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Trouble Shooting Garage Doors & Openers

trouble shooting garage doors

Are you having problems with your garage door or garage door opener?

Discovering your garage door isn’t working properly can be frustrating, but there are a few things that will help you identify and fix the problem before calling a local garage door repair service.

In this article, you will learn what to check when trouble shooting garage doors and openers.

Trouble Shooting Garage Doors & Openers

There are several important parts that power your garage door. You have the power supply, the garage door opener, sensors, and remote to mention a few. The more you understand how your garage door works, the faster you will be able to troubleshoot a garage door or garage door opener problem.

To help you get started, we’re exploring several of the most common sources of problems.

Here are some tips to consider when trouble shooting garage doors and openers.

1. Check the Batteries

This is the very first thing you should do when you’re troubleshooting your garage door remotes. If you find the remote isn’t doing anything when you press the button, open it up and check the batteries. That sounds so obvious that most people wouldn’t even think to do it. This is especially true if you replaced the batteries recently. There’s no telling if the batteries were fully charged, so always check.

Change out the batteries and try the remote again. If that doesn’t work, take a look at the contacts. If they’ve started to rust, polish them and try the remote again. This will solve most problems with your opener.

Related: How to Change Battery in Liftmaster Garage Door Opener Keypad

2. Unlock the Garage Door

This is another very simple solution if the door isn’t opening when you use your remote. The remote itself may be fine, and the door is simply manually locked. Check the lock for yourself, and see if it was locked up before you came to use the door. If so, just unlock it and it should work as it should.

3. Check with Your Neighbors

Are you finding that your garage door is opening and closing when you’re not trying to use it? Alternatively, is your remote not working with your door? It may be time to talk to your neighbors.

Most garage door remotes work on radio wavelengths, and yours should be on a specific wavelength to you. That means only your remote should open your door. Sometimes though, neighbors get garage door openers that are on very similar wavelengths. That means when they go to open their door, they actually open someone else’s instead. Chat to your neighbors to see if this is happening. If it is, the wavelength can be changed to stop it happening again.

4. Realign the Sensor

If the garage door isn’t closing, your sensor may have fallen out of alignment. A garage door sensor consists of two units mounted at the foot of either side of your garage door. These units need to be aligned in a way that allows the invisible beam to connect between either unit.

A small nudge can force your sensors out of alignment, which then prevents the beam from connecting across the length of your garage. If you notice one or both of the sensor units look like they’re pointing upward or downward, you can try adjusting them so they look like they’re pointing at each other. In most cases, this should reconnect the beam but it depends on their position. If, for example, the sensors weren’t installed properly, you may need to reinstall them correctly.

To realign them, tie a string between the two eyes. If it’s not level, then they need to be adjusted. This is done by unscrewing one of the eyes slightly, and moving it until the string is level. You can check this using a spirit level. Once it is, tighten the screws back up and the eyes should be realigned.

Related: How to Align Garage Door Sensors

5. Clean the Garage Door Photo Eye

Are you finding that the garage door is lowering slightly, and then reversing back up before it touches the ground? You may find that it’s doing this because the photo eyes think your doorway is blocked. This is the auto-reverse feature, and it’s there to keep you and your family safe. If the photo eyes are blocked though, they won’t let the door shut even if you want it to.

Get down and check your photo eyes. It’s very easy for dirt to get onto them and block them. Use a soft cloth to clean them off, and try it again.

6. Adjust the Garage Door

Is your door making a rubbing or squealing noises when you open and close it? Can you see gaps between the track and the door itself? If so, the door is out of alignment with the track. If it’s still able to be operated you can fix it yourself, but you’ll want to do it ASAP. The longer you leave this problem, the worse and potentially more dangerous it gets.

Loosen the screws that hold your track to the frame. Then, find the section that’s bent and out of alignment. You can use a rubber mallet to gently tap the track back into place. Use a spirit level again to ensure that the track is totally level.

If the door won’t open at all, then you’ll need to look into calling a professional to handle the repair, as doing it yourself could be dangerous.

Related: How to Adjust a Garage Door

7. Change the Springs

Is your door suddenly just not working? Maybe you heard a loud crash in your garage, and now the door won’t work. If this is the case, then you may find the springs have broken on your door.

These springs are a vital part of your machine. They provide the tension needed for your door to be able to open and close. They wear out over time though, and eventually, they will stretch out and break. When they break, that means that your door won’t be able to open without them.

Check your springs and see if they’re stretched or broken. If they are, don’t attempt to repair them yourself. Springs are highly dangerous, so instead call a professional to help you with this.

Related: How to Replace Garage Door Torsion Springs

8. Flip the Disconnect Switch

When you press the button to open your door, do you hear the motor running even when the door doesn’t open? If the motor runs for the amount of time the door would take to open and then switches off, it’s likely the disconnect switch was flipped.

This switch is designed to disconnect your garage door from the opener, allowing you to open it in the event of a power cut. The switch is usually attached to a string, and so is easily flipped on. If you find the disconnect has been flipped on, flip the switch again in order to get your opener working.

These are some of the most common trouble shooting tips you’ll need for your garage door and opener. Many times, you’ll find the issue is very simple. If you’re ever unsure though, ensure you call an expert to help you out with your door.


Now that you have a better understanding of your garage door, you can rest assured you know where to look first when trouble shooting garage doors and openers.

If you aren’t able to identify the problem, it’s best to contact a garage door repair service sooner than later.

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