FAQ - Doors

Why won’t my garage door close?

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The world’s a busy place and you’re a busy person, especially if you’ve got a family.  Any little hiccup can throw off your day, and you expect things to work the way they’re supposed to, things like your garage door.  Sadly, stuff can and does go wrong, and you might find yourself with a garage door that won’t close.  No need to panic! Before you call the repairman, brush up on your garage door knowledge so you can communicate the problem effectively.

Sensors

Garage doors can be dangerous things. They are quite heavy, and if one were to fall on an object, or worse, a person, the result could be devastating. Because of this, makers of garage doors install ingenious little items called safety sensors. These little devices are located directly across from each other at the bottom of your garage door. They send beams of infrared light directly into the sensor across from it. If this beam is broken, the downward moving garage door will instantly change direction, diverting disaster. Unfortunately, these safety sensors can be problematic and could be the reason why your garage door won’t close.  The problem might be that the safety sensors need to be aligned so that the laser can shoot directly into the sensor across from it.  A garage door will not close if these sensors are not lined up.

These sensors are made to be reliable since so much depends on them. If you suspect the sensors are the problem, check for anything that might be obstructing this beam. Sometimes the safety sensors can get dirty or covered with spider webs; cleaning the sensors is a simple fix.  Yet another interference could be garage clutter. Garages are often the catchall for anything that needs to be stored and you just don’t know where to put it. Garages can get cluttered pretty fast; organizing the hodgepodge of stuff in your garage could unblock the safety sensors, causing your door to work the way it’s supposed to.  If the problem persists, check the brackets that connect the sensors to the door. Have they been bent? These brackets will need to be straightened if something ran into them and knocked the sensor out of place. Also check the LED shining out of each sensor; both of them should be strong and steady. If one of them is wavering or flutters, something is definitely not right. Be sure to call a certified repairman so you don’t end up like that DIYer who got his fingers stuck behind the sensor trying to adjust it, causing the garage door to close on his fingers. Not a good situation for anyone to find himself in.

Limits

Your garage door may not be closing simply because the limits of the garage door opener are off.  The limits in the opener tell it when the garage door is open all the way and closed all the way. It’s not uncommon for the limits to get offset and your garage tries to close farther than it should, only to be obstructed by the ground, causing the door to open right back up again. If your door won’t stay closed, the garage door opener limits may need to be adjusted.

Tracks

Another reason your garage door might not be closing could be a problem with the tracks. You’ll notice the tracks on either side of the door, typically in two to three separate parts on each side. Your garage door runs up and down the tracks on rollers as it opens and closes, usually pretty smoothly. Problems can go wrong with both the tracks and the rollers, however.  Sometimes the garage door tracks can get clogged with dirt and debris, hindering the progress of the rollers as they run up and down.  Road salt can also be an issue, eroding, and ultimately ruining, the metal of the tracks. Don’t forget the rollers, which aren’t impervious to problems either. Rollers can be made of two materials, steel or nylon. While steel lasts longer, both materials can wear down over time, which can impede your door, and need to be replaced.

Your garage doors might not be closing because the tracks have been knocked out of position. This happens, often, because of collisions with the garage door. No one’s perfect! It’s not unheard of to run into your garage door with your car, motorcycle, or other heavy object, which could mess up the door tracking. This has become a bigger problem recently because new tracks are lighter and thinner.  Garage door tracks could also be pulled out of alignment because of the weight of the garage door.  Garage doors can weigh around the 300 lb. range, so opening and closing the door repeatedly could cause damage to the tracks, pulling them out of position. If this happens, and your garage door won’t close, check that the garage door tracks aren’t damaged. Look for any missing bolts, as this could weaken the tracking system, causing it to bend out of place.

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If nothing is blocking the safety sensors and your garage door tracks are perfectly aligned, the problem might be an electrical issue. If there are frayed or exposed wires, a short in the electrical system, or a defective circuit board in your garage door opener, your garage door won’t work properly. While these are all fixable problems, either through maintenance or replacing certain parts, it’s imperative to call a specialist. In fact, if your garage door isn’t closing because of any damaged parts, be it the tracking, a problem with the garage door opener, or a broken spring, calling a specialist is definitely in order for your safety and the safety of those who also use the garage.

Having a garage is such a nice convenience, but when something goes wrong with the garage door, it can really be a nuisance. If your garage door won’t close, check for these problems so you’ll know how to convey the problem with a repairman. Here’s hoping, however, that the problem is simply that you need to replace the batteries in your garage door remote!