Accidents happen, and sooner or later, you're bound to accidentally back into your garage door. Whether it's just a light smack or a sickening crunch, any type of run-in you have with your garage door is bound to give you that sinking feeling of dread and panic. Knowing how to handle the aftermath of an accidental brush with your garage door can help you worry less and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Assess the Damage

First things first, check how much damage was done to the garage door during the collision. Don't just look at the garage door panels — take a close look at the garage door's tracks, hinges, and cabling, as well as the garage door opener's track and mounting hardware. In addition to cosmetic damage, you're also looking for any potential structural damage done to the door.

As you survey the damage, ask yourself these important questions:

How damaged is your garage door? Is the damage limited to just one or two panels, or is the entire door bent out of shape?

Can you still open your garage door? Depending on how much damage was done, your garage door may be frozen in place.

Does the garage door pose a safety hazard to others? Safety risks typically don't come from minor panel damage, but severe damage can pose a significant risk to anyone nearby.

If your garage is partially open, consider the potential safety and security hazards such a situation poses. In such cases, you'll want to make an emergency call to your garage door specialist to safely secure your garage and make it less appealing to would-be burglars.

Consider Your Options

Your options for garage door repair depend heavily on the type and amount of damage done to your garage door. For cosmetic damage, a fresh coat of paint or a minor dent repair can help hide minor blemishes. New panels can replace old ones and make your garage door look like new again.

Damage control also depends on how your garage door was made. For instance, you may need to completely re-stain a wooden garage door after making minor repairs to help preserve its aesthetics.

When it comes to structural damage, however, your options become more limited. If there's any damage that impacts your garage door's normal operation, have your garage door specialist make the necessary repairs. Your specialist will be able to replace any components damaged during your unexpected run-in.

Age also plays a factor in repairing a damaged door. If it's been a couple of decades since your last garage door replacement, it could be worthwhile to replace your older, damaged garage door with something more modern.