As garage door service professionals, we’ve pretty much dealt with every issue you can think of when it comes to repairing residential and commercial garage doors. Yet, every year we find a few more situations that even surprise us. Like the Mud Dauber nest growing on a photo eye sensor to the tennis ball that knocked the door entirely off the track. While there are times that you need to call for help, many problems simply require knowing what’s wrong to fix the problem yourself. To help you troubleshoot your garage door issues, here are the top 10 reasons your garage door won’t work.
1. Transmitter Batteries
It may sound cliché, but people still forget or fail to realize that the transmitter requires power to work. And this can sometimes include the transmitter on the wall in your garage too. You should also realize that if the battery goes in one place, it may have run out in others at the same time because you probably installed them on the same day.
2. Your Photo Eye is out of Alignment
On either side of your garage door are photo eyes. Between the two eyes is an invisible beam that when broken, prevents the door from closing. If your door won’t close, check to make sure these photo eyes are not misaligned or dirty. If they are, here’s a guide for cleaning and inspecting a garage door photo eye.
3. Track is out of Alignment
If you’re garage door track is out of alignment, it can be a serious issue. The metal track that your door runs on needs to be aligned properly for the door to move. If you see gaps between the rollers and rail or bends in the rails themselves you have a problem. The weight for the door can compound these issues over time until it becomes dangerous to operate your door so call for help.
4. Garage Door Opens/Closes Randomly
If you discover your door opening or closing at random times, even when you are not home, it can be a little disturbing. The first thing to check is your transmitters. Make sure they are not stuck under something that can inadvertently depress the control mechanism. For example, they could be under a pile of papers on your car seat or in the dog house. You may also want to test your transmitter’s frequency. It is possible that a neighbor has the same frequency and is opening your garage along with their own.
5. Garage Door Closes Part Way, Then Opens Again
Garage doors are designed with a reversing mechanism that prevent them from crushing objects in their path. This can be triggered by objects on the ground blocking their path such as garbage cans or toys, but could be caused by a buildup of debris on the tracks that prevents the rollers from moving forward. This could include small items like coat hangers, mud or gum. (Testing Reversing Mechanism of Your Garage Door).
6. Door Won’t Go Up
Garage doors can be very heavy and despite what most people think, it is not the garage door opener that does the heavy lifting, but rather the springs of the door. Doors come with one or two torsion springs. If either spring is broken, the garage door opener may struggle to lift the weight of the door or fail to open the door at all. If the spring is broken, call a professional for service as these can be very dangerous to work with.
7. Door Goes Down All the Way, Then Opens Again
If this happens, the most likely culprit are the open and close limit settings of your garage door opener. This range tells the garage door opener how far the door should move before it is fully closed. If your settings are too high, the door will hit the ground before the opener thinks it should and assume the door is hitting something in its path. It will then automatically reverse to prevent crushing it. Check your operator’s manual for how to set the open and close limits.
8. Automatic Garage Door Opener Runs but Door Doesn’t Move
Every garage door opener comes with a disconnect switch in case the power fails to allow you to open or close the door manually. This switch is usually attached to a rope or knob that can be accidentally unhooked. Close or open the door all the way and then reattached this hook secure. Then try opening or closing the door again with your transmitter.
9. Automatic Garage Door Opener Runs for a Few Seconds then Turns Off but Door Doesn’t Move
This normally happens when the door is closed and the motor is trying to lift the door and it won’t move. First check the springs (see #6 above) and if that isn’t the problem check the track for obstacles (see #5 above). If neither of these issues exists, check to make sure your garage door doesn’t have a built in lock that has been engaged directly. These are very common in older doors and can be easily engaged by accident.
10. The Garage Door Closes Very Quickly, Often With a Bang
There are two possibilities here. The first is a broken tension spring that should be countering the weight of the door and the second is broken cables connecting the tension spring on some doors. In either case, you should have a garage door profession service your door as these can be dangerous components to work with.