Guide to garage door security and servicing

Australian home and garage door

Danny Baggs

Posted October 12, 2022

A garage door is a main entry point to your home. Here’s what you need to know about garage doors to keep yourself safe from theft or injury, plus tips on installing and servicing garage doors.

Garages can be used for a variety of functions, from housing your vehicles to hosting a home gym. Regardless of what you use your garage for, it’s important to keep your garage door running smoothly and safely.

“Garage doors can make or break a home in terms of convenient entry and vehicle security,” says Josh Martin from AGG Doors, who assists with RACV Trades garage door callouts. “Do your research before investing in a new door.”

What you need to know about garage doors

Why are garage doors important?

The main reason for installing garage doors on a home is to make storing your vehicles secure and convenient. A quality garage door will keep your home, cars and other possessions safe from theft, which is important given that garages are prime targets for Australian burglars.

Garage doors are also a major property asset, typically facing the street and making up a large part of your home’s aesthetic or visual appeal. While old-fashioned and damaged doors can hurt your home’s value, a modern and well-maintained garage door, in a visually pleasing design, can increase your property value.


garage roller door

Garage roller doors are low maintenance and cost effective. Image: Getty

Which type of garage door is best?

There are three main types of garage doors in Australia: roller door, tilt door and panel door. Which type best suits your garage depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and available garage headroom.

Roller garage door

Roller garage doors are roll-formed metal sheets that roll up and around a drum on the garage’s ceiling, guided by tracks along the sides of the wall. "Roller garage doors are low maintenance and cost-effective, with very few moving parts,” Martin says. “But they aren’t as aesthetically pleasing or customisable as panel or tilt garage doors. They also require more headroom, so they provide a lower opening height in the garage.” 

Tilt garage door

Tilt garage doors are one-piece garage doors that tilts upward using pivoting arms. “Tilt garage doors don’t require lots of headroom, so you can maximise your overhead garage spaces,” Martin explains. “They’re very customisable, relatively low-maintenance, and can be balanced with springs or weights depending on the situation. However, tilt garage doors can be expensive due to being all handmade.”

Panel garage doors

Panel garage doors (sometimes called sectional doors) are garage doors made from rigid sections hinged together. They use electricity to pull the sections up and back along your garage’s ceiling, guided by tracks and assisted by torsion springs. “Panel garage doors are aesthetically pleasing and very customisable to suit your home,” Martin says. “You can get roll-formed Colourbond as a more cost-effective option, or a full custom door out of wood or various other materials for high-end homes. But because they have lots of moving parts, they tend to be more high maintenance.”


garage tilt door

Tilt garage doors use pivoting arms to open and close. Image: Getty

How much do garage doors cost?

“As garage doors are incredibly customisable, prices can range from $2,000 into the tens of thousands,” Martin says. “The standard home garage doors generally range between $2,000 to $5,000 depending on brand, size and type of door.”

How do I test the garage door auto-reverse is working?

Modern garage doors have opener sensors to prevent the heavy door from closing onto a person or vehicle.

Testing your automatic garage door’s auto-reverse function is an easy way to help ensure that you and your garage contents are safe. “Place a block of wood or something similar sized below the door on the ground,” Martin advises. “The door should lightly compress on the block before automatically reversing. We recommend staying clear of the door and preferably near the power point to turn the power off in case the auto-reverse isn't working.”

If your garage door’s auto-reverse function doesn’t work correctly, call a professional immediately to fix the problem. This safety feature is vital for keeping children and pets who might not know to move safe. It can also save you thousands of dollars in damage to your car.


garage panel door

Panel garage doors are customisable and aesthetically pleasing. Image: Getty

What are common garage safety hazards?

Your garage door is likely the largest and heaviest moving object in your house. Having a garage door fall on a person could cause injury or even death.

“Jamming fingers in moving doors, particularly the older panel doors that hinge together, is a common garage door safety hazard,” Martin says. “But crushing hazards are more dangerous. Never stand underneath a moving door, and always wait for a door to come to a complete stop before going underneath it. You should keep garage door remotes out of reach of young children and restrict them from playing in or around the garage doorway.”

Keeping your garage neat and tidy can also help eliminate garage incidents.

Do garage doors need servicing?

Garage doors should ideally be serviced by a qualified professional every one to two years.

"Signs that your garage door needs maintenance or repair include loud squeaking or squealing, jerky movements, jamming, or running very fast on the way down and noticeably slower on the way up,” Martin says. “If your garage door has any visibly worn or loose parts, or if the door hasn’t been serviced in the last two years, it also needs a service.”

Misaligned tracks, loose rollers, worn-out springs and frayed cables are all common servicing issues that could cause your garage door to come off its tracks, jam shut, or slam down unexpectedly.

You can book a garage door maintenance or repair service in just a few minutes online. If your garage door breaks down and you need it fixed as soon as possible, rapid response teams from RACV Emergency Home Assist can help you out.


man closing his garage door

Garage doors are a main entry point to your home, so it pays to keep them secure. Image: Getty

How do I prevent garage break-ins?

Since garages tend to store high-value possessions like vehicles and power tools, burglars often target garages when looking to steal from homes.

“Always check that your door has opened or closed all the way. Sometimes, particularly in cold weather, the door may stop short,” Martin recommends. Remember: an open garage door is an open invitation to thieves. Automatic garage doors that deadbolt your garage door whenever it closes are particularly theft resistant. If you have a manual garage door, make sure it has a locking handle.

Visible security cameras and motion-activated lights near garage doors and windows can help deter burglars from targeting your garage in the first place. An alarm system will usually scare off burglars tampering with any entry points. You should also secure any side doors with deadbolt locks, ideally with reinforced strike plates.

Garage door emergency release cords allow you to manually open automatic doors in the event of a power outage. But some burglars ‘fish’ for your garage door’s emergency release cord with a coat hanger or wire hook after pushing the door inward at the top. Once they grab this cord, they can manually open the door with a simple pull. To prevent this trick, you can zip tie the cord together so it’s unreachable from the outside. In the event of a power outage, grab a stepladder and cut the zip tie to use the emergency release as intended.

Finally, don’t keep your remote automatic garage door openers in your car, which are another target for theft. Treat it like a key by clipping it on to your keychain and carrying it on your person. Otherwise, you can get a smart garage door opener that works via your smartphone. These apps generally use a ‘rolling code’ that makes code hacking devices ineffective.


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RACV Trades is a trading name of RACV's trade partner, Club Home Response Pty Ltd. All works are performed or arranged by Club Home Response Pty Ltd. trading as RACV Trades.