What Should I Do If My Garage Door Won’t Open or Close?

Most homeowners use their garage door to enter their homes more often than their front doors. And with such frequent use and operating under constant strain and pressure, garage doors are bound to experience problems occasionally while trying to open or close. So, what causes a garage door to not open? And more importantly, how can you fix a garage door that won’t open?

Why Won’t My Garage Door Open or Close?

Commonly, problems with your garage door opening and closing may be caused by:

  • Photo-eye sensor blocked or misaligned: A large portion of times where a garage door will not open or close when you press the button have to do with problems with your photo-eye sensors. Since the 1990s, automatic garage doors have been federally mandated to have a photo-eye sensor system. This system consists of two sensors that are connected across your garage door opening by a laser. If their connection is interrupted, it tells your garage door system that there is something underneath the door, and the door will retract. If one of the sensors is covered with dust, has something obstructing it or is not in line with the other one, it will break the connection, and the door will not close.


  • Remote control out of range or needing fresh batteries: The problem could simply be that the remote is out of juice or out of range. If the door opens with the remote when you get closer to it, this is often the issue. If you are able to open the door directly with a keypad or a button on the door but not the remote, replacing the batteries in your remote should do the trick.


  • Broken torsion or extension springs: Your garage door requires powerful springs to shoulder its heavy weight as it opens or closes. If one of these springs is broken, the door will not work correctly. If both are broken, it will not open or close at all. Telltale signs of broken springs include a loud banging noise, a snapped cable or a door that appears crooked.


  • Snapped or loose cables: If you have a snapped cable, you will be able to tell right away. Call a professional to replace the cable and possibly the spring it is connected to.


  • Garage door opener interruption caused by a power outage: If there is a power outage, make sure the power to your garage door opener is restored and then attempt to open the door. If there isn’t one, you may want to make sure the opener is plugged in.


  • The disconnect switch — red rope hanging from motor — is engaged: There is a disconnect cord you can pull to instantly shut off the automatic garage door opener in case you need to open it manually. Check to make sure you have not engaged this switch.


  • Garage door opener sensitivity needs to be readjusted: Garage door openers need to be set with a specific sensitivity. If its too high or too low, the door will not respond. You will find instructions in the manual on how to reset the sensitivity.


  • Garage door track misalignment: Your garage door has rollers that slide along tracks overhead to allow the door to retract and close. If there is debris blocking the track or on the rollers or if the wheels have somehow jumped the track, the door will not work.


  • The garage door has been locked: If you have physically engaged the locking knob to lock the door, it will not open, and trying to open it could damage the door.


  • Garage door path is blocked: Remember that if anything is interrupting the photo-eye sensor signal, the door will not close.

Some of these common garage door issues can be easily fixed with a few tweaks and adjustments, while others are more complex and require the assistance of a professional garage door repair company.

What to Do If Your Garage Door Isn’t Working

If you’re wondering why your garage door won’t close, correcting a problem with the photo eye sensors will often resolve the issue. But what do you do if your garage door still won’t open, or if your garage door won’t open all the way? If you’re trapped on either inside your garage or sitting in the driveway repeatedly clicking the remote, try a few safe troubleshooting methods to determine the cause of your improperly functioning garage door.


  1. Test the door: With the door closed, release the disconnect switch to remove the door from the garage door opener. Make sure all moving parts are free of debris and properly lubricated. Then try lifting the door. If it doesn’t move, the issue is most likely with the tracks. If you heard a loud bang similar to the sound of a firework, it’s likely the torsion spring broke. When the springs break, the cables that run alongside the door also tend to break. When springs or cables break, it’s best to call a professional to tend to the repairs.


  1. Check the remote control: If the garage door wall pad is properly opening and closing the garage door, try some troubleshooting techniques with the remote. Commonly, a door won’t open with the remote because the battery has weakened or died. If the remote works up close but not down the street, then you may be too far from the opener and the signal is being interrupted. If these solutions don’t work, try reprogramming the remote using the learn button on your machine — a large, colorful button on the back panel of the opener.


  1. Troubleshoot the Garage Door Opener: If your garage door opener will not open or close, first check that there’s not a power outage at your home or that the opener hasn’t been accidentally unplugged. To safely test the power, try plugging a lamp into the opener’s power outlet. If your garage door has power but won’t open, check that the disconnect switch hasn’t mistakenly been pulled, disengaging the door from the machine. If the machine makes a humming sound, it could be the sign of a stripped gear. Depending on the age and design of your opener, you can either replace this gear or replace the opener.

Call Jaursewski’s Garage Door Service Today

With a local hardware store, you may have access to all of the parts necessary to fix your garage door. However, this piece of machinery is heavy — many doors weigh over 400 pounds — and the risks of personal injury or exacerbating the problem are high. For residents in Carlisle, PA, and its surrounding areas, the best solution for fixing garage doors is contacting the repair and installation experts at Jarusewski’s Garage Door Service. Call us today at (717) 243-0712 to learn more about our services or complete our online form to receive a free estimate.

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