It happens more frequently than you think. You wake up and get ready to go out, and the garage door won’t budge. Your opener strains and stops, or maybe lifts the door a few inches and can’t go higher.

What now?

Something has obviously gone wrong. There are a lot of parts to your garage door lift mechanism, and each of them has to be in good working order. Some issues require professional repair, but it might be a simple problem you can fix in minutes by yourself.

Easy issues you can fix:

  • If you’re using an electric garage door opener, make sure the vacation lock is disengaged. On the pad, there’s a button that locks the opener. Push it and try again. Still nothing?
  • Do you hear the motor humming? If not, check to see if the unit is getting power. Make sure it’s plugged in securely and check the breakers.
  • If you do hear the motor, but the door doesn’t move or stops after a few inches, stop and reverse it by pushing the button again.
  • At this point, you’ll need to inspect the system. Does your garage door look level and straight? Disconnect the opener by pulling the release cord so you can operate the door by hand.
  • Next, let’s check the track. Look at the fittings and brackets. Are there any loose bolts or screws? If so, tighten them and try to lift the garage door by hand. If it goes up easily, you may have fixed the problem.
  • If that’s not it, check the track itself. Are there any obstructions blocking the wheels?
  • Do the wheels turn freely when you move the door? If not, lubricate the tracks and hardware with garage door lubrication.

If you find and fix any of these issues, reconnect the garage door to the trolley by lifting the door and pulling on the cord. The door should lift easily, and you’ll hear it click into place. Try the garage door opener to verify that it opens and closes as normal.

When it’s time to call for professional repair:

  • Look at the springs above the door. Are they intact? If you see a broken spring, don’t touch it. Springs store a great deal of mechanical energy and can be dangerous.
  • Does your garage door opener have a loose chain or visible damage?
  • Are the cables slack?

If you cannot see any of these issues, try to lift your garage door by hand. When there’s an issue with the lift assembly, it will be heavy and hard to open. Any of these issues are serious and we do not recommend trying to fix it yourself. You will need to call a professional garage door repair service.

If you do get it open, it may not stay put, so be very careful…you don’t want the door to fall on your car while you’re trying to back out, or on your head while you’re standing under it. Your garage door can weigh up to 300 pounds. That kind of weight will do a lot of damage to your car, and even more to your head!