Common Garage Door Problems and How to Fix Them

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There’s a variety of reasons for why your garage door may not be functioning properly. The causes range from dead transmitter batteries to something blocking the door’s path. Fortunately, the answer is usually something easily resolvable.

Some common garage door problems — and how to fix them — are:

1. A Tentative Door

When the garage door starts to lower and then stays down for about a second before coming back up, it’s likely a sign that there is something blocking the door’s path. Since the door attempted to go down, that suggests there’s nothing wrong with the batteries or transmitter.

Garage doors are designed so they don’t crush objects in their path. Otherwise, it would present a very dangerous prospect. Check the area around the door to make sure nothing is blocking it. If it’s all clear, the issue could also be a buildup of debris on the tracks that’s preventing the rollers from moving forward. Dirt, mud and rocks can build up there, and if a door hits that debris, it will go back up, resulting in this tentative door.

The resolution to a garage door that’s reopening is either something blocking the path or debris build-up. The latter may require a step ladder to view the tracks on the top part of the system, but otherwise this issue can be resolved fairly easily by moving whatever is blocking the door.

2. A Non-Responsive Garage Door

If the door isn’t responding at all, it’s likely that the door’s transmitter batteries are dead. This prevents a strong enough signal being sent to the receiver to open the door. You might still see the lights on the receiver light up, or it may try to open. But, if the door remains shut when you push the buttons, try replacing the batteries in your handheld transmitter.

Changing the battery is a simple process that requires sliding the door open on the back of the transmitter, removing the old battery, then replacing it with another. Make sure the plus and minus signs are lined up, like conventional batteries, and test it. The door should work now.

3. Misaligned Photo Eye

If your garage door is refusing to open or opens a bit and then stops, it also could be due to a misaligned photo eye. Garage doors developed after 1993 have two tiny photo eyes that transmit an invisible beam to detect if anything is in a garage door’s path. If the door keeps stopping, yet clearly nothing is blocking it from closing, the eyes could be misaligned or dirty.

Be careful not to scratch or damage the photo eye when cleaning it, since it’s only a few centimeters in diameter and can be fragile. Use a soft cloth and a mild cleaner to wipe away any dirt or residue. After this, make sure the alignment is correct — the eyes should be pointing in the same direction and at the same angle. They need to register each other to accurately detect if anything is in the garage door’s path. A level can also be used to ensure they are pointing directly at each other.

Read more: Common Garage Door Problems and How to Fix Them

Related article: 8 Ways to Improve Garage Door Security

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