Common Garage Door Problems
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably take your garage door for granted. As long as it goes up and down when you need it to, you don’t think much about it.
Then one day, you walk out to the garage to leave for work.
You hit the button on the garage door opener.
You press the button again.
When your garage door doesn’t do what you want it to do, it’s easy to become frustrated. But garage door troubleshooting doesn’t have to be stressful. When you encounter problems with your garage door, it’s often one of six common automatic garage door problems. And, in many cases, there’s a simple solution. Knowing what you’re looking at can put your mind at ease and help you find a professional garage door repair company to quickly fix the problem.
Most Common Garage Door Problems
Although each door is different, there are definitely some common garage door problems that occur among homeowners everywhere. These garage door issues include:
1. Garage Door Won’t Close All the Way
Does your door go halfway down and then get stuck? Maybe your garage door only opens part way? In either case, a door that won’t go up and down as it should can be the first indication that a problem is present. Malfunctioning doors can indicate a problem with your door’s balance, the track itself, the garage door opener or even the springs attached to the door.
2. Broken or Old Springs
Your door moves up and down thanks to something called the torsion spring. If the spring breaks, then your door can’t move. If you’re home when this occurs, you’ll know the spring broke because you’ll hear a loud sound that mimics the sound of a firecracker. If you weren’t home when the spring broke, you’d still be able to identify the problem because you’ll likely be able to see the spring hanging down.
In some cases, the springs may not break, but they may become stretched out over time. When this happens, you might notice that the door doesn’t stay open or goes up and down more slowly than it should.
3. Worn Rollers and/or Bearings
If you hear a popping or squeaking sound when your door moves, then there may be a problem with the door’s rollers. The popping sound indicates that the rollers may be worn out, while the squeaking is a sign that the rollers and bearings need to be lubricated.
4. Obstructed Photo Eye Sensors
Photo eye sensors are installed as a safety feature to prevent your garage door from closing on top of objects or people standing in the door’s path. These sensors do a lot to protect your family and your vehicles, but if they malfunction or become blocked, they can prevent your door from closing properly.
5. Garage Door Opener Problems
Sometimes the problem may not be with your garage door. Rather, it’s with your garage door opener. There are several common garage door opener problems you may encounter. There could be a problem with the remote batteries or a problem with the opener’s transmitter. If your door won’t open at all, then it might be a sign that your garage door opener is to blame.
What’s Wrong With My Garage Door? FAQs and Answers
Garage doors can be rather predictable when it comes to their problems. Although we never recommend that you undertake major repairs on your garage door or opener, there are some simple solutions to common garage door issues that can help you troubleshoot the problem quickly.
1. Why Won’t My Garage Door Close?
One of the most common problems homeowners encounter with their garage doors is a door that’s stuck in the open position. The first thing to check when this happens is the photo eye sensors placed on either side of the garage door.
If your garage door won’t come down, take a soft, dry cloth and clean the photo sensor eye. You can also use a mild streak-free glass cleaner if it’s really dirty.
If you’ve cleaned the eyes, but the door still won’t budge, then inspect their alignment. When the sensors were initially installed, they should have been bolted into place. But if a bolt has come loose or something has knocked them out of alignment, they may not be in a position to work. If you can see that the alignment isn’t correct, gently try to bring the misaligned sensor back to its rightful place. Ideally, the two photo eye sensors should be aligned at the same angle and facing the same direction.
In some cases, if your garage door is not closing with the remote, then there may be an issue with the remote. More about that later!
2. Why Does My Garage Door Go Back Up?
The photo eye sensors we talked about in #1 can also make your garage door stop and go back up partway through closing. Why? The photo eye sensors are designed to sense objects and people in the path of the door and stop the door from closing on them. When they stop the door from continuing its downward path, they automatically send it back up. This is a valuable safety feature and also easy to correct.
If your door is only closing part of the way and then going back up, there may be something in the path of the door. In some cases, it may be obvious, such as a bike or other outdoor equipment. But, photo eye sensors are designed to be sensitive to all sorts of objects, which means that sometimes the offending object might not be so obvious. Depending on your sensors, they can also become obstructed by mud, leaves and other yard debris. Or, if there is dirt built up on the lenses, they may interpret the dirt as an object in the door’s path.
Clear all leaves, mud and other yard debris away from the threshold of your garage door. Clean the lenses as well.
If you’re sure that there’s nothing blocking your sensors, then inspect the door’s track. Sometimes, there can be buildup on the track that prevents the door from operating properly. You can clear buildup with a damp rag. It’s also a good idea to periodically wipe down your garage door’s track to prevent this issue from happening in the first place.
3. Does My Garage Door Need Repairs?
If your door is stuck in the open or closed position without a clear explanation, such as a need for new batteries in your remote transmitter or an object blocking the door’s photo eye sensors, then yes, it needs to be repaired.
Other clues that your door requires repairs include:
- Broken or stretched out torsion springs
- Unusual noises when the door goes up and down, such as screeching or squeaking
- Bent rails
- Broken cables
- Damage to the door itself, such as warping or cracks that interfere with its ability to move up and down.
If you suspect any of these problems, don’t try to repair the problem yourself. Although the thrill of DIY can be tempting, at-home garage door repair is a dangerous undertaking. Even with the best of intentions, you could accidentally injure yourself or someone else because you aren’t prepared for any and all scenarios. Resist the urge to handle the problem yourself. Call a trustworthy garage door repair company and allow them to properly diagnose and correct the problem.
4. Is My Garage Door Off-Balance?
The best way to test the balance of your garage door is to disconnect the garage door from the automatic opener. Then, manually lift the door a few feet off the ground. If the door is balanced, the springs will support it enough that it will stay in place or slowly coast back into place. If it’s off-balance, then it will quickly slide back down. Don’t go more than a few feet in the air before you let go because an unbalanced door will slide quickly, and you don’t want it crashing to the ground from a significant height.
5. Do I Need a New Garage Door?
If it’s maintained properly, the average garage door can last as long as 30 years. This means keeping the door and the tracks cleaned and free from dirt and debris. It also means addressing any dents, cracks or other issues in a timely fashion. If your door is nearing the 30-year mark, then it’s a good idea to have a professional garage door company perform maintenance on the door. They can alert you to any issues they find and also give you a heads up if they suspect your door will need to be replaced soon.
In some cases, your door may still be in good working order but be contributing to higher-than-necessary energy costs. This may be the case if your door isn’t insulated. In some cases, you may save money in the long run by replacing your older door with a newer, insulated model. When combined with other energy-saving measures, an insulated garage door can lower your energy costs and keep your home’s interior at a more comfortable temperature throughout the year.
In some cases, garage doors just don’t make it that long. The material they’re constructed from, frequency of use and the weather in your area are all big factors in determining the lifespan of your door. In general, it might be time for a new garage door if:
- Your garage door has cracks or dents that can’t be repaired and get worse each year.
- You find yourself putting a garage door repair company on speed dial because your garage door malfunctions a lot.
- Your door’s appearance is outdated.
- Your garage door predates certain important safety features, such as photo eye sensors.
Another great reason to replace your garage door is to improve your home’s curb appeal. Replacing the garage door is a budget-friendly way to make major exterior improvements to your home. This can be especially important if you’re preparing to sell your home because, on average, replacing your garage door has a 98.3 percent or higher return on investment. In other words, you get back almost everything you paid for it when it’s time to sell your home.
6. Why Is My Garage Door Opener Not Working?
If your door won’t open, and you’re sure it’s not the door itself, then the first thing you need to do is check the batteries in your remote. In many cases, the batteries may just need to be replaced.
In some cases, the opener may not work if you’ve tried to activate it with the remote when you’re too far away from your garage. Depending on the remote you’re using, you may have to actually be in front of your driveway before it activates the opener.
If you’re sure it’s not the remote, then take a look at the antenna on your garage door opener. It should be hanging down from the motor with nothing blocking it. Also, inspect it to make sure it hasn’t been damaged in some way.
If none of these common garage door opener problems appear to be the culprit, then you can reset the transmitter. Consult your owner’s manual for this.
If your garage door opener is older, you may also want to schedule maintenance with a professional garage door repair technician. They can identify any issues you might have missed or tell you if it’s time for a replacement.
Professional Garage Door Service and Repair
When it comes to garage door repair, it’s important to leave it to the professionals. It can be dangerous to address these issues on your own. You can inadvertently put your life or the life of someone else in jeopardy when you begin to work with a heavy garage door. Although you may find a lot of information online about DIY garage door repair, when it comes to garage doors, we recommend that you leave it to the professionals.
Besides that, professional garage door repair can also be a big timesaver. When you hire a professional to complete the work, they can identify the problem and have your door functioning again in a fraction of the time it would take you to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
Garage Door Issues? Let Olympic Garage Door Help
If you’re like the majority of Americans, your garage door is your primary entrance and exit into your home. If it’s not working properly, it can turn your whole day upside down. But finding a solution doesn’t have to be stressful. Serving local communities including Port Angeles, Sequim, and Port Townsend, Olympic Garage Door prides itself on offering high-quality service for garage doors and openers of all kinds.
If you’re in the market for a new garage door, we’ve got that covered too. We have the Olympic Penninsula’s largest selection of contemporary and classic garage doors and accessories, and our experienced sales representatives can help you select the right door for your home and your budget.
Don’t let a troublesome garage door get in your way. Contact Olympic Garage Door today.
How to Open a Garage Door Without Power
How to Open a Garage Door Without Power
Coming home to a non-functioning garage door can be incredibly frustrating. Whether it’s a dead battery in your remote or a power outage, you should know how to open and shut your garage door manually. You don’t want your vehicle to get stuck in the garage, unable to leave, while you wait for a maintenance specialist. To open the door successfully, you’ll need to know the common causes, standard procedures and safety tips to open a garage door on your own.
Electric Garage Door Stopped Working
If you find you can’t open your garage door from the outside, you’ll need to figure out what is causing the issues. Before you try to open it manually, run through the common reasons why a garage door stops working to make sure you can safely open it on your own.
See some of the most common examples below.
- The photo eye is damaged or dirty: Many garage doors have a photo eye that rests about four to six inches off the ground. It sends a laser across the garage that stops the garage door from closing if something gets in the way of the laser beam. If a cord to the photo eye is cut or damaged, it might be affecting it. Additionally, the eye could have dirt or dust on it that you should clean.
- Broken torsion springs: One of the most common sources of a garage door needing repair is a spring breaking. You’ll often hear a loud snap or something that resembles a firecracker going off when the spring breaks. If a spring breaks, you should wait for a professional to repair it, and you should not try to open the garage door on your own.
- Snapped cable: When a torsion spring breaks, the garage door cable will often snap off with it. A snapped cable can do damage to anything in its way. This sort of problem will require an in-depth, professional repair job. As with the scenario of broken torsion springs, you should not try to open the garage manually, as it could be dangerous.
- Disconnect switch: A garage door opener will almost always come with a disconnect switch that lets you open the door manually. If you’ve accidentally activated the switch, the motor will disconnect, so you’ll want to check if this is the case before you try to open the door manually.
- Disrupted power source: Occasionally, the problem is not with the door, but with the power source connected to the door. Make sure you have your garage door opener plugged into a working outlet. You’ll also want to check your GFCI, fuse and circuit breaker.
- Malfunctioning remote control: Sometimes, there is a problem with the remote control. The issue might be that you’re out of range, or the battery could be dead. Also, you may need to reprogram the remote. Check to see if the antenna on the garage’s motor has gotten damaged or if something could be blocking it.
- Sensitivity adjustment: Regardless of how long you’ve had your garage door, the sensitivity may be set too low or high. A sensitivity that is not set correctly will leave the garage door unable to open.
- Door not on its track: A door needs to be on track to slide properly. Check to see the door rolls smoothly on the metal track. You should also look for any alterations along the track, like bumps, obstacles or gaps. To fix this, you’ll need to loosen the screws for the tracks, tap the track into the right position, then re-tighten the previously loosened screws.
- Locked door: Occasionally, a garage door that isn’t working will come down to a problem with the user. A garage door can be locked, so you’ll want to see if someone has accidentally engaged a lock mechanism.
- Unseen obstacles: If you have trouble closing your garage door, it may be due to something on the tracks or in the way of the laser. Look for any obstacles and wipe down the track to dislodge any dirt or debris that might be in the way.
Can You Open a Garage Door Without Electricity?
If you can’t figure out why your garage door is not working after a power outage, you can still open it without electricity. Knowing how to open your garage door manually will come in handy any time the power goes out or something malfunctions. To open up a garage door on your own, you’ll need to take the necessary precautions, undo some pins and lift the door from the ground, to name only a few of the actions needed.
People can generally complete this job on their own, but if the garage door is heavy, you may want to bring someone along to assist you as you pull the gate up. Safety should always be your top priority, so you don’t hurt your back trying to lift the garage door.
Learning the proper steps to open your garage door manually will be a big help, as you’ll want to be able to get your car out of the garage to get to work. On the flip side, if the power’s out due to inclement weather, you’ll want to get your vehicle inside to protect it, so it’s crucial you know how to manually open a garage door when the power is out.
Steps to Open Your Garage Door With No Power
If you need to know how to open a garage door without power, you’ll want to follow the below steps to give yourself access to the garage again.
- To begin the process, you’ll first need to make sure all the springs or cables are intact, along with ensuring there hasn’t been any damage to the rest of the garage door system. If the garage door is damaged, you might end up harming it more in the process. Along with damaging the garage, a broken cable or spring could hurt you. If you do find any issues with the garage door, it will be best to call a professional to make the repairs or open the garage.
- Once you’ve verified there are no problems that require a more in-depth repair, you’ll want to find the emergency cord. This cord usually comes with a red handle attached to it and will hang from the center of the garage door mechanism. If there’s not a red cord, but there is a cord hanging from the center of the garage door mechanism, it’s likely the emergency cord. You may need a ladder to reach it, as well.
- You’ll want to pull the cord until the lever locks into a down position. It will cause the release lever to disengage from the carriage of the garage door opener. By releasing the lever, you’ll now be able to move the garage door without any electrical assistance.
- With the lever released, lift the garage door. Bring the door back to its end, where the door is fully open and you can no longer move it back away from the entrance. You don’t want to close the door and have it fall on your vehicle or yourself, so making sure it’s all the way back is essential.
- If the garage door does not lift easily from the ground, you’ll want to have a professional examine it to see if there’s any damage that could represent safety risks. A smooth opening will indicate the springs are balanced correctly, and you can be confident you aren’t harming your garage door by manually opening it.
- Once the door is completely open, you can drive your vehicle in or out of the garage, whichever suits your needs. You can then close the door in the same way you opened it.
- If you want to secure your garage, you’ll need to re-engage the lever after you leave. To do this, you’ll need to use a long stick, like the end of a broom, to push the level upward. You can also climb a ladder and press it up. Along with these methods, you can also ensure the mechanism re-engages by pulling the cord towards the door motor. You’ll need to pull the release cord until you hear the mechanism click in place.
- Whenever you leave your home without your garage door working, you’ll want to ensure you have another way to enter your home. It can be more challenging to open the door from the outside, so you’ll want an alternate entrance. After the work you put into opening it manually, you don’t want to have to end up calling a locksmith to help you enter your home.
Alternative Methods for Opening a Garage
If for some reason your garage door won’t open even with the emergency release cord, you’ll need to go through a detailed process.
- First, find the door opener carriage assembly, then remove the cotter and clevis pins from it. You may need a ladder to reach them safely.
- By removing the pins, you’ll now be able to lift the door, as it’s disconnected from the garage door mechanism.
- If you can’t reach the door opener carriage assembly, you can go to the door arm bracket attached to the door by removing the cotter and clevis pins.
- Like removing the pins from the door opener carriage assembly, the door will now be separate from the garage door mechanism, and you’ll be able to lift it manually. If you take it from the door opener carriage assembly, you’ll want to be careful with the door arm as you lower it to ensure you don’t damage it.
How to Safely Open Your Garage Door Manually
Along with the above steps, there are a few safety precautions you should follow to ensure you stay safe while you manually open the garage door.
1. Disconnect Power Cord
Even if your power is out, you should still disconnect the power cord from your garage door opener. Take this step before you do anything else to open the door manually. It’s essential to ensure no power is running into the opener that could harm you while you attempt to remove anything from the garage door’s mechanisms.
2. Don’t Operate a Damaged Garage Door
If your garage door no longer opens due to damage, you will not want to try to open it by yourself. In this case, you’ll need to call a professional to assist you. For instance, if your garage door has glass windows that have shattered, you won’t want to open the door even if it is fully functional, since broken glass could fall on you or your vehicle.
3. Read the Manual
Your owner’s manual might contain some crucial information about operating your garage door manually. While some general steps apply to most garage doors, you should still check to see if your door differs from the norm.
By looking at the manual, you might discover removing a part could harm your garage door or cause an issue that could make you and your family less safe. Understanding the traits of your garage door will help you stay safe and protect your investment.
4. Don’t Ever Fix Cables or Springs by Yourself
While it’s not dangerous to remove the cotter or clevis pin from your garage door, you should not attempt to fix any cables or springs by yourself. A mishandled cable could come snapping back at you, causing severe harm to you or anyone else in the garage.
Along with any physical harm that could come your way, an improperly installed cable or spring could stress other parts of the garage door. As a result of this stress, the garage door might have issues opening and closing. To avoid causing further damage than a broken cable, you’ll want to call in the professionals to fix the door the right way.
Want to Upgrade or Install a Garage Door?
At Olympic Garage Door, we regularly serve homes and businesses throughout the Olympic Peninsula. Due to this experience, we know just how crucial a functional and attractive garage door is to any building. We also understand that even though you should know how to open the garage manually, a fault in a company’s products should never be the reason you need to. That’s why we offer only the highest-quality garage door systems on the market.
If you’re interested in speaking with one of our trusted representatives about your needs, give us a call or send us a message. Along with speaking to a representative, you can schedule service easily through our online form.