Basic Garage Door Problems and Quick Fixes

Another happy customer.  We removed his old door and we installed a brand new door Model 4050 Clopay!

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New garage doors work like a charm. Yet, every year we find a few more situations that even surprise us due to aging garage door parts. While there are times that you need to call for help, many problems simply require knowing what’s wrong to fix the problem yourself. To help you troubleshoot the common garage door issues, here are the top 10 reasons your garage door won’t work.

  1. Transmitter Batteries
    It may sound cliché, but people still forget or fail to realize that the transmitter requires power to work. And this can sometimes include the transmitter on the wall in your garage too. You should also realize that if the battery goes in one place, it may have run out in others at the same time because you probably installed them on the same day.
  1. Your Photo Eye is out of Alignment
    On either side of your garage door are photo eyes. Between the two eyes is an invisible beam that when broken, prevents the door from closing. If your door won’t close, check to make sure these photo eyes are not misaligned or dirty. If they are, here’s a guide for cleaning and inspecting a garage door photo eye. 
  1. Track is out of Alignment
    If you’re garage door track is out of alignment, it can be a serious issue. The metal track that your door runs on needs to be aligned properly for the door to move. If you see gaps between the rollers and rail or bends in the rails themselves you have a problem. The weight for the door can compound these issues over time until it becomes dangerous to operate your door so call for help. 
  1. Garage Door Opens/Closes Randomly
    If you discover your door opening or closing at random times, even when you are not home, it can be a little disturbing. The first thing to check is your transmitters. Make sure they are not stuck under something that can inadvertently depress the control mechanism. For example, they could be under a pile of papers on your car seat or in the dog house. You may also want to test your transmitter’s frequency. It is possible that a neighbor has the same frequency and is opening your garage along with their own. 
  1. Garage Door Closes Part Way, Then Opens Again
    Garage doors are designed with a reversing mechanism that prevent them from crushing objects in their path. This can be triggered by objects on the ground blocking their path such as garbage cans or toys, but could be caused by a buildup of debris on the tracks that prevents the rollers from moving forward. This could include small items like coat hangers, mud or gum. (Testing Reversing Mechanism of Your Garage Door).
  2. Door Won’t Go Up
    Garage doors can be very heavy and despite what most people think, it is not the garage door opener that does the heavy lifting, but rather the springs of the door. Doors come with one or two torsion springs. If either spring is broken, the garage door opener may struggle to lift the weight of the door or fail to open the door at all. If the spring is broken, call a professional for service as these can be very dangerous to work with. 
  1. Door Goes Down All the Way, Then Opens Again
    If this happens, the most likely culprit are the open and close limit settings of your garage door opener. This range tells the garage door opener how far the door should move before it is fully closed. If your settings are too high, the door will hit the ground before the opener thinks it should and assume the door is hitting something in its path. It will then automatically reverse to prevent crushing it. Check your operator’s manual for how to set the open and close limits. 
  1. Automatic Garage Door Opener Runs but Door Doesn’t Move
    Every garage door opener comes with a disconnect switch in case the power fails to allow you to open or close the door manually. This switch is usually attached to a rope or knob that can be accidentally unhooked. Close or open the door all the way and then reattached this hook secure. Then try opening or closing the door again with your transmitter. 
  1. Automatic Garage Door Opener Runs for a Few Seconds then Turns Off but Door Doesn’t Move
    This normally happens when the door is closed and the motor is trying to lift the door and it won’t move. First check the springs (see #6 above) and if that isn’t the problem check the track for obstacles (see #5 above). If neither of these issues exists, check to make sure your garage door doesn’t have a built in lock that has been engaged directly. These are very common in older doors and can be easily engaged by accident. 
  1. The Garage Door Closes Very Quickly, Often With a Bang
    There are two possibilities here. The first is a broken tension spring that should be countering the weight of the door and the second is broken cables connecting the tension spring on some doors. In either case, you should have a garage door profession service your door as these can be dangerous components to work with.

Hopefully these DIY problem cures would have helped you, if unfortunately not then don’t waste time and contact professional garage door service.  Don’t forget to call us at (215) 805-9209 for fast and affordable service or visit


16 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Garage Repair


Electric garage doors are a great convenience — until, of course, they break. The bad news: a dozen things could be to blame. The good news: many are easy to fix yourself. No surprise that they often need attention. They also have the most moving parts. Parts can wear out or break, things can get out of alignment. All it takes is one item that is not working and the whole door can be rendered useless.

The garage door springs do the heavy lifting. When the door is down they are stretched. When you lift the door, the springs recoil and lift the weight of the door for you. The door follows tracks and uses rollers to stay in place. The moving parts need to be lubricated and the tracks need to stay in alignment. There are also hinges that hold the panels together. If any of these items fail, you will need to make an overhead garage door repair. You can get the know-how, to repair garage doors without too much difficulty.

Here are a few tips and tricks:

  • Check plug See if the opener’s cord is plugged into a working outlet. Of course it’s a ‘duh’ — but it’s also the most common reason electric garage doors don’t open.
  • See if lock is on now check the second most-common stupid reason that an electric garage door won’t open—the owner inadvertently activated the ‘lock’ feature. Many people aren’t even aware of this feature—consult your owner’s manual.
  • Turn off and on Try unplugging the garage door opener and then plugging it in again; this sometimes does the trick by resetting the sensors.
  • Try new batteries See if dead batteries in your remote control opener are the problem.
  • With a garage door opener, you have no lifting at all, just push a button. It does not eliminate the need for springs. It has moving parts and is also an electrical device. A garage door opener is one of those things that can have some simple problems that cause it not to work.
  • Reprogram the remote if the batteries are fine, the remote might have become deprogrammed. Consult your manual for instructions on resetting it.
  • Check beam next, make sure the beam sensor is plugged in. Clean the sensor clean the sensor’s eyes—usually located in front of the on/off button—with a wet cloth. When these eyes get dusty, it can block the signal that turns on the motor. Cleaning the sensor every season can reduce problems.
  • Check the chain next, check to see if the chain is broken or loose. Unfortunately, if it needs to be tightened or replaced, you’ll need to contact an electrician.
  • Verify that your garage door springs are in working order.In order to check the spring tension, roll down the main gate and release the emergency pull. This allows manual operation of the door.  When the door is raised by hand, does it feel heavy, or come back down again instead of staying open?  If so, we recommend that you get a spring replacement ASAP.
  • Keep all parts lubricated. Keeping your system well-oiled is vital to its life expectancy. Ensure that you oil not only the rollers, but the track, springs, and pulleys as well.
  • Ensure that all fasteners are tight. Verify that all nuts and bolts are tight, being careful not to strip or over tighten them in the process.
  • When the door is out of alignment it can bind and not work correctly. Adjusting the garage door may be an inexpensive solution to your problem. Before you call the repairman, find out if an adjustment is all you need. Find out what you can to adjust the door without doing a complete overhaul.
  • The garage door rollers allow the door to move up and down in the track. They can break or seize up. You can either lubricate them or replace them as needed. Replacing them is not that hard, they are less than five dollars. Ten minutes and you’re done.
  • The garage door hinges are used to allow the door panels to move independently of each other. On the sides of the door, they have a sleeve for the rollers built into them. Hinges can rust, seize up or break. This is also an inexpensive and simple repair.
  • Open manually if none of your quick fixes have worked, pull the red release cord to free the door so that it can be opened and closed manually. Consult your owner’s manual — older systems may not have a red release cord.
  • Get help Operate your door by hand until you can have the unit fixed. Contact either an electrician or the service department of the store where you bought your unit.

Hopefully these tips and tricks help you with your garage!