“I Backed Into My Closed Garage Door – Now What?”
As confident as most people tend to be in their parking skills, sometimes we all have some spatial relations issues to put it lightly. Suppose you’ve decided to back your car up to the garage just as you have dozens upon dozens of times before. This time, however, you experience an involuntary lapse in judgment, and next thing you know, you’ve backed into the garage door and dented the bottom two panels of your precious investment.
You’ve hit your garage door with your car, so how do you fix it? Should you attempt to fix the issue yourself, consult a professional to fix it for you, or simply replace the damaged panels?
To resolve this issue, you must begin by asking yourself two questions:
- How severe is the damage? (Is it a minor bend or is the panel on the verge of falling off?)
- What material is the garage door composed of?
How to Fix a Bent Garage Door
DISCLAIMER: Madison Local Garage Door Pros does not recommend fixing a garage door without a professional garage door technician. Serious injury can occur.
If your garage door is composed of steel or aluminum as most typically are (aluminum is more prone to denting due to its lack of durability), you may not have to replace it after backing your car into it!
Take a moment to evaluate the extent of the damage done. Run the garage door through a couple of cycles (opening and closing) to determine whether it is capable of running smoothly or not. If the damage is not too substantial, you may be able to fix the door by adding steel struts, which are reinforcements installed on the back of the door.
Steel struts prevent the door from bowing and, in turn, disrupt its cycle. This is a simple and remarkably cost-effective alternative to replacing the door or even a single panel when not necessary. This will not resolve aesthetic-based issues, so those of us who cannot stand to look at a damaged door without cringing may feel obliged to purchase a replacement for the damaged portion of the door.
Install Steel Struts to Fix Bent Garage Door Panels
Adding horizontal steel struts to your garage door is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to improve its performance.
The first thing you’ll need to do is measure the width of your door to gather its dimensions. Steel struts are typically available at local hardware stores and extend across individual panel sections. Garage door struts help prevent automatic openers, cables, and rollers from overworking while opening and closing.
Your installation should be about 2 inches shorter than the width of the garage door to allow plenty of clearance near the tracks.
The installation process consists of the following steps:
- Purchase the correct number of struts: Horizontal reinforcements can be attached along each panel section. Check the extent of the damage to decide which sections require straightening.
- Find self-driving hardware: To mount each strut, you’ll need self-tapping screws to drive into garage door materials.
- Disconnect your automatic opener: Keep your garage door in the closed position before starting the project.
- Align struts and fasten: If possible, recruit a second person to help keep struts in place for fastening. You want to make sure each piece is level.
- Balance the garage door: It is crucial to have a professional visit your home to set the balance of the garage door and adjust the springs accordingly. Your garage door will be heavier once steel struts are in place, so reduce unwanted stress by scheduling a maintenance appointment with a technician.
Fixing your garage door dent can be as seamless as swapping out panels. We recommend contacting your original garage door installer to see if your make and style are available. Then, have a technician visit your property to assess the damage. A professional should be able to complete a replacement job in just a few hours.
What About Wooden/Fiberglass Doors?
If you are the proud owner of a lavish wooden or fiberglass garage door and have undergone the misfortune of backing your car into it, you may not possess the option of fixing the door. Whether or not you are able to add reinforcements to the door is wholly dependent on the extent of the damage, which you can either determine yourself or with the assistance of a professional.
If the damage is too much and the door cannot run efficiently, then it may be time to purchase a new door.
Replacing Your Garage Door Assembly
Depending on the age of your garage door and the level of damage, a new assembly may be the best route. It’s important to have a local technician give you a rundown of the damage, as collisions can interfere with more than just the panels.
A garage door inspection will give you insight into the condition of the tracks, torsion and extension springs, and support cables. Remember that garage door systems handle an incredible amount of weight and tension.
Do not attempt to repair cables or springs yourself — call a professional!
Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Garage Doors?
Every policy is different. You may decide to call your home and auto insurance agent after running into your garage door. You should read up on your current policy to see what types of accidents are covered.
If you or a family member back into the garage, sending photographs of the accident will help you file a claim. In the event that someone else hits your garage door, their insurance is responsible for your repairs. Acts of vandalism or theft may require you to file a police report.