What To Do When Your Garage Door Isn’t Opening

If you found this article while searching on the internet, you probably have an annoying case of your garage door getting stuck at an inconvenient time for you. You should keep reading because we bet you’d find this article very helpful as we’d be providing you with appropriate steps you could apply to your garage door to get it working perfectly again in no time.

First off, why isn’t your garage door budging? It might be a couple of reasons. You need to first of all figure out the cause of your garage door getting stuck before getting a solution to fixing it.

To help you troubleshoot your garage door problem, we have listed 11 reasons your garage door wouldn’t budge and also the solutions to get it working in each case. Some of them include:

  • The photo-eye could be blocked
  • Your garage door cables have split
  • Your garage door’s sensitivity isn’t aligned properly
  • Your garage door’s remote control is malfunctioning
  • The garage door might be off its track

We’ll be looking at these and more possible issues, and ways to go about them throughout this article.

Here’s What To Do When Your Garage Door Isn’t Opening

The Photo-Eye Could Be Blocked

Most garage doors have a photo eyeOpens in a new tab. that detects whether a person or object is preventing the door from falling all the way down. For most doors, the photo-eye would be about 4-6 inches off the ground, and the eye is usually around the size of a pea. It fires a laser around the length of the garage that will cut off the signal used to lower and lift the door if disturbed. To prevent automatic garage doors from closing on top of someone or something and causing serious injury or property harm, this protection measure is there. 

If you notice that when the remote is pressed, the garage door usually opens but does not make any effort to close, the first thing you’ll want to do is visually check the photo eyes. These eyes can get dirty over time, causing the light from the beam to be blocked. Eventually, they may also become misaligned, causing the eyes on both sides to not line up.

You should take care not to scratch or damage the eye when cleaning the photo-eye because it is made of the kind of glass a camera lens uses. The photo-eye itself is very thin, with a diameter of just a few centimeters, but it can get dirty quite quickly. You will need a soft cloth and a gentle, streak-free cleaner to clean it. Wipe away any dirt or residue that has built up on the eye gently and be careful not to over-saturate because prolonged wetness will more easily cause dirt to stick to the eye.

The next thing you’ll need to do is check the alignment of the eyes if your picture eyes are clean and the door is still not closing. The eyes should be precisely pointing in the same direction and at the same angle.  If they’re switched off,  They won’t register that the other one is there and they’ll think something is in their way, causing the door to remain open. Measure the height of each picture eye from the ground to make sure they’re aligned. 

When you have cleaned and aligned the eyes, test your door to ensure that it opens and closes. If your photo-eyes still have problems, it might be the right time to call the experts to come and diagnose the issue.

Your Operator’s Supply Of Power May Have Been Interrupted

Sometimes, people unplug their power source and then wonder why they struggle to open their garage door.   I know, it sounds crazy, but it does happen. Make sure your door opener in the garage is plugged into a working socket. Outlets often go out without warning, so by plugging another functioning electrical device into it, you can check to see if the outlet works. Make sure to verify your circuit breakerOpens in a new tab., fuse, or GFCIOpens in a new tab. as well.

Your Garage Door’s Torsion Spring May Be Broken

If your garage door doesn’t go up all of a sudden and you’re sure the transmitters work properly and power gets to the engine, then you could have broken torsion springs. The sound of it breaking can be so loud that you might think a bomb went off right in front of your garage.

Broken springs Opens in a new tab.are the number 1 cause of customers’ calls for businesses that repair garage doors. Doors come with one or two springs for torsion. The garage door opener can struggle to raise the weight of the door or fail to open the door if either spring is broken. Call a professional for service if a spring is broken, as this can be very risky to deal with. Until a professional comes to inspect it and repair the springs, we’d advise that you do not attempt to open the door.

Your Garage Door Cables Have Split

Garage doors have stress springs and cablesOpens in a new tab. that help lower the door slowly and securely when closing. If these voltage springs or cables snap, you would notice that your garage door shuts very quickly, sometimes with a loud bang. This is risky because there is nothing at all stopping it from smashing anything underneath it.  As soon as you can, you should contact a garage door expert and have them fix your cables or springs.

Before the garage door is fixed, refrain from parking your car in the garage. Furthermore, try not to open and close the door when it is in this state. They could potentially harm your car or other items in the garage with the amount of possible pressure coming from the springs or cables, as well as cause serious damage. It would be best to stay away from these cables or springs until everything is fixed.

Your Garage Door’s Sensitivity Isn’t Aligned Properly

This can happen to a newly installed or older garage door. The door will not open if the sensitivity is set too low or high so to reset the sensitivityOpens in a new tab., read the manufacturer’s instructions, and follow through carefully. Once the close force and limit switch are modified to the correct levels, and you should be able to have your garage sensitivity back up again.

Your Garage Door’s Remote Control Is Malfunctioning

There are a few things that can trigger this issue of your garage door not opening with the remote:

  • You’re probably out of range. Try pressing your garage remote before you turn into the driveway and see how that works. You should succeed this time around if it’s an out of range problem.  
  • The antenna might have been damaged or shielded from the signal. Look to check if the antennaOpens in a new tab. hanging down the motor inside your garage and make sure it hangs down from the motor properly. If you inspect your garage door antenna and it’s damaged, you’ll need to contact a garage door technician to replace it.
  • It could be a battery problem with the remote if the wall switch still works. Consider changing the battery and seeing if it responds.     
  • If none of these works, then you would have to reprogram the remote. How do you reprogram it? Somewhere on the remote, all transmitters have a learn button, so you’ll need to find that button on your remote first. For a few seconds, you’ll need to press and hold the learn button until the indicator light begins blinking. Click your remote button again when the light is blinking to reprogram the remote.
  •  If you find that when you don’t even hit the button, your garage door opens and closes unexpectedly, we might as well conclude that your garage door has gone haywire and we’d advise that you replace the whole thing.

You Need To Readjust The Limit Setting

If your garage door closes and then immediately pops open again, you will need to test and readjust the limit settings. This will help the mechanism determine how far to maneuver the door to shut it properly. If the settings are off, the door will hit the floor before the opener believes it should. It’ll just assume that it has hit an obstacle and will automatically backtrack to avoid damage. Check the instructions in the owner’s manual or the buttons on the motor to regulate the limit settings. Or follow these steps;  

  •  First of all, get a ladder and climb up to the adjustment switch. Make sure to consult your manual for help on where the on and off control is.
  • The next step is to adjust the limit setting. That is if your door isn’t closing properly, push the knob down and if your garage door isn’t opening properly, adjust the knob upwards. 
  • Don’t overdo the adjustments. Keep them miniature and just right so it doesn’t go overboard. Keep testing it out to see how it works and if you should adjust it some more o some less. 

It should take some trial and error but you’ll eventually get it right. If you still don’t get it right and the limit settings are still giving you an issue, it might be time to call a professional to help out.

The Door Might Be Off Its Track

The reason your garage door won’t budge might be that it isn’t on its track. It can be a serious issue. For your door to slide open and close, the metal track it runs on needs to be aligned properly and smoothly. Once you see gaps on the rail, that’s probably where your problem is originating from. However, you can realign the door and be on your merry way.

 Once the garage door is open, use a mallet Opens in a new tab.to tap lightly on the sides of the track and get those gaps and bumps back into place. Lower the door and then reconnect it with the opener. To do this, you would need at least two strong people on the ground.

Before you let go, make sure the door is moving smoothly along its track. Check the track for any more bumps or obstacles and do the needful.  Watch the door open and close. Check if there’s anything out of place. All clear? 

With these 8 tips in hand, we trust that your garage door problems will become a thing of the past! If you have any suggestions or questions, do well to drop them in the comments section below.


I am a tech enthusiast. Since the Smart Home tech came out I fell in love with it and have been following it ever since. I decided to use this platform to pour out my knowledge and experience I've had overtime to guide your decisions. Hope the experience is worth your while.

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