Having a garage door that won’t close properly can be extremely frustrating. Not being able to securely close your garage door leaves your home and belongings vulnerable and can make your garage unusable. There are several reasons why your garage door may not be closing properly, from broken springs and opener issues to sensor obstructions and track problems.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss common reasons a garage door fails to close, how to troubleshoot and fix the issue yourself, when to call a professional, and tips for preventing problems in the future. Whether your door only closes partially or won’t close at all, this guide will help you get your garage door functioning properly again.
Understanding Garage Door Issues
Before diving into reasons why your garage door won’t close, it helps to have a basic understanding of how garage doors and openers operate.
Garage doors utilize springs, pulleys, cables, tracks, and openers to open and close. When working properly, the garage door opener activates and sends power to lift the door up and down on the track. Sensors on both sides of the door detect obstructions and signal the opener to stop and reverse if something is blocking the door’s path.
If any of these components are broken, out of alignment, or obstructed, it can prevent the door from fully closing. Some common parts of a garage door system that impact its ability to open and close include:
Garage Door Limit Settings
The limit settings control how far your garage door opens and closes. If these settings are off, it will prevent the door from fully closing or opening.
Garage Door Springs
Torsion springs provide counterbalance to offset the door’s weight, making it easy to open and close. Broken springs prevent proper balancing.
Garage Door Track
The metal track guides your door up and down. Bent or misaligned tracks can cause rollers to get stuck.
Understanding how a garage door functions helps pinpoint issues when the door fails to close properly. If one component is damaged or misaligned, it affects the entire system.
Common Reasons Why Your Garage Door Won’t Close
There are a number of possible reasons why your garage door won’t close all the way. Here are some of the most common causes:
Issues with the Garage Door Opener
As the device that powers and controls the opening and closing of your door, any issues with the garage door opener will prevent proper operation.
- Opener motor problems – If the motor is making loud noises, vibrating excessively, or lacks power, the motor may be wearing out or have an internal issue. This can cause the door to not have enough power to fully close.
- Logic board failure – The logic board controls the opener’s motor and other electronic components. If it malfunctions or shorts out, it can lead to intermittent or complete failure to open or close.
- Gear or sprocket issues – These allow the opener motor to drive the cable pulley. Broken, worn, or slipped gears can cause the door to not fully close.
- Limit and sensor issues – Improperly set limits and malfunctioning sensors that prevent the opener from closing fully.
- Opener disengaged – Garage door openers have a manual release to disengage the trolley from the door. If pulled, the door will no longer automatically open or close.
- Loss of power – Check power source and wiring connections. A power outage or tripped breaker can disrupt power to the opener.
Garage Door Opener Motor
As mentioned, any issue with the opener’s motor can prevent the door from opening and closing properly. Binding, jamming, seized, broken, or worn out motors will not have the power to open and close the heavy door. Signs of motor problems include loud noises, vibrating, intermittent function, or the motor not running at all.
Garage Door Remote
The remote serves as the control to open and close your door from a distance. If your remote has dead batteries, is damaged, or unprogrammed, it will fail to send the signal needed to operate the motor. Your remote may need reprogramming or replacing if it fails to close your door.
Limit Switch Problems
The opener’s limit switches control how far the door travels in the open and closed position. If these are improperly adjusted or defective, it can stop the door from fully closing. You’ll notice the motor running but the door not moving. Inspect the limit switches if your garage door closes but reverses and opens again before shutting.
All garage door openers have safety sensors that prevent the door from closing if there is an obstruction in the path. The sensors are located near the bottom of each side of the door. If the sensors are dirty, misaligned, or something is blocking the beam, the opener may not receive the signal to close the door fully.
Torsion springs counterbalance the weight of the garage door, allowing the opener to easily lift and lower the door. Broken or stretched springs do not provide the proper counterforce. This can cause strain on the motor, making in unable to fully open or close the door. If your door is very heavy or difficult to move manually, broken springs could be the issue.
How to Troubleshoot and Fix Garage Door Closing Problems?
If your garage door refuses to close all the way, the issue likely lies with one of the common problems listed above. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix the problem:
Checking the Door for Obstructions
First, check that nothing is obstructing the door’s path. Any items stuck in the tracks or blocking sensors can prevent closing. Remove any debris or objects in the door’s path and retest operation. Clean any dirt or condensation from the safety sensors.
Inspecting the Garage Door Torsion Springs
It’s important to visually inspect the torsion springs above the garage door. Signs that the springs are broken or stretched include sagging at one end, separated coils, or loose hardware. To check springs:
- Carefully and safely detach the opener from the door (use the manual release cord).
- Manually lift and open the door about halfway. A properly balanced door will stay in place when released.
- If the door immediately falls or is very difficult to lift, the springs are likely damaged and need replacing.
Caution: The torsion springs are under extreme tension and can cause serious injury if handled improperly. Call a professional to adjust or replace springs.
Testing the Garage Door Opener Motor
The opener motor should be able to lift and close the door smoothly when disengaged. Test this:
- With the door halfway open, disengage the opener trolley’s attachment to the door arm using the manual release cord.
- Try manually moving the trolley – it should smoothly glide back and forth on the rail with minimal resistance.
- If the trolley is very difficult to move or frozen in place, this indicates an issue with the opener motor.
- Plug a lamp into the outlet to ensure power is being delivered to the opener. If not, check wiring connections and circuit breakers.
Signs of a worn out motor include loud grinding noises, vibrating, intermittent motion, or if the motor fails to run at all. A defective motor will need professional replacement.
Checking Garage Door Limit Settings
- Press the remote or wall button to close the door. Watch to see if the door fully closes before reversing open again.
- If so, the down limit switch likely needs adjusted slightly to allow full closure.
- Carefully adjust the limit setting according to your opener’s manual until the door fully closes without reversing.
Be very careful when adjusting the forces and limits – set them too tight and the door can crush objects or fail to stop and reverse when needed.
Hiring an Expert Garage Door Technician
If you are unable to determine or resolve the issue preventing your garage door from closing, it’s best to hire a professional garage door technician. A qualified garage door expert can safely inspect hardware, diagnose problems, make needed adjustments and repairs, replace broken parts, and ensure the door is properly balanced and working optimally.
Make sure any professional garage door repair services are properly licensed, bonded, and insured. Get upfront estimates, warranties, and guarantees for parts and labor. While DIY repairs are possible for minor issues, major components like springs and openers are complex and potentially dangerous for amateurs to handle. Investing in professional garage door repair can save you money and prevent injury in the long run while getting your balky garage door to fully close once again.
Tips for Preventing Garage Door Problems
To avoid winding up with a garage door that refuses to close in the future, here are some maintenance tips for keeping your garage door working smoothly:
Maintaining Garage Door Springs
Get torsion springs inspected by a professional every 1-2 years. Have any severely wound or broken springs replaced to maintain proper counterbalancing. Don’t attempt to adjust springs yourself.
Keeping the Door Track Clean
Check garage door tracks regularly for dirt, debris, and ice buildup which can obstruct the rollers. Clean the tracks with a damp cloth to remove grime.
Checking the Garage Door Opener Motor
Test that your opener motor is lifting the door smoothly and quietly every month. Lubricate the moving trolley and rail with a small amount of light oil every few months. Replace straining motors before they burn out.
Replacing Old Remotes and Batteries
swap out remotes every 2-3 years or anytime they become unresponsive. Always keep fresh batteries in the remote to ensure the strongest signal possible.
Testing and Adjusting the Auto-Reverse
Make sure the garage door opener’s auto reverse is working properly by laying a 2×4 board flat in the door’s path. When the door contacts it while closing, it should immediately reverse open. Adjust down force as needed.
Fix Minor Alignment Issues
Catch and fix minor track alignment problems early before they progress into door closing failures. Bring in a pro if you can’t close gaps or remedy misalignment.
By regularly inspecting your garage door components, testing safety features, and calling in technicians for major repairs, you can prevent most problems with the door failing to fully close. Addressing issues early also reduces the likelihood of getting stuck with bigger, more costly repairs down the road. Keep your garage door and opener properly maintained and carefully monitored so it continues reliably opening and closing for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my garage door not closing and going back up?
This question is asking about a problem where the garage door starts to close but then reverses and goes back up before shutting fully. Some potential causes include:
- The safety sensors are obstructed or misaligned, causing the door to reverse when it thinks something is blocking the way. The sensors must be cleaned and realigned properly.
- The closing force is set too low, so the door reverses when meeting resistance. The force needs adjusted by a professional.
- The limit settings are allowing the door to close too far before reversing. The down limit needs adjusted slightly.
- There is an obstruction in the door’s path that triggers the auto-reverse, like a broken spring or something sticking out. The obstruction needs to be fixed.
How do you reset garage door sensors?
This is asking how to reset safety sensors that aren’t working right. To reset sensors:
- Make sure sensors are correctly aligned with lights facing each other across the door. Adjust brackets if needed.
- Check for debris blocking the sensors and wipe them clean using a rag.
- Check wiring is intact, secure, and undamaged.
- Disconnect and reconnect the power to reset the opener system.
- Open and close the door to ensure sensors are aligned and working after resetting. The door shouldn’t close if you break the beam.
Can you manually close a garage door?
This asks if the garage door can be closed manually without power. There are a couple options for manually closing the door:
- Pull the emergency release handle on the opener to disconnect the door from the trolley so it can move freely.
- Lift the door manually up until you can reach the interior locking mechanism. Activate the lock to secure the door closed.
- Some doors have handles installed on the inside to allow you to pull them shut manually from the inside when disengaged from the opener.
- Use the locking mechanism on the door track with the opener disengaged. This locks the rollers in place so the door can’t open.
- You can also carefully tie the door down using rope or bungie cords if needed, like during a power outage.
There are a number of potential reasons why your garage door won’t fully close. The most common causes include broken springs, opener problems, bent tracks, sensor obstructions, misaligned components and limit switch issues.
Carefully inspecting the door, testing it manually, and troubleshooting the opener can help pinpoint the issue. Address minor problems quickly before they progress. If the door still won’t operate right, call a professional garage door technician to safely diagnose and fix the problem.
With proper maintenance and repairs when needed, you can get your garage door closing smoothly once again.