole new setup of railing, belt, and motor was necessary to repair this overhead door and get it operational again.  So that was an $800 button push.  Luckily, the door itself was not damaged which would have put the cost even higher and perhaps been at risk for coming off the rails which is a safety concern for anyone near.

Learn from the inspector's mistake.  If there is a manual lock installed on an overhead door having an automatic opener, remove or disable the lock to prevent damage to the door, opener, and perhaps worse.

Author: nwparallel45