Garage door will not open, now what?


One of the ” taken for granted ” items around the home, is the garage door.

It normally opens and closes for years, without issue, however when it fails, everyone is affected.

What are some of the most common causes of garage door operational failure?

  1. Batteries in the remote control.  Most of the remote controls have the CR032 battery, or a similar type.  These are the small coin like batteries that you will find in watches and other remote controls.  They are easily available at the local pharmacy, discount store, etc.  The battery is located within the remote control and is normally accessed by prying the remote control apart.  There is a small notch in the remote along the side, top or bottom, that can be used as a pry location with the use of a coin or small screw driver.  Each remote control has a different assembly, however, in most cases, the removal of the battery and the replacement is easily figured out.  Be diligent when snapping the remote back together.  They are made to fit very tight and are sometimes difficult to snap back.  This is important to keep moisture out of the mechanism.
  2. The electric motor for the garage door opener has become unplugged.  In most situations, the motor is plugged into an outlet located on the ceiling of the garage.  If activity occurs in the garage that could have pulled the cord from the outlet, this could be the issue.  Obvious solution, plug the motor back in.
  3. The electric motor has either overheated or been subjected to a heavy load, causing it to trip the breaker on the electric motor itself or even the electrical panel.  Check both conditions to ensure that no breakers have been tripped.  If a breaker has tripped, it is for a reason, make sure that all pulleys, chains, tracks, etc. are clear, to ensure that there is no heavy load on the electric motor.
  4. There is some type of obstruction in the actual garage door mechanism, such as a broom or bicycle handle in the track.  Or there could be some type of obstruction overhead, etc.  Check for anything that could have fallen over, or dislodged to block the operation of the door.
  5. The spring that assists the opening of the door has either broken or dislodged from its anchoring position.  A manual garage door is normally assisted by large springs that are stretched when the door is down, and assists the manual operation when lifting the door. These springs are over the top of the overhead tracks and if a spring is broken, you will know it, it will normally be easily visible.  In most situations, there is a cable located within the coil spring that will stop the spring from either falling or hurting someone when it breaks. 
  6. The emergency handle that hangs from any automatic garage door mechanism has been engaged.  On some automatic doors, this will cause the opening mechanism to simply move along the track, without actually catching the door itself.  Re-engage this emergency handle to allow the moving mechanism to actually raise the door. This is usually easily performed by pulling down on the handle and letting it snap back into position.
  7. The door is locked.  Obviously if the locking mechanism is engaged, then the door will not open.
  8. There are very small emergency switches mounted, normally at the bottom of the garage door tracks.  These small emergency switches stop the door from closing on an obstruction, such as a person.  In most cases, these switches are wired with thin signal wires that are exposed to the environment.  These wires can easily be broken, kicked, or simply dislocated.  This would cause the door not to operate.
  9. Not having anything to do with the door operation, but most electric openers have lights that turn on and off when the door is operated.  Don’t forget to change the light bulb if it fails to illuminate.

When all else fails, call the expert.  There are several professional garage door companies in all locations,  that will handle all of your needs.