Open Sesame: How to Service a Garage Door

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Four Underestimated Tilt-Opened Garage Door Issues

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If your garage door won't open, you've checked the springs and you know your transmitters are in working order, what else could the problem be? Read on to learn more about four common tilt-up garage door opener issues that might not have occurred to you.

#1: Your door's photo eye is blocked or misaligned.

If the door is opening normally and the opener seems to be functioning entirely correctly but won't close no matter what you do, go have a look at the photo eye. This is the glass lens on either side of the entrance that keeps the door from closing itself when there's anyone--or anything--in the way.

Make sure it's doing its job properly by giving it a gentle clean with a soft cloth. You should also inspect the space between the two lenses: is there anything hanging or leaning into it that might be blocking their beam and keeping the door open?

If none of that works, check the alignment of the two eyes: are they pointing in exactly the same direction at the same angle and facing each other perfectly? What triggers them to know everything's okay and that the door can open is sensing the other eye, so if they're not perfectly aligned they'll assume something's in the way. Use a spirit level or (even better!) a laser level to make sure yours are in the right place.

#2: The door isn't properly aligned in its track.

Tilt-opened garage doors slide open and closed by running themselves along a metal track while the opener rocks backwards to pull them along. That track needs to be in perfect alignment with the door, or you could end up with a very expensive problem once the track bends and buckles under the strain!

Thankfully, it's pretty easy to spot. Your door will groan, squeak and generally complain as it opens and will probably slow down as it goes through one particular spot. It could also be the cause of a door that won't open at all: if your door is opening part-way and then getting stuck, a misaligned track is almost certainly the problem!

This is actually very easy to fix by yourself, thankfully. Loosen the screws holding the track to the frame and, with a rubber mallet, tap it gently around the problem area to get it to fall back into position. Use a spirit level to ensure that it's really straight, and tighten the screws as securely as you can.

#3: Someone enabled the disconnect and/or locked the door manually.

All garage doors can be operated manually as well as automatically. There are good reasons for this: it means that you can get your car out even when there's a power cut, for one thing! There are two ways that this capability can cause your door to seem as though it has stopped working, however.

One is that someone might engage the power-free mode by enabling the disconnect switch, either intentionally or by accident. Look for your disconnect switch: if it's a knob you can turn, you can probably simply turn it and everything will be up and running. Tilt openers will more commonly have a rope with a hook, however, so reach up to open your door manually and reattach it. Close the door with your transmitter to make sure everything's up and running again.

You should also check the handle on the door to ensure that the garage door hasn't been manually locked: most can be, and it should be a simple process to reverse.

#4: The limit and sensitivity settings have been badly calibrated.

All garage doors are programmed to understand how far they need to move to be entirely open or closed. If something about this programming is a little out of whack, the door will only open or close part-way--or it will keep grinding with the effort of straining to move when it's already fully open or closed. Every manufacturer has a different method for programming these settings, so if you think this might be the issue, check your operating manual or ask a local professional to come and have a look for you.