What Are the Different Parts of a Garage Door?

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated September 2, 2021
A man opening his garage door
Cavan Images/Cavan via Getty Images

Garage doors are made up of several components that help them work properly

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As you pull into your driveway after work and push the button on your garage door opener, you’re likely thinking about what’s for dinner, not how the door works. Garage doors are seemingly simple home features that you rely on each day. They allow you to enter and exit your home conveniently and, most importantly, they protect everything inside your home. Every homeowner should know how their garage door works so they can properly maintain it and keep it in tip-top shape.

How Garage Doors Work

Garage doors are essential parts of the home that you likely rely on daily. Not only do they protect what’s inside your garage (including your trusty family car), but they also protect your home from intruders who can weasel their way into your home through the garage. Not to mention they provide you with a convenient and safe way to enter your home with the press of a button.

Garage doors are typically made of steel, fiberglass, aluminum, or wood. When directed by a motor, your garage door opens by sliding on rollers along a track that runs up to the garage  ceiling. The door slides back down along the track to close. Springs counterbalance the door’s weight and steadily control the door’s movement.

Parts of a Garage Door

Several components make up a garage door, including:

  • Panels

  • Hinges

  • Tracks

  • Rollers

  • Springs

  • Emergency cord

  • Sensors

  • Garage door opener

Panels

Typically, multiple rectangular wood, steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or vinyl panels make up garage doors. Colors vary, so you can easily find one that matches your home and boosts its curb appeal.

Hinges

Hinges secure the panels together, folding to allow the door to bend and retract as it moves along the track to open or close.

Tracks

You can find garage door tracks running vertically on either side of the garage door and above it. When you press the button on the garage door opener, the door is triggered to open or close. The tracks guide the door during its movement.

Rollers

To move along the tracks, your garage door glides along rollers consisting of a metal rod and a wheel made of nylon, steel, or plastic.

Springs

Garage doors generally feature spring systems that control the door’s motion when it opens and closes, counterbalancing the door’s weight and allowing for steady movement. There are two common spring systems in garage doors: torsion and extension, with torsion spring systems being the most popular because of their durability.

Emergency Cord

An emergency pull cord hangs down on the inside of your garage near the door. When you pull it, the system’s motor will disengage, and it will stop opening or closing.

Sensors

Like the emergency cord, sensors come in majorly handy in an emergency when you need to stop the door from moving (like when it’s about to close on your foot). Garage door sensors are also called photo eyes. They shoot an invisible beam across the opening of the garage door. When an object breaks the beam, the sensors send a signal to the motor to stop it.

Garage Door Opener

Garage door openers are motorized devices that open and close garage doors. They’re typically made up of sensors and motors that trigger the door to open or close when you direct it to do so by pressing the garage door opener. They typically only work from a short distance, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally opening the garage when you’re out and about.

Weather Seal

Your garage door’s weather seal stretches along the bottom of the door. It keeps out drafts, rain, and other outside elements. The seal protects everything inside the garage from the elements while also increasing the door’s energy efficiency.

Garage Door Maintenance

An open garage door of a house
ziss - stock.adobe.com

Garage doors can be finicky. If you experience a minor problem with your panels, hinges, or tracks, you can typically fix it yourself. But with rollers, springs, and openers, definitely call a professional to help.

Because garage doors are so important for the safety of your belongings and your home, it’s in your best interest to keep them in good working order. Proper maintenance will prevent the door system from malfunctioning when you need it.

Here are some quick garage door maintenance tips:

  • Lubricate hinges every few months so they don’t squeak.

  • Don’t lubricate tracks, but wipe them down with soap and water periodically to clean them of debris.

  • Rollers may wear over time and may warrant replacements periodically. Make a point to check their condition every few months.

  • Torsion springs typically last up to 10 years, while extension springs last up to seven. Replace your springs accordingly to ensure that they work safely.

  • Inspect weather seals a few times a year and call a professional to repair or replace them when needed.

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