5 Reasons Your Garage Door Isn’t Opening

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There is nothing as frustrating as getting ready for work, heading out to the car and trying to open your garage door, only to find it won’t open.  Not only is this frustrating and stressful because it means you have to solve the problem or call out a professional to do it; but, it could be costly in terms of time and money as you will be delayed in getting to work on time.  


While there are always exceptions to the case, more often than not the reason why your garage door is not functioning properly is one of a handful of more common causes.  In the following post, we will look specifically at five of these, to help you troubleshoot just what might be wrong with your garage door.


Dead Transmitter Batteries


Although this is probably a fairly obvious sounding explanation, it is worth checking if the transmitters for your garage door are operating properly.  These are essential for the power to work.  Therefore, if the batteries in the transmitters are dead, they will be unable to transmit the signal that causes your garage door to open or close.  You can do this by checking if the pressing the transmitter on your garage’s wall opens the door.  If it does, it could be that the transmitter in your car needs a battery change.


Batteries in transmitters are easy enough to change.  Whether it is one in your car or on your key chain or on the wall of your garage – you either slide or unscrew the door from the back and take the old batteries out and replace them with new ones.  


Photo-Eye Is Not Aligned Properly


On modern garage door designs, there are two small photo eyes on either side of the entrance.  These transmit a beam of invisible light between one another that detects when anything is close to the garage door.  Garage doors have this safety feature to prevent your garage doors from trying to close down on something or someone and causing damage or injury.


When your garage doors open without any issue but don’t close when you press the remote button, the very first thing you should check is the photo eyes.  The light beam from these photo eyes can be blocked if there is dirt or debris that has gathered on them over time.  This can also cause them to not be properly aligned so that the beams never meet up in the middle.  


You can clean your garage door photo eyes, but you need to make sure you do not scratch or damage them as the glass is similar to that used on the lenses of cameras.  Although they have a diameter of only a few centimeters, they can still get very dirty very easily.  It is best to use a soft cloth with a very mild cleaner that is streak-free.  Wipe any residue or dirt from the eye and avoid over-saturating it with moisture as it will just encourage dirt to collect there again quickly.


What if the photo eyes are clean and the door still won’t close though?  You need to then check the alignment.  They should be pointing in the same direction and same angle.  If they are off even by a centimeter, they won’t align properly and will assume something is blocking them in some way.  When you are checking the alignment, measure the height of the photo eyes are off the ground and use this to ensure they are pointing at one another.  A laser spirit level is handy for checking this, but even if you do not have one at home, a standard spirit level will do the trick too.


After you have followed the procedures above and it is still not working properly, it may be time to contact a professional.


Track Is Misaligned


It can be a serious problem if your garage door track is misaligned.  In order for the garage door to function properly the metal track, the door runs on needs to be aligned correctly.  Check for any gaps between the rail and rollers or if there are any bends in the actual rails.  If you spot any of these tell-tale signs, this is why it is not opening or shutting properly.  these problems can be made worse by the heavy weight of the door and can even make it dangerous to use the door.


If you find that the garage door track is misaligned, but the door still works, there are a number of things you can do to fix the problem on your own.  An audible rubbing noise when the garage door reaches certain points along the track while it opens or closes is a good indication that there might be an alignment issue.  It could be that the door also slows down when it reaches these spots.


To attempt to realign the door track, you need to locate and loosen the screws holding the track onto the frame and then use a mallet to gently tap the track into the correct position.  Make sure you use a spirit level to check it is straight.  Once you have aligned the track again, re-tighten the screws and check the door.


If there is not an alignment issue, then it is crucial that you hire a professional to inspect the issue and repair it.  


Faulty Transmitters


The transmitters may not be functioning properly for a number of reasons, besides the batteries being dead.  Most commonly, it could be that you are not within range for the door to function properly.

Ever garage door transmitter and door have a specific range they operate within.  If there are issues when you are trying to open the door before you can even see it, you may just be out of range.  Wait until you reach your driveway, then try again and it should function properly.


However, if you are definitely in range and the door still is not opening, you need to first check the antenna hanging from the motor in your garage to ensure nothing is obstructing it.  If there is something blocking it, the signal from the transmitter to the antenna will not be received and the door won’t open or close properly.  Also, check for any damage to the antenna.  You will need to call out a professional to repair any damages if there are any.


Something Is Obstructing Your Garage Door’s Path


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As highlighted earlier in this post, garage doors have a safety feature that prevents them closing if something is in the pathway, to prevent damage or injury.  If your garage door only closes a little and then goes back up it could be that there are items such as toys or bin cans or bins in the pathway of the door.  Even if there is nothing as big as those items, there could still be a build-up of dirt and debris on the tracks that is stopping the rollers moving.  This could be mud, chewing gum or even rocks.  Even if there is a relatively small item, the door will avoid closing on it and not function properly.  


When there are problems with your garage doors opening or closing properly, it is always recommended that you check to see if there is anything blocking the sensors or the door pathway.  You may also need to get a ladder and check the tops of garage tracks.   


As you can see from the above, there are several reasons why your garage doors are not functioning properly.  If you are in any doubt about what is wrong with your doors, it is important that you call a garage door technician for help.  There is no point trying to fix the problem yourself, if you don’t feel confident about being able to do so, without possibly making the issues worse.  

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