Common Reasons Garage Doors Won’t Open or Close

Since your garage door most likely serves as an entrance and exit to your home, specifically for your vehicle, ensuring it works properly is essential. This is especially the case when your garage won’t open and you can’t get your car out. And since some of these repairs are dangerous, getting the job done by an expert is vital. There are several common reasons garage doors won’t open or close, from quick fixes to necessary repairs. Learn more about the possible causes for a garage door that won’t open and quick fixes to get it working again.

Check for Quick Fixes

Knowing how to fix a garage door that won’t open begins with checking some of the main components. The good news is, while your door won’t open, there’s a chance it’s not broken. If your opener isn’t working, try using the keypad or a remote to rule out a faulty opener. Before you assume the worst, check the following: 

  • The photo-eye is clean.
  • Nobody locked the garage door.
  • Nothing’s wrong with your power source.

These are easy to fix and don’t require an expert if they’re the true cause of the problem. Sometimes, you may need to replace the batteries in your garage remote or verify the problem comes from a power source.

Is the Photo-Eye Clean?

One common reason for why a garage door won’t open is due to an issue with the photo-eye. This little sensor is a couple of inches off the floor and rests on the garage door track. When it’s dirty or has something in its way, your door may not open because the laser is blocked. 

First, check to see if the path for the laser is clear, then clean the photo-eye with a soft rag. You can call an expert if, after doing this, the door still fails to open or close properly, or you find no obstructions in the laser’s pathway.

Is the Garage Locked?

When the door is in lock mode or manually locked, it’s not going to open or close. So, check to see if someone locked the garage door. Sometimes we’ll lock a door on our way out then forget. And plenty of homeowners overlook this because it’s so simple, but it’s worth checking before you call out a repair expert.

Is the Opener Plugged In?

Check the power cord— you may need to plug in the opener. Keep in mind that there also may be a problem if a circuit blew. If you believe this, check your breaker panel to see whether the garage fuse is in the “on” position. If it isn’t, switch it on, then try opening the garage door again.


Test your remote, opener, and keypad. Sometimes one of the three stops working, and the door won’t open. This is because the keypad or remote may miscommunicate with the door. Likewise, when the keypad is out of sync, you may need to reset the code. Luckily, if one of these is the culprit, you don’t have to worry about replacing the entire garage door.

Needs for Professional Repair

A quick fix won’t always cut it, and over time our garage doors do break down. Knowing when to call a professional is in your best interest. For example, your garage door may fail to open if:

  • It’s out of alignment.
  • The torsion springs broke.
  • There’s a stripped gear.
  • The limit setting needs an adjustment.
  • A cable snapped.

When one of these issues occurs, then it’s time to call an expert. Fixing the door on your own is dangerous and could worsen the problem. For overhead garage door repair in Ames, Iowa, call the Door and Fence Store. With over 40 years of experience, our experts can get your garage door back in operation!

Is It Out of Alignment?

Sometimes the garage door rollers come off the track, and when this happens, the door can’t lift. Typically, when a door is out of alignment, it happened because something like a heavy object struck the door.

Regardless of why, when the door becomes misaligned, the tracks need an adjustment or replacement. So, look the tracks over to investigate for any signs of this. Occasionally, the door will still open when this occurs but does so slowly and may squeak. A technician will need to replace the tracks so your door can open and close with ease.

Did the Torsion Springs Break?

There can be several reasons for garage door springs breaking. And when a torsion spring breaks, you’ll know because of the loud bang it makes. And since opening the door is dangerous once this occurs, don’t attempt doing so. Instead, call a professional; they’ll have the knowledge and necessary tools to do so safely. 

Is the Gear Stripped?

Another common reason garage doors won’t open or close is when the gear in the opener breaks down, which occurs over time due to wear and tear. While you can replace gears, most experts recommend replacing the opener as a whole because another component could be next. Your garage door gears become stripped over time—this may be a sign your opener is at the end of its life.

Is the Limit Setting Misadjusted?

One way to tell if the limit setting is array is if the door does a shut-reverse: it closes then reopens after touching the ground. There could also be misalignment between the photo-eyes which makes it harder for both pieces to communicate. Although it may not always seem necessary, most people call a technician when this occurs to ensure the settings are properly adjusted.

Did a Cable Snap?

A broken cable is dangerous since the cables help bring the door up and down. So, when a cable malfunctions or breaks, the door could slam and harm anyone or anything in its path. Because of this, you should always call an expert when a cable snaps. And, keep in mind, if a spring breaks, the cables are usually quick to follow.

There are various reasons a garage door won’t open, and sometimes you can fix it yourself, but recognize when this isn’t the case. Knowing when to call a professional keeps you safe. Sometimes when a door malfunctions, there’s a chance of it falling and crushing anything below. So, remember, when something breaks or becomes misaligned, it’s best to call an expert.

The Door and Fence Store has helped replace and repair garage doors in Ames, Iowa, and the surrounding areas for over 40 years! Get your garage door back in operation by someone who knows the industry! Learn more about why a garage door won’t open or close by exploring our blogs or contacting us today.

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