What Could Be Wrong With My Garage Door?
When your garage door isn’t working properly, it can be a major frustration for everyone in the household. Doors that won’t open at all, open and close at the wrong times or won’t close all the way — many different garage door issues can cause these problems. Sometimes there are easy fixes you can perform yourself at home if you know what to look for. Other times, it’s best to call in the pros. Let’s go through some simple garage door troubleshooting, so you know when to call for professional help and get your garage door up and running again.
How to Detect Common Garage Issues
If your garage door isn’t working, it could be due to a wide variety of causes. Often, the cause is something simple, so it’s best to start by checking over a few important parts of the garage door to try to determine the problem.
Check to make sure that the unit is plugged in to a power source in the garage. Sometimes, the power cord will accidentally get unplugged, cutting off the power to the whole setup. Next, check your remote and batteries — fresh batteries installed the right way might make all the difference. You can also check to make sure the disconnect switch is not enabled. This is the knob or pull cord you can use to manually open the door when the power goes out, and it sometimes may accidentally get pulled.
Some garage doors, especially older models, have manual locks as an added safety feature. Check to see if your door has a manual lock and if it was accidentally locked. Look for a metal bar about halfway up the garage door.
It may also be that when using your remote transmitter, you may be too far out of range. Many people try to open their garage door from too far away. Try pressing the button right in your driveway to see if it works closer up. Another issue related to the remote is the frequency. If you somehow are on the same frequency as your neighbor’s garage door opener, your door could be opening and closing when they push their remote button. If you suspect this is the case, check your manual for instructions on resetting the frequency.
If the problem is not related to the power source, take a look at the photo eyes. These are the sensors on either side of the door used for detecting if anything is in the way of the garage door — an excellent safety feature when working correctly. However, if the photo eyes are out of alignment or if the lenses are blocked or clogged, they won’t work effectively. Make sure nothing is in the way of the sensors.
Look at the tracks for the garage door and check for any bends or gaps between the rails and rollers, as this can signify a serious issue. Also, check the torsion springs or tension springs and cables. Broken springs often make a loud noise when they break and can be dangerous to work with. If you notice broken springs or cables, call a professional garage door repair company right away. Keep kids away from the broken garage door and park outside until the problem is fixed.
Reasons Why Your Garage Door Might Not Work
Now that you know some common signs to look for to determine what might be wrong with your garage door, let’s cover some common reasons why the door might not work.
1. Problems With the Remote
One of the most common garage door problems — and easiest fixes — has to do with the remote, or transmitter. The remote may be out of battery power or have improperly installed batteries. It also could be out of range of the main unit or on the wrong frequency. If you and your neighbor have accidentally used the same frequency for your garage door transmitters, it could cause problems for you both. Luckily this is a fairly easy fix — check your manual for instructions on changing the frequency or call a pro for help.
If the issue isn’t batteries or frequency, something could be obstructing the signal between the remote and the main unit. The antenna might need cleaning if too much dust or debris has collected. Make sure the antenna is pointed in the right direction and isn’t broken. Also, check around the garage for new growth on trees. Sometimes, branches or other obstructions can get in the way of the garage door signal. You might need to trim some branches to get a clear signal.
2. Out-of-Alignment or Blocked Photo Eyes
Any garage door installed after the early 90s has small photo eyes on both sides of the door entrance. These sensors were developed as a safety feature and may have tiny green flashing lights that indicate they’re working. The photo eyes send an invisible beam to each other to check for anything in the way of the door when it’s closing. If anything is in the way, the sensors will send the garage door back up.
Over time, the sensors can become dirty or clogged, insects could build a nest or web over them or a small item from the garage could simply be in their way. Any of these obstructions keep the photo eyes — and garage door — from doing their jobs. Even if the sensors are clean, the alignment could be off. If they are not aligned correctly, the sensors can’t send signals to each other, and the garage door likely will not be able to close. The photo eyes need to be aimed at each other and placed at the same height and angle.
3. Incorrect Limit Settings
Similar to the photo eyes, the limit settings tell the garage door how far to go down before being fully closed. If these settings are off, when the garage door closes fully, the opener may think it’s hitting something that’s in the way, causing it to send the door back up. If the settings are too far in the opposite direction, the door may not close all the way.
The limit settings are usually adjusted by turning knobs or dials on the garage door motor, and it may take several adjustments before the settings are correct. It’s a good idea to make small adjustments and check again as you go. An experienced garage door professional can make these adjustments quickly and easily.
4. Misaligned Tracks
If the garage door is completely off of its track, it may be obvious that’s the problem. However, sometimes the track is just slightly misaligned, which can still cause issues. Tracks that are bent or misaligned will prevent the door from opening and closing properly. This issue may cause the door to get stuck along the way or make squeaking noises while moving. A damaged track on one side will put pressure on the other side, likely leading to damage on the opposite track too. Once the tracks are damaged, the heavy weight of the door can cause the problem to rapidly get worse, making for a dangerous situation that you shouldn’t try to repair by yourself.
5. Broken Springs
Your door may have extension springs or torsion springs, both of which can break and need repair. A broken torsion spring will stay in place in the shaft but will make a loud noise when it breaks. Extension springs can break apart or fly off from the garage door, causing severe damage or injury if they hit anything or anyone. Whichever type you have, these springs do the heavy lifting required to move the door and eventually wear out.
You’ll have one spring on each side of the door, and if even one is broken, you’ll need a repair. Replacing both springs at the same time will save you money in the long run, reducing the chances of a second repair shortly after repairing the first spring. If you have a broken spring, stop using the garage door immediately and call in the pros to help. A garage door with broken springs can be incredibly dangerous.
6. Broken Cables
Garage door cables can wear out and break on their own, but more frequently, they break around the same time as the springs. Just as with the springs, when a cable snaps, it’s dangerous to be in the way. When a spring breaks, the cable is the only thing holding the door up, so it can snap quite easily. A broken cable is also a serious issue that requires you to stop using the garage door and contact an experienced garage door repair service.
7. Stripped Gears in the Opener
If the gears inside the opener are stripped, the door may make a humming sound and fail to open when you press the button on your remote. You can still use the door, but you’ll need to open it manually. It’s possible to find replacement gears, but you’ll often need to replace the entire opener. Replacing the opener is a job for the professionals.
8. Power Loss
If your garage door isn’t connected to its power source, it won’t open and close unless you move it manually. The same is true if the power source is off or damaged.
You may have accidentally activated the disconnect switch, cord or knob, which disconnects the door from the motor. If when you press the button to open or close your garage door, you hear the motor running, but the door doesn’t move, the disconnect switch may be activated. To reconnect your door to your motor, open the garage door all the way, and reattach the hook to the motor. If you can’t safely figure out how to reconnect the door and motor, call a garage door repair professional.
If you press the button and the motor doesn’t run at all, it may have lost power. This could be because a cord is unplugged, the outlet broke, the power in your house went out or a widespread power outage occurred. To fix this issue, follow the same process you would when any other device loses power. You may need to plug a cord back in, replace an outlet, flip a circuit breaker, call an electrician or notify your power company of an outage.
Why You Should Trust Blankenship Garage Doors to Repair Your Garage Door
Any of the above garage door problems can cause major frustration. As a preventative measure, you should perform an annual inspection to identify any potential issues before they get worse. Start with a visual inspection of the whole garage door system, looking for anything that may need a closer look, cleaning or repair. Next, open the door, watching and listening for any strange noises or imbalances in the way the door goes up.
During your inspection, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact a professional like Blankenship Garage Doors. Some fixes are easy — like new batteries for the remote door opener — but many garage door repair jobs are best left to experienced professionals.
Online videos and how-to articles make home repair look easy, but these resources are often made by seasoned experts. In reality, repairing a garage door is often no easy task and can be downright dangerous if you don’t have the right experience. Professional garage door technicians know how to complete repairs correctly and safely. They can also complete quickly, saving you loads of time as well as frustration.
Professional garage door repair technicians know how to check all power sources and secure garage door parts before proceeding with any repairs to ensure the safety of everyone around. Garage doors have many complicated parts that can be difficult to repair and pose unique safety hazards. It’s also important to note that if your garage door is under warranty, the warranty may be voided if you attempt some of the repairs yourself. It’s best to keep your warranty and save yourself the hassle by having your garage door repaired professionally.
At Blankenship Garage Door, our team of highly trained technicians have years of experience, so you know they’ll do the job right. We guarantee all of our work and even schedule repairs outside of normal business hours to provide the most flexibility and convenience for our customers. Schedule an appointment that works for you, and our technicians will arrive on time and fix your broken springs, rollers or cables or other problems. We’ll get to the bottom of your garage door issue and fix it right the first time.
Request Service With Blankenship Garage Door
When your garage door needs maintenance or repairs, hire the very best. The experienced staff at Blankenship Garage Door are ready to take your service request and schedule a repair appointment that works for you. We’ve been providing premium service to both residential and commercial clients in Central Oregon for more than 20 years. Just fill out our quick and easy online service request form, and we’ll get back to you to schedule a convenient appointment to get your garage door back on track.