garage door openers

Troubleshooting Garage Door Issues

Garage doors are big and heavy, use a complex counterbalance that can be under high spring tension, and usually include a completely automated motor.  With the different aspects of the full system, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. They can even be dangerous if handled carelessly. While it is the goal of Closing Time Garage Doors for this guide to be useful and practical in terms of troubleshooting, in no way will it be able to account for every situation. This introduction will start with some basics, but our team will look to add more details over time. When you need top-rated garage door repairs, call on Closing Time Garage Doors.

Garage Door not shutting?  This video may help 


It is strongly recommended that you approach all repairs and adjustments to the garage door and opener cautiously. If at any point your garage door service needs are beyond your expertise, give Closing Time Garage Doors a call. We will treat you with respect and work hard to address your situation quickly. With upfront pricing and friendly service, we will get your garage door operating in no time.

Garage Door Safety Tips

Before getting into troubleshooting, let us provide some safety tips for garage doors and openers. Of course, there are standards for working with tools and using proper safety equipment (like eye protection and not standing on the top of your ladder). While general construction safety standards do apply, we are going to focus on some situations specific to the garage door.  

1 – The red cord of doom!  

“DO NOT release the latch if the door is open and unsupported.”

That may be a bit overdramatic, but every garage door opener has an “emergency disconnect latch,” usually connected to a red pull cord. This latch is used to disengage the door from the opener in case you want to operate the door by hand. Why would the average homeowner use this? It can come in handy in many situations. For example, you may need to open your garage door during a power outage.  

The main thing in terms of safety here is that the door is heavy and may be poorly balanced. The opener may be restraining the weight of the garage door when you release it. DO NOT release the latch if the door is open and unsupported. You could potentially be releasing a lethal amount of kinetic energy if the door is not well balanced. You do not want to be anywhere in line with the door’s operation if someone else pulls the cord either. Keep all fingers out of track and off ladders over the door (in some situations the door could shoot up, although slamming down is more likely).  

2 – Respect the spring tension!

There are several kinds of spring systems, but whether you have torsion springs, extension springs, or torque master springs, they are all designed to operate under high tension. The heavier the door, the more tension they are designed to hold. Not only do the springs have the potential for a sudden violent release, but all of the pieces in a figurative chain of parts connecting them to the door are subject to the same force. Whether you are releasing tension or removing some random bracket (like the one holding your bottom roller), the consequences can be sudden and severe. These springs are powerful and you do not want to challenge them in a battle of flesh vs steel!  

3 – Stay clear and avoid the gap!

Any time the door is moving, there is some potential for risk. As a habit, make sure the door has completely stopped operating before going under it.  Make sure it has completely opened before driving through (they occasionally hang up near the top).  If shutting, make sure the door completely closes and wait several seconds to make sure a reverse cycle does not trigger. If operating by hand, do not stick your fingers between the section gaps. They are open one minute and closed the next – OUTCH!

As you can see, if you do not respect the risks, you are setting yourself up for trouble. Let’s

start with what you do know and can easily find. Here are a few common garage door issues that may be related to your situation:

1. Garage door is damaged or visibly jammed. If your garage door is visibly damaged, it is probably not going to operate. You will want to check for things like:

  • Dents or dings in the sections that may be binding on something.
  • Bent tracks that are no longer perpendicular to the floor (you should see a slight downward slope from front to back).

2. If the garage door operates well by hand, then your problem is probably related to the opener. If you have an automatic opener and it is not working, there are a few things to check:

  • Check the power source. The garage door opener will only operate if it has electricity running through it. If your power is out, or fuses are blown, then you will need to fix that before the opener can work again. Check circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes.
  • Check the wall button. Usually, there is a switch right inside the garage that controls the opener. If this is off, then obviously the door will not open.
  • Check the safety sensors. Most automatic openers have sensors at the bottom of each side of the door opening that prevents it from closing if something is in the way. If these sensors are gone or misaligned, then the opener will not operate. You can check this by stopping the door halfway up and watching for a red light at the bottom of each sensor to come on. This confirms that they are working properly.

3. If the garage door does not operate by hand, you may have door hardware or spring issues. Here are a few things that could be causing this particular garage door issue:

  • Check for loose hardware. Over time, bolts and screws work themselves loose in any mechanical system. The door opener is no exception. You will want to check all of the bolts and screws on the opener unit, as well as any brackets that may have come loose.
  • Check for frozen tracks. In cold weather, the garage door tracks can freeze. This can prevent the door from operating smoothly. Try using a hairdryer to gently heat up the track and it should free up.

If you can determine the cause of your garage door issues, then you will be able to solve them quickly and easily. Otherwise, it is best to consult a professional for help in finding the root of your problem and repairing it as soon as possible. The technician may ask you things such as:

  • Is the problem constant or irregular?
  • Is it more of a closing issue or an opening issue?
  • Is the problem related to a specific secondary function and not a total system failure?

Find a Garage Door Repair Service Near You

With a little TLC and maintenance, you can avoid garage door issues and keep your garage door operating smoothly for years to come. So if you are having issues with your garage door, consider seeking out professional help from the experts at Closing Time Garage Doors. Whether you need help with repair, installation, or maintenance services, we have the expertise and experience to get the job done right.

If we don’t have details on your specific type of problems up yet, feel free to text or email us a couple of pictures and ask your questions. We are here for all of your garage door replacement & installation needs.