How to Troubleshoot a Garage Door That Is Not Closing

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Troubleshooting a garage door that is not closing can save you money and frustration. The first thing to examine is the mechanics of the door. The door cable and springs must be in good shape for the door to operate smoothly. If the door appears physically in good shape, the safety mechanisms within the garage door opener could be preventing the door from closing. A few inspections will identify the cause. It is a good idea to have a friend assist you while troubleshooting the door and opener.

Things You'll Need

  • Stepladder
  • Helper
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Wrench set
  • Wire strippers

Inspect the door cables and the springs. The cables should have no slack in them. For doors that have a spring on a tubular shaft above the door opening, the cables should wrap evenly on the drums at the end of the shaft. For doors that have springs stretching on each side, the cable routes through two pulleys and should show no sign of binding. If the cables are loose or broken, seek a service professional. If the springs on the door are broken, a service professional needs to replace the springs.

Pull down on the emergency release rope to disengage the door trolley from the opener carriage. The door trolley is the portion that connects the arm from the top section of the garage door and the opener. The release cord allows the door to operate by hand without the use of the opener.

Grab the door at the handle on the bottom section and manually close the door. If the door will not close by hand, look for the area where the door is binding. Pay close attention to the area where the door rollers insert into the track. Sometimes a roller will pop out of the track. Ask a helper to hold the door in the open position while you pop the roller back into the track. Grab the upper track and twist the top of the track toward the door while inserting the roller into the track.

Operate the garage door opener at the push button wall station. If the opener operates, the door down force screw needs adjusting. If the opener does not operate, the photo-eye sensors require adjustment.

Place a stepladder under the garage door opener head. Ask your helper to connect the door trolley back to the opener carriage. The helper should open the door until the trolley engages the carriage. Look for the limit and down force adjustment screws on the back of the opener head. Turn the down force screw 1/4 turn counterclockwise with a flathead screwdriver. Ask your helper to push the wall button to operate the opener. The initial push will open the door again. Have your helper push the wall button again to close the door. Continue adjusting the down force screw until the door closes all the way.

Examine the LED lights on the photo eyes toward the bottom of the track, if the door closes manually and the opener did not operate without the door attached. There is a green light on one eye and a red light on the opposite eye. The red eye indicates power is going to the photo eyes. The green light indicates the eyes are aligned. Loosen the nut securing the right side photo eye to the door track with a wrench and maneuver the eye up or down until the green light stays lit. Tighten the securing nut. If the red light is not on, follow the path of the bell wire to ensure their are no breaks in the wire.

Inspect the connection at the rear of the motor. The wires from the photo eyes connect near the limit adjustment screws. Sometimes the bare wire around the terminal will crack and break. Loosen the terminal screws and inspect the wire ends. If necessary, remove 1/4 inch of insulation off the ends of the wire with wire strippers. Bend the end into a hook and hook the wire around the neck of the terminal screw. Tighten the screw to secure the wires.

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