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7 Reasons Your Garage Door Has Stopped Working


By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Your garage door opener is a significant convenience, allowing you to open and close the door with the touch of a button. It also helps to protect the things inside your garage from exposure to excess moisture and potential thieves. However, garage doors can malfunction. When this happens, they rapidly transform from help to hindrance and in some cases, life-threatening problems. Whether your garage door is not working at all, jerks and shudders during operation, or is experiencing some other problem, it is crucial to know what’s going on. If left unrepaired, it could put you and your family in serious danger. Here are the seven top reasons your garage door may have stopped working.

Observe Safety Precautions

Before you do anything with your garage door, ensure your safety. Keep children well away. Unplug the motor. Make sure that the garage door is closed. Garage doors are very heavy, and if a spring is broken and you pull the emergency release cord with the door up, it will come crashing down, possibly right on you. Unplugging the motor will help prevent accidental closing, as well as potential electrocution.

A Problem with the Garage Door

Before you do anything else, check the door itself. With the garage door closed, pull the emergency release cord. This disengages the motor and allows manual operation of the door. Now, try to open the door (from inside the garage). If it opens smoothly, then the problem lies with either the motor or the remote. If the door opens only partially, doesn’t open smoothly, or feels like it’s trying to jump out of the track, the problem is closer at hand – with the track itself, one or more rollers, or with one of the springs.

Check the Wall Switch

Unscrew the switch from the wall. You’ll find two wires. These are low-voltage, so you can work with them without too much worry. Touch the ends of the two wires together. Check to see if the opener works. If it does, then the switch itself is bad and you need to replace it. If it doesn’t, then the problem may be with the wiring at the opener itself. Look on the back of the opener and find the two terminals. Jump those with a small piece of wire. If the opener works, change out the wiring.

Garage Door Remote Batteries Are Dead

Your garage door system relies on an opener that uses batteries. Those batteries might last for years, but they will eventually die. If you press the button on the remote and the garage door doesn’t budge, chances are good that you need to replace the batteries. There’s also the potential that you’re using rechargeable batteries. While that’s environmentally friendly, understand that rechargeable batteries have lower power output than conventional batteries, meaning that it takes much less time for them to reach a state of low power.

Deprogrammed Remote

There is also a possibility that your garage door remote has somehow become deprogrammed. In this case, replace the batteries and then go through the programming process once more. You should find the entire process outlined in the booklet or instructions that came with your garage door opener.

Note that if changing the batteries and reprogramming the remote don’t work, you may need a new remote. However, you’ll need to check the receiver first.

Check the Garage Door Receiver

Your garage door opener has a receiver, which is responsible for receiving the signal sent from the remote. If the receiver fails, the opener will work with the wall switch, but it will not work with the remote. If the remote is working, but the opener doesn’t run, replace the receiver. It should automatically update the code in your old remotes, but you can also buy receivers that come with new remotes.

Safety Sensors

If you’re experiencing problems with the garage door going up with the remote, but only going down with the wall switch, chances are good that the problem is actually with a safety sensor. These should be aligned correctly. However, sensors fail over time and you will need to eventually replace them. Now might be that time.

Tracks, Rollers and Springs

If the problem with your garage door is not related to the opener, then it’s related to the tracks, the rollers or the springs. Understand that working on these components can be very dangerous, and you should never attempt to do so if you’re not completely sure of what you’re doing. If you have an issue with any of these components, it’s best to call a professional right away.

Garage doors can be convenient, until they stop working correctly. The tips above can help you determine what’s going wrong. However, remember that working on a garage door can be very dangerous, and ideally should be handled by a trained professional.

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