The One Man Show Newbie Complete Guide on How to Personally Troubleshoot Your Problematic Garage Door Opener

A broken garage door can be frustrating especially when you are in a hurry or you just want to step inside your house and relax after a long day.

The good news is there are several ways to fix the garage door by yourself. All you need is a little patience, some tools, a clean cloth and maybe batteries.

But a word of warning, if you attempt to do this by yourself take a proper caution as you are dealing with electricity. Also, you might want to remove your car out of the garage.

Here is a list of common garage door opener complaints and some quick fix solutions:

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How to Fix Your Garage Door When it’s Not Closing

There are several reasons why garage doors won’t close. It can be due to any part of the garage door not working properly either because it’s broken or simply misaligned. So, before you can do any repairs, check every part of the garage door:

  1. Is the motor plug loose or unplug?
  2. Is the wall button set to lock feature?
  3. Are the batteries of your remote control still working?
  4. Does your remote control need a reset?
  5. Are the beam sensors plugged in the motor?
  6. Are your safety sensors eyes clean?
  7. Are there any other parts (railing, spring cables, and pulleys) broken, loose or bent?

An inspection will usually help you find what to fix so it can work normally again.

How to Diagnose and Repair Garage Door Safety Eye

Safety eyes are found on the left and right side near the bottom of the garage door. These are in place to make sure that it is safe for the door to close automatically – that there aren’t feet or toddlers or pets that may get hit.

However, these safety eyes are also usually the reason why doors don’t work properly. Hit the wall button to check if there are problems in the safety eye. If the bulb in the power unit switches on and off then you may follow these steps to fix the problem:

Step 1: Manually release the pull cord. Units usually have an emergency cord that you can tug from the ceiling; check your user’s manual if you can’t see a cord. Then, pull the door down.

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Step 2: Check the lights in both safety eyes. A working safety eye should have a solid yellow or orange light. Flickering green light on the safety eye means that something is not right.

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Step 3: Fix the safety eye by securing it tightly. Unscrew and make sure to tightly secure the safety eye back. Make sure that both eyes are following a straight line, alignment is important for the eyes to work.

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Step 4: Now, it’s time to test your repair. Press the wall button again and connect the manual release cord back again.

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If there is no light from the safety eyes, then they may need replacement.

Troubleshooting a Garage Door That Won’t Move

Sometimes your garage door won’t move at all, this happens for several reasons:

  • garage door travel or opener trolley are obstructed
  • overheated motor
  • defective RPM sensor
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Your power unit can usually tell you if any of these is the case. For motor units with a single LED light, the lights usually blink 5 times while for motor units with an up and down arrow keys, the up arrow blinks once and 5 times for the down arrow.

To do a quick fix, check the following:

  1. Garage door travel or trolley – bents, dust or other small objects may be obstructing the path.
  2. Overheated motor -allow the motor to cool for thirty minutes especially if you just recently used the garage door. If you have not used the door yet, then unplug the motor for one minute and plug back again to reset.
  3. Stuck door – pull emergency release rope and open and close manually. Check for bends on the door track and make sure that the door latch fully retracts. Also, make sure the rail is not damaged or bent. Other forms of damages may need replacement.
  4. Inner trolley – if there is no problem with the trail, it might be the inner trolley travel along the rail. If you suspect this, turn on the machine, if it gets stuck or it won’t move then it may need replacement as well.
  5. Motor RPM Sensor – the motor’s RPM sensor may be faulty if there is no damage anywhere and it can move only for 6-8 inches.
  6. Logic Board – if motor lights blink 6 times, this may mean an internal motor circuit failure. This is usually due to lightning striking the roof and affecting the motor logic board.

Steps in Fixing a Stuck – Noisy Garage Door

A noisy garage door is not pleasant at all. Thankfully, this can easily be fixed by a dry lubricant. Aside from keeping the door quiet, it can prolong its life especially if you do it once or twice a year.

Put the lubricant in all the parts that move like uncovered bearings, hinges, torsion springs, the top of the shuttle, pulley and the track.

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When lubricating, remember to:

  • use dry lubricants or silicone spray so it does not attract dirt
  • use lithium grease if you live in cold places
  • park your car outside of the garage, if possible, to avoid dripping your car

If it is still noisy then inspect the main drive gear. The main drive gear is made of plastic and it is the one that is in contact with the drive gear on the motor, making this part one of the first to wear out. If the main drive gear is broken, it will make a grinding noise.

You can replace the main drive gear by yourself, although removing it may be a little more complicated but doable.

Easy Tips on How to Troubleshoot Your Garage Door Sensor

Three things may cause the safety sensor to malfunction; the simplest ground is if something is blocking them. Safety sensors are connected by a laser beam so if one sensor is blocked then it would not work properly.

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To troubleshoot your garage door sensor:

  1. Make sure nothing blocks the Safety Eye – this can be anything in the garage like a broom or a dustbin or even your foot while trying to figure out what’s wrong with the door.
  2. Dust off the lenses of your Safety Eye – dusts, webs and even snow may sometimes cause the sensors to do a safety reverse.
  3. Check if your sensors are catching the sunlight directly – at any time of the day, the sun may directly hit the Safety Eye causing it to interfere with the laser beam signal. You may attach a small plastic tube barrel to block the sun.
  4. Misalignment issue – consider using a zip tie to securely attach the Safety eye to its holder and stop it from moving around too much every time the door vibrates. Also try moving the sensor bit by bit until the power indicator is on.
  5. Inspect for low-voltage circuits – there may be wires connecting the sensors and the garage door opener unit that were not connected properly. This is not advisable if you do not have any knowledge of wires and electricity.

Having an automatic garage door is an advantage but we often forget the convenience it brings until the door is broken. Luckily, most problems can be solved easily and have the door running smoothly again in no time.

4 thoughts on “The One Man Show Newbie Complete Guide on How to Personally Troubleshoot Your Problematic Garage Door Opener

  1. Sensors like these provide a very nice safety feature which in return gives me peace of mind.

  2. Thank you for your information. It really has helped me trying to figure out the problem with my garage door opener.

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