Automatic Garage Parking Aid

Introduction: Automatic Garage Parking Aid

I wanted to install a tennis ball parking aid-but didn't want a ball on a string in my garage at all times. I rigged it so as the door closed-the ball raised up out of the way. When the door is opened-the ball drops down into perfect position.

The string length is determined by the location of the eye in relation to the door being closed (longest length). A knot is tied (at a measured spot) to stop the ball at the correct height of the windshield-and the slack hangs loosely.

Its a cool, easy, quick and cheap project.


Step 1: Tools and Materials


-Ladder (or stool)
-3/32" bit (used to drill pilot for Eye)
-3/16" bit  (used to drill hole in tennis ball)
-Needle nose pliers


-20 feet of paracord (length depends on your garage)
-Tennis ball
-Fishing sinkers (or similar weight such as screws/sand/etc.)
-Hook and Eye (only Eye used-inside diameter of 1/4 inch)

An automatic garage door opener is obviously needed for this~

Step 2: Prep

Park the car in the exact location you want to park in every time. Make sure its perfect.

Drill a 3/16" hole into the tennis ball.

Insert about 2 ounces of fishing sinkers/old screws/sand/ anything that will fit inside the hole (helps lower the tennis ball).

Tie a figure eight knot at the end of the paracord and shove into the tennis ball.

Step 3: Eye Location

Grab the marker and tennis ball/cord combo

Using the ladder/stool, find the ideal location for the parking aid. I centered the ball on the steering wheel for the X axis, and centered up and down on the windshield for the Y axis. This way- I center the aim the ball center line with my steering wheel.

Mark the location on the ceiling/joist-this is where the eye will be installed.

*Optional-move the car out if you don't want wood shavings dropped on your car-or a cordless drill going through the windshield*

Drill a 3/32" hole in the marked location and install the eye.

Step 4: Making It Work

Insert the cord so the loose end is facing the garage door opener bracket.

Move the car back in if you previously moved it out.

Adjust the ball to its ideal height (centered on windshield) and tie a figure 8 knot on the side towards the garage door opener bracket so the ball will not drop further than the specified height.

Position the eye so its "looking" at the middle of the track.

Close the garage door.

Route the cord from the eye to the bracket so it wont interfere with anything.

Insert the loose end through the garage door opener bracket.

Pull the slack so the ball is in the stowed position (up out of the way). Leave enough slack on the ball (about a foot or so from the Eye).

Loosely secure the cord to the bracket and open and close the door a couple times and adjust height and stopper knot as necessary.

When happy with location/height-trim the loose end and secure the knot.

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    5 years ago

    I love that it moves out of the way when the garage door is down! Great idea!

    I just made one today but I used fishing line instead so it would be even less visible. That also eliminated the need for weights in the tennis ball.


    5 years ago

    Thanks! Wonderful idea that works well. I'm thinking I can put another hook in the ceiling to hook the figure eight knot to if I want to have the door open but have the ball up out of the way. I also used popcorn as a weight instead. I would definitely recommend just buying fishing weights as you almost have to fill the tennis ball for 2 oz of popcorn. It was a very tedious process.


    Reply 5 years ago

    You can also cut a slot and use pennies instead.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the clear instructions and good pics!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I was just telling my wife about this great idea I came up with...You beat me to it...Congrats...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Love the project write-up! I did the same thing in my garage at my last house. I ended up filling the tennis ball with BB's.

    fat elvis
    fat elvis

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the words! I like the BB's idea.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is great. I did this today. I tried with regular rope and it didn't work. Then I went and got the paracord and it worked as explained.