When Your Garage Door Won’t Budge

When Your Garage Door Won’t Budge

Automatic garage doors, mostly overhead sectional doors, are actually a fairly sophisticated assembly of components that require all the elements to work in synchrony in order to function the way they are designed – smoothly and quietly completely raising and lowering to allow passage of vehicles and people. Many homeowners will face the scenario of a garage door that is “stuck” – and will neither lower or raise. There are multiple causes of this problem; here is a brief list of the most likely problems:

The transmitter and remote have batteries. Batteries die.

You know the rule of thumb: check the simple things first. Before you plunge into emergency mode, check the batteries in the door transmitter, and then, of course, the remotes you may use. If you use WiFi to operate your door, check the connection.

Stopped in its tracks – by blockage or debris.

If the door glides up part way and then stalls, even if the opener’s motor is working to pull it further, look for stuff on the tracks. If you have a good step ladder, climb up and take a look yourself. If that’s an issue, and you’ve eliminated the other easy-to-diagnose causes, call Automatic Door Specialists.

Off-track – when the rollers jump their grooves.

The twin tracks of most overhead doors rely on a set of vinyl or steel rollers to “ride the rails”, and as with a train, they have to stay on track. When the tracks are misaligned by damage, poor installation or loose bolts, you have a potentially serious matter that requires prompt attention. A misaligned door/track assembly will inevitably become a bigger problem, leading sooner or later (don’t count on later) to failure and expensive replacements. When you call ADS, we inspect the entire system to make sure every element is straight, tight and operational.

Black unit with sensor eye, required by law, is positioned close to floor on both sides of door interior.

Black unit with sensor eye, required by law, is positioned close to floor on both sides of door interior.

The sensor eye is not seeing what it needs to.

The pair of sensors situated near the base of the garage door frame, on both sides, need to have an unbroken “line of sight” and if they don’t, they will freeze the downward motion of your door. These eyes can be literal lifesavers, especially for families with small children, so take them seriously. Most solutions are simple: move the obstacle out of the way, or dust the cobwebs off the eye, or readjust the eye’s alignment. If the device is failing, check with ADS about your best options for repair or replacement – and don’t put it off!

Black coiled torsion spring (partial view) with right-side track (identical track on left) along which the rollers must glide unimpeded.

Black coiled torsion spring (partial view) with right-side track (identical track on left) along which the rollers must glide unimpeded.

Torsion springs and their 10,000 cycles.

This is the big one that can send a shiver down your back. 10,000 cycles (openings and closings), the lifespan of a typical torsion spring, sounds like a lot, but it predictably translates to several years of normal daily usage. A misaligned door or a spring inadequate for the load may trigger failure much sooner. A broken garage door spring is a big deal, and will shut things down in a hurry. We have multiple blogs and a web page on this site detailing the things you need to be aware of with a broken or failing torsion spring assemblage. This is a not good time to play “Mr. Fixit.” Take it seriously, and call the specialists at Automatic Door Specialists. We’ll have you up and running quickly, safely and economically.

Setting the limits – for a safe, gentle landing.

We’ve talked mostly about garage doors that won’t operate, or do so so poorly that you are forced to address the problem. But there are less obvious malfunctions you may overlook. If your door, in closing, does not settle gently and firmly on the pavement, but instead rises back up a bit leaving a small gap, you likely have a setting problem. The door will follow the settings, even if faulty, and if they are off, the result, over time, will be a damaged door assembly. You can make the adjustments yourself if you have the owner’s manual, the right tools, and some aptitude for the task, but we would recommend calling us for a more complete inspection and reset.

A garage door can weigh several hundred pounds, and the forces required to manage its movements are under significant tension and friction. The balance and alignment of all the parts, both moving and fixed, need to be precise. Though not nearly as complicated as cars, automatic doors require regular inspections and occasional tune-ups to perform safely and reliably. We hope you take the time to learn more about the mechanics of your garage door, and apply that knowledge to regular inspections and simple maintenance. We also encourage you to choose a garage door company for annual tune-ups as well as needed repairs. At Automatic Door Specialists, we complete these tasks, though seemingly routine, with the same professional skill and attention we give major installations. We’d rather see a smiling customer whose door requires only a few tweaks or adjustments on an annual basis than a stressed or even panicked homeowner facing a major repair in an emergency situation. Ask about our Annual Door Service (ADS) Plan and learn how our peace-of-mind service will keep your garage door humming.