×

Troubleshooting an Automatic Garage Door Opener

The most common problem with an automatic garage door results from its automatic safety feature. All newer garage doors have sensors designed to prevent the door from closing on a person or object. These sensors are optically-based so they send and receive a beam of light. If the sensors are out of alignment, the door will keep bouncing back up and never close. First, check if anything is obstructing the sensors or if one of them is out of alignment or bent. If so, try moving it gently back to face the other sensor. You may have to try a few positions but quite often this fixes the problem. You can also clean the sensors, in case dirt has built up to obstruct the eye. Finally, you can unplug the door from its electric power and then plug it back in. This will often reset the sensors, provided they are now facing each other. If nothing works, the sensors may be bad and need to be replaced.

Checking a Door That Won't Close

The most common problem with an automatic garage door results from its automatic safety feature. All newer garage doors have sensors designed to prevent the door from closing on a person or object. These sensors are optically-based so they send and receive a beam of light. If the sensors are out of alignment, the door will keep bouncing back up and never close. First, check if anything is obstructing the sensors or if one of them is out of alignment or bent. If so, try moving it gently back to face the other sensor. You may have to try a few positions but quite often this fixes the problem. You can also clean the sensors, in case dirt has built up to obstruct the eye. Finally, you can unplug the door from its electric power and then plug it back in. This will often reset the sensors, provided they are now facing each other. If nothing works, the sensors may be bad and need to be replaced.

Checking a Door That Won't Open

First, ensure that door has electric power. If it does, try the door opener button in the garage as well as the remote control. It's possible that the battery in the remote control had gone bad. If the motor is operating and the mechanism is sliding up but not opening the door, check the overhead trolley to see that both sections are connected; it may have disengaged. If so, pull the cord toward the locking area until the trolley clicks into place.

Preventing Problems

Keep the door mechanism running smoothly by lubricating the tracks with a silicone spray lubricant. Spray the track lightly, then open and close the door so that the rollers move over it. Keep the door tracks clear of debris. Occasionally, check the cables and springs to ensure that they are strong and well-connected. You can also lubricate hinges and the spring so they don't rust or jam. If you hear grinding noises, check the door immediately, since there could be a problem with the motor or slide mechanism. Further use could damage the equipment or be a safety concern. If you have a question, call your garage door professional.

About the Author

Rosanne Knorr is an award-winning writer, editor and author since 1980. She has written feature articles for countless publications and has authored 13 books including "The Grown-Up's Guide to Running Away from Home." She ghostwrites books on financial and lifestyle topics. She has taught creative writing and speaks on writing and travel topics. Knorr holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.