Common Garage Door Problems

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.

Nothing happens.

You press the button again.

Still nothing.

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 to prevent safety issues. 

Most Common Problems with Garage Doors

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 Door Springs

Broken Garage Door Repairs

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 door 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?

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:

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 as the door closes. 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?

Garage Door Average Life Span

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 to help you keep your garage door operating. 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

Contact Olympic Garage Door

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 to a broken garage door 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 for commercial and garage door maintenance and services.

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