Why Won't Your Garage Door Open?

Posted on: 14 December 2015

You're sitting in your driveway in your car full of groceries, and your garage door won't open. The problem could range from your remote control batteries being dead to the garage door opener motor being burned out. Here is how to do some simple troubleshooting to discover why the door isn't working.

Checking the Remote

If you have another remote control, try that one. If it works, replace the batteries in your original remote and try it again.

If the alternate remote control doesn't work, go into the garage and push the button on the wall that opens the garage door. If the garage door opens but both remotes fail to work, the remote sensor on the motor may have failed. You'll need a garage door repair company to look at the motor to see if it can be repaired or must be replaced.

Checking the Emergency Release

If the garage door doesn't open when you're in the garage, see if the chain or belt that extends from the top of the garage door to the motor moves. If so, the emergency release may have become disconnected. Pull on the handle extending down from the central track leading to the motor and let go, then push the button to open and close the door again. The emergency release should snap back onto the track so the door will open.

Checking the Garage Door

If you tried to open the door and it moved slightly then stopped, some part of the garage door lift mechanism may have failed. Check the following items for signs of breakage or wear:

  • The metal tracks that follow alongside of both sides of the garage door from the floor to the ceiling should have no deformities in it that might cause the door to jam when opening.
  • Check that the metal rollers attached to the sides of the garage door are intact and have not jumped outside of the metal tracks.
  • Find the two large coiled springs near the ceiling. They should be intact with one end connected to a bracket on the ceiling and the other end to a pulley and cable which goes to the top of the garage door.

If you notice any problems with these components, have a garage door company inspect the system. The garage door springs are especially dangerous to work with because they are under high tension. Let the professionals deal with those parts.

Checking the Motor

If there is no sound from the motor when you try to open the garage door from inside, it may have failed.

If the motor is making sound, but it still doesn't open the door, try opening the door manually. Pull on the emergency release handle and try to lift the door. If you can lift the door easily, then the motor has failed and needs to be replaced.

In both cases, it's time to call the garage door company for help.