Reasons Why Your Garage Door Won’t Open And/Or Close

The garage door is the most frequently used entrance and exit in the average residential household. As a result, a garage door is bound to have functional issues now and then. When a garage door won’t function properly, the source of the problem could be in any number of given areas, and, while it is possible to troubleshoot some of these issues at home, it’s always best to contact a professional garage door repair service to come and assess the situation. Here, we will look at some reasons why your garage door may not be functioning properly. Some can be fixed with a quick step or two, while others will require a professional opinion.

Sensors out of Alignment

The safety sensor on your garage door that is programmed to instantly respond to any obstruction in its path is called the photo-eye. The photo-eye involves two pieces that align face-to-face across either side of the garage door. A pea-sized LED laser is sent from one piece to the other, detecting people or objects blocking the path of the garage door. If something is in the way, the door won’t open. If you are noticing any issues with your photo-eye, here are some ways you can troubleshoot the problem on your own before getting in contact with a garage door professional:

  • Clean the photo-eye with a washcloth or tissue. Dust and debris can sometimes clog the sensor, causing the garage door to freeze in place. 
  • Check the alignment of the photo-eye. The photo-eye can only open or close the garage door if each piece of the photo-eye receives the LED laser beam from the other side so it’s critical to make sure these pieces stay aligned.
  • Check the wiring of the photo-eyes. The photo-eye is typically placed about four to six inches off the ground. The cord attached to the eye could become damaged through excessive use and exposure to the elements. If the wires are damaged, you’ll need to have the photo-eye replaced.
  • Check the LED light on each side of the sensor. If the lights are lit, check to make sure the photo-eye isn’t dirty. If one light is flickering or off, the photo-eye could be damaged. Move the malfunctioning sensor around to see if the light changes. Adjust the pivot bracket to try to revive the LED sensor light. Once the light is back on, tighten the sensor back in place.

Broken Remote

If your garage door won’t respond to your remote control then it’s possible that the remote is either broken, needs new batteries, or needs to be reprogrammed. Here are some troubleshooting methods you can try before replacing your garage door remote:

  • Make sure you are within range of the sensors. The sensor for your remote control may be out of range from the garage door so try getting closer to the door and using the remote.
  • Make sure the antenna is visible and hanging from the motor. The antenna might be damaged, or the signal could be blocked.
  • Replace the batteries in the garage door remote control. If you notice that the door opens by pressing the buttons on the wall-mounted panel but not when you use your garage door remote, you may need to replace the batteries. Your remote control will either need a 3-volt lithium battery or a 12-volt battery. When you replace the battery, you might also need to reset your remote.
  • Make sure the lock feature is turned off. If the light is blinking on your door control panel, press and hold down the “lock” button to turn off the lock feature. If you need to engage the lock feature again, you can hold down the “lock” button to turn it back on.

Broken Springs

A broken spring is one of the most common reasons why a garage door might not open. Springs are featured in both manual and automatic garage door systems – Two torsion springs run horizontally over the width of the door, while two extension springs lift and lower the door along the track. The springs store the mechanical energy that controls the movement of the garage door and offset the weight of the door to ensure that it opens and closes smoothly. 


Each spring is rated according to its number of cycles. Depending on the rating of your springs, they could last several years before needing to be replaced. Once a tension spring has used up all its cycles, it stops working so inspecting the tension springs at least once a year can help you prepare for the end of their lifespan. If you notice the tension springs are weakening over time, be proactive and replace them before they break. The development of rust on the tension springs over time increases friction on the coils.  Its recommended to spray the springs with a silicone-based lubricant at least once every four months to prevent them from breaking due to rust build-up.


Here are some things to look for if you think you have a broken spring:

  • The motor is running, but the door isn’t moving.
  • A loud, gunshot-like sound coming from inside your garage.
  • The garage door starts to feel heavy as you try to manually maneuver it.
  • You can hear the door straining to open and close.


If you suspect that your garage door has broken tension springs, use caution when examining it. Garage doors with broken tension strings can drop without warning. The average garage door weighs over 200 pounds and you run the risk of damaging the garage door or injuring yourself. 

Misaligned Tracks

The metal tracks on your garage door keep it in alignment so the tracks must be straight and even at all times for the door to open and close efficiently. To prevent misalignment, look for loose nuts and bolts around the track. Check and make sure the door is gliding smoothly along the track and keep an eye out for bends, gaps, or obstacles along the track. If you notice areas of friction or jamming, a misaligned track could be the issue. If the tracks are misaligned, or the door has fallen off the tracks, you will notice that your door jerks around and makes grinding noises. Over time, as misalignment worsens, the garage door will eventually stop working. 


If your garage door stops functioning, the track may be broken and you may need to get your garage door system replaced. At that point, it would be wise to call Haney Door Service to come out and take a look at your door. Our experienced technicians will ensure that your garage door is working properly so you can utilize your garage. We offer beautiful, high-quality solutions for homes and businesses in the Sacramento area. Pair this with our unrivaled service and passionate employees, and you get garage door service that exceeds your expectations. Click here to request an estimate or give us a call at (916) 534-4538.