Why Not DIY Garage Door Repair

A List of Horror Stories and Pro Tips

For this article, we scoured the web for quotes from real people talking about their experiences doing their own garage door repairs. We sprinkled in some horror stories and some important advice from a few professional door repairmen and installers as well.

Feel free to add your own stories – good or bad – in the comments.

The Winding Bar Slipped and Hit my Dad on the Head

“My dad was also on an extension ladder winding a spring when a winding bar slipped and the bar hit him in the head and he saw stars… almost passed out 14′ in the air on a ladder .. luckily he didn’t fall off and die.”

The Amount of Tension on a Garage Door Spring

Broken Clamps Shoot Across the Garage Like a Bullet

” I’ve clamped a lot of broken springs (temporary repairs). Had a couple of the clamps snap as I was adding tension to them, shooting the clamps to the back of the garage like a bullet with sparks flying. Thank god the ladder wasn’t in front of the clamp or I wouldn’t be here today.”

Garage Door Fell on Me

 

Garage Door Repair

“I don’t trust garage doors that roll up on top of you when you open them. Had one break off the rollers and fall on me once. They are pretty damn heavy those doors. Didn’t have serious injuries but it sure hurt. I opened the garage door, turned around to walk back inside the garage, and the door fell on me… the rollers on one side all failed at the same time…”

Pinched Finger in Door Sections

“My grandfather was in the same business, he lost the tip of his finger between 2 garage door sections closing.”

Stuck Hanging By A Finger From The Ceiling For A Good 30 Seconds

“My brother thinks he’s a pro because his family is in the business lol .. so he was driving underground to park his car and the garage door was halfway up. He went to roll the garage door up by the belt/pulley on a commercial garage door opener.. got his finger caught between the belt and pulley and was stuck hanging from the ceiling for a good 30 seconds before he could free himself (thank god he’s stronger than I am.. he’s a firefigher…but definitely NOT a garage door mechanic) .. broke his finger and got 12 stitches for his troubles.”

Buried The Head Of The Ratchet Into The Web Of His Thumb

“I have a buddy who was using a pair of ratchets (the handle part) to wind the spring. One of the ratchets slipped out of the hole and the spring began to unwind. The other ratchet came back and buried the head of the ratchet into the web of his thumb/pointer finger. The Drs initially thought he would never have full use of his hand any longer due to all of the nerve damage.”

Metal Bar Came Down Full Force On My Thumb

“When I first started my career I was almost finished adding tension onto a spring with torsion bars, and when I went to put one bar in and take the other one out, it slipped and the metal bar came down full force on my thumb (thank god it didn’t break) but my thumb was 3x the size for a couple of weeks than it normally is.”

Ripping His Forearm And Biceps To Shreds

“Heard another story about a guy that had a 12′ high door torsion spring fully tensioned/wound .. he was on an extension ladder and had his arm wrapped around the spring as he was tightening the set screws. The spring unwound off of the winding cone ripping his forearm and biceps to shreds.”

Garage Door Springs Snap

Garage Door Repair

 

“I’ve seen garage door springs snap in a new spot when they’ve already broken as I’ve clamped them and was close to finishing adding the required tension for the temp repair.”

A Close Family Friend Died When The Garage Door Failed And Slammed Down On His Head

“A close family friend died when the garage door failed and slammed down on his head. His 9-year-old brother found him laying on the floor. Inspecting garage doors should be a real thing you do. fairly often…” … “Sounds like the spring broke while the door was in the open position. That’s another good reason to have a garage door opener! Forget about the convenience … but when that spring breaks .. the garage door will be held open by it and not come crashing down!”

I Stay The Hell Away From Them

“The tension in those springs is scary as hell. I fully understand the physics at work there so I stay the hell away from them!”

Not Much Different Than A Gun

“It’s really not much different than a gun. Treat it like it’s always loaded and don’t put yourself in front of the part that does damage and you will be OK no matter what.”

Being Crushed By A Garage Door Is A Very Real Danger In DIY Repair

“Being crushed by a garage door is a very real danger in DIY repair. These doors can weigh approximately 100-200 lbs, so even a short fall can cause severe injuries. A common cause of door slips is an improper disconnection of the door restraints, which is a likely step to perform in many garage door repairs. If the door falls, it could damage the door itself, the objects inside the garage, and even you.”

Zap

“My garage door electrocuted me. Twice.”

The Set Screws Tore Across His Wrist

“The set screws tore across his wrist and that was the reason for his arm being in a sling. He told me that it took nearly eighteen hours of micro surgery to reattach the nerves, tendons, and veins and that his prognosis was with a couple of years of therapy he may get back 80{4ba442a72c592f06d8ec2d5a294e16756dff5ccab95831b417f2c4ac51cd494a} usage of his hand.”

Ended Up With The Door Collapsing

Garage Door Repair

 

“I tried to repair my garage door and ended up with the door collapsing in on itself requiring a complete replacement of the door by a specialized company.”

Tips from Professional Garage Door Repairmen

This sections contains quotes from industry professionals the try and keep DIY’ers from making dangerous and costly mistakes.

Keeps The Coils From Binding

“Keep those coils lubricated! Not dripping wet, but an occasional spray with an oil. I put a bead of 10w across the top and open and close the door a couple of times. This keeps the coils from binding.”

This Is The Best Way To Wind Up In The Hospital

“NEVER use screwdrivers, pin punches or pliers handles to wind or unwind a torsion spring. Trust us: This is the best way to wind up in the hospital. Don’t even think about doing this job without a proper set of winding bars.”

Position Your Ladder To The Side

“Position your ladder to the side of the spring ends so you’re never directly in front of the spring cones when they’re winding or unwinding.”

“Step off the ladder and move it off to the side before unclamping the door and testing the balance. Never test a door while you’re standing on the ladder.”

Disconnect the Power Before you Begin a Repair

“Keep the garage door opener disconnected from power at all times, and lock the door in the lowered position, especially when you’re winding the springs.”

Replacing or Installing a Garage Door is At Least A Two Person Job

Garage Door Repair

 

“Replacing or installing a new garage door and it all looks so straightforward. The reality is quite different. First, it is at least a two person job. Second, garage doors are very heavy and modern residential garage doors – with their multi-layered construction – are cumbersome. One wrong move and the entire door can come crashing down, injuring yourself as well as the door. ”

Cost Difference Between DIY and Hiring a Pro was Minimal

“Over the Holidays, my wife backed the car into the garage door and we had to replace it. The cost difference between buying whatever we could find at HomeDepot/Lowes/Etc and hiring a local company to come out and do it for us was minimal. We were looking at ~$500 for just the door, and the low quote for door and installation came in at ~$600. We decided on an upgraded door, and are spending about ~$900 all told (better insulated door, windows with inserts).”

Conclusions from People who Attempted DIY Garage Door Repairs

“Garage doors are dangerous. And if you don’t know what you’re doing (OR if you DO know what you’re doing) be damn careful 🙂 Hire a contractor, and pay a fair price. It’s worth it .. and don’t bargain too low because then you’ll get the scammers. (that’s for another LPT) lol”

“For the most part, the local garage door guys could sell the door and do the install with new tracks and hardware cheaper than I could find the just the door for sale.”

Don’t end up like Homer Simpson 🙂

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