Having your garage door get stuck halfway while opening or closing is a common problem that most homeowners will encounter at some point. A garage door that stops halfway can be frustrating, prevents you from parking your car inside, and could potentially be dangerous if the door falls.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover all the possible causes of garage doors getting stuck halfway and provide actionable solutions to get your door moving smoothly again.
Common Causes for Why Your Garage Door Gets Stuck Halfway?
There are a few key culprits that tend to be behind most stuck garage door issues:
Problem with the Garage Door Opener
The most common cause of a garage door getting stuck is an issue with the opener. Garage door openers contain motors, gears, sensors, and other components that work together to lift the door. If any of these parts become misaligned, worn out, or defective, it can cause the door to stop mid-motion.
Some common garage door opener problems include:
- Weak or worn out motor – Motors lose torque over time. If the motor lacks the power to lift the weight of the door, it may stop halfway.
- Broken gear or sprocket – The gears/sprockets are what turn the drive chain that lifts the door. If one breaks, the chain will slip or get jammed.
- Misaligned optical sensor – Optical sensors tell the opener when the door has fully opened or closed. If misaligned, the sensor will activate early and cause the door to stop prematurely.
- Faulty circuit board – Opener circuit boards can malfunction and cause erratic operation or failure to open fully.
- Obstructed track – Debris or ice buildup inside the opener track can physically block the door.
If your opener is more than 10 years old, replacing it completely may be the most cost-effective solution. For newer openers, inspecting the internal components and realigning or replacing worn parts may resolve the issue.
Broken Garage Door Springs
The torsion springs above the garage door are what counterbalance the weight of the door, allowing the opener to lift it smoothly and easily. However, springs wear out over time and will eventually break.
A broken spring prevents the door from being properly balanced, placing more strain on the opener. This can cause the motor to burn out or the door to get stuck halfway during operation. Replacing broken torsion springs is the only remedy.
Warning: Torsion springs are under extreme tension and can cause serious injury if handled improperly. Leave spring replacement to the professionals.
Obstructed Safety Sensors
All automatic garage door openers have safety sensors located near the bottom of the door opening. These sensors detect if any objects are blocking the door’s path while closing. If something breaks the sensor beam, it signals the opener to stop and reverse the door.
However, the safety sensors can also cause the door to stop mid-motion if something obstructs the beam during opening. This could be debris, cobwebs, lawn equipment, etc. Simply cleaning around the sensors to remove the obstruction is usually all that’s needed.
Issue with the Garage Door Cables
On each side of the garage door, a cable runs through the overhead pulleys and attaches to the bottom corners of the door. As the opener turns the pulley, these cables lift the door. If one of the cables becomes loose, fraying or breaks altogether, it can throw off the door’s balance and cause it to stick while opening. Replacing broken cables is required to fix this issue.
Step-by-Step Solutions for fixing the problem of Stuck Garage Door
If your garage door is getting caught halfway through operation, here are some step-by-step tips to get the door moving freely again:
1. Check the Door for Alignment
Close the garage door fully and check if it is hanging evenly across the top. Misaligned tracks can bind the rollers and cause sticking. If the door appears crooked, you’ll need to loosen the track bolts and realign the tracks.
To align steel tracks:
- Loosen all of the track bolts slightly
- Tap the tracks gently to center them in the door opening
- Make sure the tracks are perfectly parallel and the same distance apart along the top
- Tighten the bolts back up once aligned
For roll-up doors with vertical tracks:
- Loosen the track bracket bolts
- Use wood shims underneath to level the tracks on both sides
- Tighten mounting bolts once aligned
Proper track alignment is imperative for smooth door operation.
2. Tighten Any Loose Hinges or Screws
Loose hinges that connect the door panels or loose pulley/roller mounts can also cause sticking issues. Tighten any loose mounting screws to eliminate play and tighten sagging rollers or hinge plates.
3. Check the garage door that won’t open and Replace Any Broken Springs
It’s critical that the torsion springs are properly counterbalancing the full weight of the garage door. Carefully inspect the condition of the springs above the door. If either spring is broken, the door will feel heavy and tend to bind. Broken springs must be replaced in pairs by a garage door professional for safety.
4. Inspect the Garage Door’s Opener
The most common cause of stuck doors is opener problems. Unplug the opener and manually lift the door about halfway up. If the door moves easily, the issue is with the opener system.
- Inspect the chain/belt – worn or loose chains can cause slipping. Tighten the chain to 1/4″ – 1/2″ of play.
- Check the motor and gears – ensure nothing is jammed and all gears spin freely. Lubricate with opener oil if needed.
- Test the travel limits – confirm that both the up and down limits are correctly set.
- Check the force adjustment – too much force on a sticking door can burn out the motor.
If adjusting the opener components does not help, you may need to replace the motor or contact a technician for service. Install a new motor of equivalent size and lifting capacity.
5. Clear Any Obstructions
Check around the perimeter of the door opening and along the tracks for anything that could be obstructing the door. Remove weeds, tools, lumber, rocks or other debris. Clean the pathways of the optical sensors at the base of the door. If the tracks are binding, use a little silicone lubricant on the roller wheels and inside the tracks – never oil or grease.
6. Adjust the Spring Tension
It’s possible the torsion springs need slight tension adjustment if the door is getting stuck halfway up or down. This should be done by a trained garage door technician for safety reasons. Too much tension can cause the springs to break.
7. Lubricate the Moving Parts
Dry rollers, hinges and pulleys can generate resistance and cause sticking. Use silicone spray lubricant or powdered graphite to lube the door hinges, rollers and inside the door tracks. Avoid oil-based products that can gum up or attract dirt.
8. Check the Door Balance
Sometimes a minor adjustment is all that’s needed to fix a sticking door and allow it to operate smoothly. With the door halfway open, carefully disconnect the opener (do not stand under the door). If balanced properly, the door should hold steady in place, supported entirely by the springs. If not, some adjustment to the spring cable length or tension may be needed. This type of fine-tuning is best left to a trained garage door technician.
When to Call a Professional for Garage Door Repair Service
Repairing garage doors can be dangerous work if certain issues are not handled correctly. Contact a professional garage door company if:
- The door sticks repeatedly and adjustments do not help. There may be an underlying problem needing diagnosis.
- The springs are broken. Never attempt to replace torsion springs yourself.
- The door cable is frayed or broken. Cables under extreme tension can cause serious injury if mishandled.
- The garage door opener needs repair. An opener problem is the most common cause of stuck doors.
- The door is severely misaligned and binding in the tracks. This requires realigning from a pro.
- The bottom panel hits the ground when opening. Indicates broken springs.
- There are signs of significant wear on rollers, cables, springs, etc. Only replace these components with identical parts to avoid door damage.
- The door makes unusual noises or vibrations during operation. Could signal worn opener gears.
- You feel uneasy about DIY adjustment and repairs for any reason. Safety should be the top priority.
While some stuck door causes like obstructions or loose screws can be easy DIY fixes, it’s advisable to contact a professional garage door repair company for anything relating to the door panels, tracks, springs, cables, rollers or opener. They have the expertise and proper tools to safely inspect and fix any issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my garage door only going halfway up?
This is a common problem that indicates an issue with the door’s balance or the opener. Typically the door gets stuck because the torsion springs are broken and no longer balancing the door properly. This puts extra strain on the opener, causing it to stop mid-motion. Other possible causes include worn opener gears, broken cables, misaligned tracks, or binding rollers. The solution involves inspecting the various door components and making repairs or adjustments until the door can operate smoothly again. Replacing broken parts like springs or cables is usually needed.
How do I get my garage door unstuck?
If your garage door is stuck halfway and won’t move up or down, don’t panic. Start by checking for simple issues like obstructions in the tracks or broken safety sensors. Disconnect the opener and try lifting the door manually to isolate the issue. Adjusting spring tension or lubricating rollers can sometimes get a mildly stuck door moving again. But if the door remains stuck in the tracks, it likely needs realignment. Loosen the track bolts, tap them back into proper alignment and retighten. Severe sticking requires correction by a professional garage door technician.
Why does my garage door stop halfway and go back up?
When a garage door reverses direction mid-motion, the safety sensors are usually at fault. Something is obstructing the sensors while closing, so the door stops and goes back up to avoid crushing whatever is underneath. This can also occur while opening if the sensors are misaligned. Check for debris, cobwebs, lawn tools, etc. in the path of the sensors and clean them off. Also make sure the sensors are properly aligned and free of damage. If the sensors check out, the problem may be a faulty opener or circuit board malfunction that needs professional garage door repair.
Every garage door that gets stuck halfway through opening or closing is annoying but usually able to be fixed with some troubleshooting. Typical issues with your garage door include garage door opener problems, broken springs, sensor obstructions, loose hardware or door tracks out of alignment. In most cases, some DIY adjustments and maintenance can get the door moving freely again. However, it’s wise to use caution and call a professional garage door technician for anything beyond minor fixes. They can properly diagnose the issue and safely make repairs if needed. With some regular inspection and upkeep, garage door problems can be avoided before they leave you with a door stuck halfway.