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Smart Home

5 common garage door issues and how to fix them

Got a garage door that just won't work? Here are a few troubleshooting tips for common problems.

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Garage door openers offer convenience and security for our vehicles and our homes. However, like any mechanical product, issues are bound to arise and years of use can take their toll. If you have a garage door acting finicky or not responding at all, it can be a frustrating way to start or end your daily commute. Here are a few common garage door issues and the simplest ways to set things right. 

Remote control not responding

If pressing the button on your garage door's remote control doesn't work, check the batteries first. Simple but true, the remote transmitter needs power to send a signal to your opener. If batteries aren't the issue, be sure you're pressing the button within range of the opener. Try turning into your driveway before pressing the button. If fresh batteries nor a closer range solve your issue, try reprogramming the remote by following the instructions in your opener's manual. 

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If your garage door opener's remote isn't working, try fresh batteries, a closer range or reprogramming the remote. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Wall switch not responding

A dead wall switch might seem like the end of the road for your opener, but it's likely a solvable power issue. Because the wall switch is wired directly into the opener, there won't be any need to reprogram or troubleshoot signal issues. If the wall switch is broken, the likely culprit is either the switch itself or the wiring. Most switches have two wires. To test the wires, detach both from the switch and carefully touch them together. If the opener responds, the switch may be the issue. If nothing happens, new wires are in order and you'll need to replace them with 18- to 22-gauge wire.

Garage door reversing before closing

Garage door openers manufactured after 1993 include sensors to prevent a door from closing on a child or pet. If you garage door is lowering, then reversing back to the open position, there could be something obstructing the sensors. Check to be sure these two sensors on either side of your garage door frame are aimed correctly at each other and all the way across the width of the frame. 

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Wiring issues between openers and wall switches can cause latency or unresponsiveness. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Garage door won't close completely

If your garage door isn't closing all the way, but also doesn't reverse you might need to adjust something called the limit switch. Garage door openers come with an adjustable switch that dictates how far the door should lower in order to close completely. If the switch is set too high for your opening, the door may not close all the way. To adjust the switch, there is usually a screw on the motor unit that when turned, will increase or decrease how far the door descends when closing.  

Garage door seal is loose or broken

A leaky garage door seal (also called "weather stripping") can allow water, insects, dirt and debris to creep into your garage space. If your garage door's seal isn't what it used to be, you can easily replace your existing seal with a new one. You can purchase new weather stripping at your local home improvement store, some even come in garage-specific kits with adhesive and a caulking gun for extra sealing. 

If you aren't purchasing a custom kit, trim the weather stripping to fit your door's width. Then, with the door disengaged from the automatic opener, fold the new weather stripping into a U-shape and slide it into the channel at the bottom of your garage door. 

These common garage door problems are solvable and with a little bit of DIY, you can keep your garage door opener working for years. Still, nothing lasts forever and there are a few signs that indicate you need a new system. If you're in the market for a new garage door opener, consider a smart option to make your arrival at home even more effortless.