Five Fixes For A Garage Door That Won't Close

Posted on: 14 December 2019


There are many components to a garage door system, so narrowing down the cause for a malfunctioning door may be a little tricky at first. But whether your garage door won't close completely, correctly, or even if it won't move at all, there are several things you can try yourself to narrow down the problem.

Troubleshoot the Sensors

Every automatic garage door comes with a set of sensors to detect if anything is blocking the path of the door's traveling path. This is meant to prevent the doors from coming down and hitting something or someone, which is a vital safety feature of modern garage doors. If they aren't working correctly, they won't let the door close even if there are no obstacles. Here's what you can try.

  • Make sure the lenses are clean, as dust and dirt can prevent the two sensors from "seeing" each other.
  • Have the sensors realigned; sometimes they may simply not be pointed at each other correctly.
  • Light can sometimes be an obstacle. If the sun is shining directly into one of the lenses, this may temporarily prevent them from working. Test this by holding your hand up to provide shade for the sensor, taking care to keep the rest of your body outside their line of sight, then try to close the door again.

If you have trouble realigning your sensors or can't get them to work properly, a garage door technician can fix them for you and make sure they keep working properly.

Reset Your Garage Door Remote

If you have an old remote, or if your current remote ran out of battery, it may not be able to communicate with the garage door opener. Before you try anything else, make sure you have a fresh battery to make sure the remote has power.

Next, try to pair your remote with your garage door opener again. On newer remotes you may need to follow a specific process particular to your model; consult your manual for how to do this. On some older remotes that have physical switches, make sure the switches are set correctly; if any got jostled out of place, this will disrupt communication.

If nothing else works and you can troubleshoot with a brand new remote, try that next. Though remotes are sturdy, it's possible for them to break and need to be replaced.

Check the Power

Your garage door opener needs power to work, and even if your power is working in the rest of your house, it's possible there's some kind of electrical problem with the circuit your opener is using. You can rule out or fix this problem in a few simple steps.

  1. Check the outlet that the garage door opener uses and make sure it's plugged in securely. If it is, try plugging another device into the same outlet to verify the power is working in it.
  2. Look for any lights on the garage door opener itself. If you see any blinking lights, this may indicate an error; many manuals have error codes to help you figure out what the problem is by how many times the light is blinking.
  3. Look at your circuit breaker panel to see if any circuits have tripped. If one has, reset it and try again.

If none of these steps work, it's possible there's a problem with the logic board in your garage door opener. This can be replaced without you needing to replace the entire system, so call a technician to help.

Have the Tracks Realigned

If your garage door uses tracks to travel up and down, the tracks need to be well aligned for the door to move properly. If the tracks are misaligned or damaged, it could provide resistance to the wheels, which in turn may trigger the reverse safety mechanism and cause the door to move back up again.

Some signs of misaligned tracks are rattling and grinding sounds when the door is moving, and the door moving in jerking motions rather than moving smoothly. It can be challenging to try to realign tracks yourself if you don't have much experience working with them, so call a technician to make sure they're taken care of quickly for you.

Adjust the Travel/Limit Settings

Another important setting on your garage door opener is the travel switch. This is the setting that's responsible for telling your door how far to move up or down so it doesn't extend too far in either direction. If your door isn't closing all the way, or if it closes but then reverses and opens again, the travel switch likely needs to be readjusted. It can be a tedious process to make sure the door reaches just the right point in both directions, but fixing this setting should help keep your door completely closed until you're ready to open it again.

Contact a garage door repair service if you are still having problems.