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7 Ways to Fix a Garage Door That Won’t Close

Are you dealing with a garage door that won’t close? Don’t call the repair service just yet, as you might be able to fix it yourself. This guide will help point out some of the most common issues to look for when a garage door won’t close and how you can fix them

Broken Garage Door iStock

If your garage door isn’t closing like it’s supposed to, the situation can get pretty frustrating. After all, the garage is where most homeowners keep valuable tools and hobby gear, so security needs to be a priority.

Instead of worrying about your garage’s contents until the repairman can get there, try the following steps. More than likely, you’ll be able to make the repair yourself and save money on a service call.

7 Simple Methods for Fixing a Garage Door that Won’t Close

1. Check the Sensors

If your garage door won’t close all the way, it’s probably an issue with your sensors.

Garage door openers have safety lasers mounted near the floor by the tracks. These sensors detect when small children, pets, or obstructions block the garage door’s path, helping to keep everyone safe.

The lenses on these sensors can get dirty, causing them to send a false signal to the opener’s control board. Often, wiping them clean with a soft cloth will take care of the issue.

If the sensors themselves are blinking, they might need aligning, as they need to “see” each other clearly. Simply loosen one of the sensors, adjust it until the small light stays steady, and tighten in place.

2. Check the Tracks and Rollers

If your sensors are functional but the garage door still won’t close past a certain point, check the tracks to ensure there aren’t any obstructions blocking progress.

A bent track or damaged roller can have the same effect. Inspect both tracks to ensure there aren’t any signs of damage. If you find a damaged section, you can often bend it back to position with clamps or carefully-placed hammer strikes.

Be sure to check the overhead track coming from the garage door opener as well.

This is a good time to check the rollers and grease them with white lithium or silicone-based grease. Several stuck rollers can trick a garage door opening into thinking the door is hitting something.

3. Check the Trolley

The mechanism that connects the garage door to the opener is called the trolley. You can identify this part as it usually has a rope hanging from it. The rope engages and disengages the door from the chain-driven by the garage door opener.

If your garage door is moving freely by hand, the trolley might be in bypass mode. Pull the rope toward the door to take the trolley latch out of bypass mode. Once you activate the garage door opener, the trolley will latch back onto the chain and work properly.

4. Check Your Remote

If your garage door won’t close with the remote, the batteries are likely dead. But, there is a chance that a power surge could’ve wiped your garage door opener’s memory clean. If you replace the batteries and the remote still doesn’t work, you might need to reprogram your remote.

From a ladder, open the rear flap or remove the light cover on your garage door opener. You’ll see a large “learn” button. Simply press that button until a light flashes. Once the light flashes, press a button on your remote. Your remote should now work.

5. Adjust the Limit Screws

If your garage door won’t close all the way but will stop without retracting, you might need to adjust the limit screws. These screws have contacts that tell the garage door opener how far to open or close, and adjusting them is easy.

From a ladder, open the rear flap or remove the light cover on your garage door opener. You’ll see two plastic adjustment screws labeled “up” and “down.” Using a flat screwdriver, twist the “down” screw in quarter-turn increments, checking how your garage door operates between adjustments. Adjust it until the door closes all the way and compresses the rubber seal slightly. If the door closes and bounces back open, back the “down” adjustment off.

6. Check Your Manual

If your garage door won’t close and there’s a blinking light, your garage door opener is trying to tell you what’s wrong. Count the number of times the light blinks and refer to your manual’s troubleshooting guide.

If you don’t have your manual, you can most likely look the trouble code up on the internet. Simply search for your door opener by its manufacturer and model number, and look for trouble code information.

7. Manually Close Your Garage Door

If you’re unable to fix your door by yourself, you might need a technician. While you wait, secure your garage by tugging down on the bypass rope. You should be able to close your door with the trolley disengaged. If your door doesn’t have built-in locking latches, your tracks will have small holes that you can feed a bolt through that will effectively lock the door.