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6 Most Common Reasons Why Your Garage Door Won't Open

Updated on April 06, 2016

#1 Your Photo Eye is Blocked

Most garage doors from the past 15-20 years will have a photo eye which detects if a person or object is blocking the door from lowering all the way. The photo eye will be about 4-6 inches off of the ground for most doors, with an eye that is about the size of a pea. The photo eye shoots a laser across the length of the garage that if interrupted will cut off the signal used to lower and raise the door.

Check both that the cord attached to the eye is not cut or damaged, occasionally a rainstorm or leak can affect the photo eye and damage it.

Sometimes dirt and dust can clog the eye and block it from shooting its lazer beam, so a thorough cleaning with a tissue can sometimes dissolve this issue.

Plug it in Plug it in

#2 Your operator's power source is disrupted.

Sometimes people will unplug their power source and then wonder why their garage door opener fails to work. Sounds ridiculous I know, but it does happen very often. Make sure that your garage door opener is plugged into a working outlet. Outlets sometimes go out without warning, so you can check to see it the outlet is working by plugging another working electronic device into the outlet to see if the plug is working. Also check your circuit breaker, fuse or GFCI.

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#3 Your Garage Door Torsion Springs are Broken

SNAP... Bang... Boom. That is the sound of a garage door torsion spring breaking. It can be a very loud noise that sometimes sounds like a firecracker or gunshot. Either way, if you have a broken spring on your garage door you should NEVER try to open the door, it can be very dangerous to open the door and should be left to a professional or someone with the right tools and skills of garage door repair. Springs are rated for a certain number of cycles and the first thing that will break in your garage door assembly. Broken springs are the #1 source of customer calls for garage door repair companies.

Broken Garage Doors are a Pain! You can fix some simple issues DIY style.

Broken Garage Door Torsion Springs

How to program your garage door remote

#6 Your Remote Control is Malfunctioning

When your garage door won't open with the remote there are few things that can cause this problem.

  1. You might be out of range of the door
  2. The antenna on the motor could be damaged or blocked from the signal, make sure it is hanging down from the motor.
  3. If the door opens with the wall switch, a simple battery change should do the trick
  4. If all these fail, try reprogramming the remote.

#4 Your Garage Door Cables Have Snapped

Oftentimes when a torsion spring breaks on a garage door, the garage door cable will snap under the immense amount of energy that is released with the break. Sometimes the cable will cause damage to a vehicle or wall, and if a person happens to be in the way of the cable it can cause serious harm. If you cables have snapped you should call a professional to help you repair the damage and get your garage door back to working order.

#5 Your Sensitivity is out of Adjustment

This can happen to a newly installed garage door or an older one, if the sensitivity is set too low or high the opener will not open due to the fact that it will not sense that the door has enough weight or too much. You can test your sensitivity on the opener with your manufacturers directions in the documentation. You can adjust the close force and limit switch to the right levels and you should be good to go!

Make Sure Your Sensitivity is Correct!


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    • profile image

      Tony 6 months ago

      HI, my garage door does not open. The motor runs and the shaft turns, but seems it is not engaging the chain. It does close when opened manually.

      Please advise on what the problem may be.

      Thank you.

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      Victor 6 months ago

      I have the exact same issue. Only difference is that my opener is screw driven and not chain. I would love a response to this problem. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Ed 6 months ago

      Check the release. There is a cord that you pull that disengages the door from the opener. When it is pulled the trolley that rides along the bar will move back and forth but the door doesn't move. All you need to do is push the release lever back up.

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      Ronald Stein 4 months ago

      Our garage door won't open, three red lights are lit


    • profile image

      Brent 3 months ago

      I have realigned my sensors and my garage door keeps stopping in the open position and then the light flashes 3-6 times. Any idea what could be wrong?

    • profile image

      Jim Nasium 2 months ago

      Why are your reasons listed in non-numerical sequence?

    • profile image

      Joe 2 months ago

      Brent, check your door sensors either they need adjusted or something is in the way

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      Ern 3 weeks ago

      Hi my garage door will only open a quarter of the way up without me holding the button Down. It will open completely as long as I'm holding the button down the whole time. What could be wrong?

    • profile image

      Terry 11 days ago

      My garage door remote works great until glad comes on after the light Times out it works again please advise me what to do thanks

    • profile image

      mecael 5 days ago

      My garage door won't open or close the motor runs and the shaft turns bur doesn't engage the chain. it opens and closes manually

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