Age, wear, user-error and general bad luck will trigger issues with your garage door. In most cases, your door will be problem-free for years, if not more than a decade. But there are times when niggling problems occur, causing frustration and leaving the less mechanically-minded customers feeling a little lost.
The good news is that most problems are small and can be remedied with a few simple fixes, as described in this troubleshooting guide.
Rubbing Noise; Gaps Between Rollers and Rail
If there is a gap between the rollers and the rail, or if the rail is not straight, then you need an immediate fix. This misalignment will only get worse with repeated use, as the heavy-duty frame gradually dislodges them further. If this happens, you should be able to see the gaps. You may also hear a scraping/rubbing sound when the door opens (most likely at a certain point on its ascent).
Fortunately, you can fix this yourself. The track is held to the frame with a number of screws. Simply loosen these, knock it back into place and then tighten the screws.
Transmitter Doesn’t Work
There are a few reasons your transmitters might not work properly. The first thing you should do is make sure that you’re in range. Different doors have different ranges, and just because a previous door allowed you to open from halfway down the street doesn’t mean a new one will. If you’re confident that you’re well within range and the door is still not responsive, then check to make sure the area around the antenna is clear.
If there is anything in the way then at the very least it will limit your range, and at most it will stop it from working altogether. You should also make sure the antenna is not damaged. You’ll need to get it fixed by a professional if it is.
Transmitter Has a Mind of its Own
If your door is opening and closing seemingly at will and you’re sure that your transmitter isn’t being pressed, then there may be an issue with the frequency. It could be picking up signals from a neighbor, in which case you simply need to change the frequency. You can find instructions for this in the owner’s manual.
If this still doesn’t work, you may need to reprogram it. In most cases, you simply need to press and hold a button, wait for a blinking light to appear, and then press another button. However, some devices differ, so you should check the manual.
Door Not Opening/Closing All of the Way
Garage doors are designed to close steadily and to stop when there is something in the way. This way they can avoid crushing your car (or you) if it gets stuck underneath. So, if your door is not closing all of the way then you should first check to make sure there is nothing underneath it.
If the path is clear, then check the tracks. There may be a build-up of dirt that is stopping the rollers from moving past a certain point. Be sure to check every inch, using a stepladder to scan the top.
It’s not uncommon for dirt, sand and other debris to get into the tracks, especially if you live somewhere hot and dry. Manufacturers recommend that you regularly clean and maintain your door and the mechanisms to avoid this, but a simple check and scrub when these problems arise should suffice.
Motor Runs and Then Shuts Off: Door Won’t Open
If this happens to your door then it may have been manually locked. To confirm this, the first thing you should do is check the torsion springs and tracks to see if there is anything in the way. If everything is clear then look for the manual lock.
Manual locks are more common in older doors but are also fitted to many newer ones. They come in the shape of a handle hat sits in the middle of the door and has several bars running either side of it. This lock can be engaged in many ways, from small buttons that can be pressed to perform a quick lock, to knobs that need to be turned. In the case of the former, it’s something that can be accidentally pressed, in which case the door is locked without your knowledge.
To unlock it, simply turn the handle until the bars retract.
Door Falls Closed with a Bang!
As mentioned above, garage doors are fitted with cables or springs that help them to gradually close. If these cables are broken then there is no support and the door simply falls closed. Not only is this incredibly dangerous for the homeowner, but it can also damage the integrity of the door with each closing.
There is very little that the average homeowner can do in these situations and it’s advised that you get a professional in. Check with the suppliers or manufacturers of your door. If there is no guarantee in place, then they should still be able to fix the problem for a small charge. If you fancy yourself as a dab hand with this sort of stuff you can also take a look at our guide on How to Fix Your Own Garage Door Spring.
In the meantime, try to refrain from using the door. If your car gets caught underneath, it could cause serious damage.
Transmitters and Motor are Fine, But Door Won’t Lift
If your door will not open and you’re confident that the motor and the transmitters are functioning correctly, there’s a good chance you have a problem with your torsion spring.
These are heavy-duty springs that do all of the hard work when opening your door. With repeated use, even the best springs and the lightest doors won’t last. They all have a limited cycle, and when that cycle is up then the springs may break.
There are usually two torsion springs per door, but it only takes one of these to break for the door not to open. If this happens to you, then there’s a good chance you’ll hear the moment that the spring(s) break. In fact, even the neighbors down the street will be able to hear it.