Having trouble with your garage door opener? Now’s the time to take care of it. For most opener issues, it’s fairly easy to troubleshoot whether you can fix it yourself or need to call in a professional. Even if you do need a pro, it will likely save time and money when you can describe the source of the trouble. Here is a troubleshooting guide to common garage door opener problems.

  • Did you check your remote? If the door opens and closes fine when you use the wall switch, there’s probably a problem with the remote control. Replace the batteries in the device if necessary, and check that it has been correctly programmed. Still not working? You might need to purchase a new remote (one that is compatible with your opener)
  • Have you checked the power source? When the garage door opener does not work with either the remote or the wall switch, look at the lights. If there is no power, the safety eyes will not be on at all. Verify that your opener’s motor unit is connected. See whether the outlet is working and check the circuit breaker, fuse or ground fault circuit interrupter (the button on the power outlet) to determine whether you have an electrical problem on your hands. And if you don’t have a surge protector, it’s possible for a power surge to overload or fry your logic board.
  • Make sure your photo eyes are lined up correctly. Modern garage doors have photo-eyes installed to detect something, or someone, below the door. The photo-eye is usually an obvious box located about half a foot above the ground on either side of the garage door. If it is blocked by something, the door will not open or close properly. Most frequently, photo-eye issues are caused by dirt and dust built up on the lens. Wipe the lens with a soft tissue and see if this solves the issue. Follow the steps in this video if you can’t find your owner’s manual.
  • Check for obstacles. Garage doors can be finicky. If it senses an object in its path, it will refuse to close. If you have surveyed the area below the door and found nothing blocking its path, check the door track itself. Even a small pebble or chunk of dirt can trigger the door to return to the open position.
  • Force a garage reset. Find your garage door owner’s manual, and follow the steps to force a reset. This can help if your opener is experiencing a technical glitch. Follow the steps in this video if you can’t find your owner’s manual.
  • Check the disconnect. The disconnect is a switch or cord that allows you to open your garage manually. When the disconnect is engaged, the garage door will not open on its own. If the door does not even attempt to open, always check to make sure the disconnect was not inadvertently engaged. Follow the steps in this video if you can’t find your owner’s manual.
  • Is your door locked? If you can hear your garage door opener working but the door has no movement, check the manual lock if you have one. Someone else may have locked it without you knowing or you may have simply forgotten. Unlocking the door could be a simple fix for the problem. Watch this video for more detailed opening instructions.
  • Broken torsion springs? This may be one of the more easily identifiable garage door problems. If you hear what sounds like fireworks or a gun going off in your garage, you will likely find a broken torsion spring is the culprit. If you discover a broken spring, call a professional immediately. Do NOT try to open the door. Garage doors are very heavy and without the torsion springs, can fall quickly and injure anyone in its path.
  • Snapped or dislocated cables? This problem often occurs in conjunction with the broken torsion spring. A snapped cable can be dangerous, as it flies off at a high rate of speed. Like broken springs, snapped cables are a job for professionals only.
  • Check for a tracking issue. The easiest way to diagnose a track issue is to listen to the door as it opens and closes. If it makes unusual noises at a certain point, it is probably a track issue. Likewise, a door that slows at a certain point is likely experiencing tracking issues. The track can be fixed by realigning them. Dents can be hammered back into place after loosening the screws fixing the track to the frame. For advanced track issues, call your local garage experts.

Hopefully this guide provides some help. If you’re still having doubts about your ability to diagnose or fix any garage door issue, call a professional for help.