Everyone’s finally dressed and ready to leave. You back the car out, hit the remote, and you’re off. Until you realize the garage door hasn’t gone down. You reluctantly pull back into the driveway, brow furrowing in frustration. It happens to everyone. Many homeowners don’t even realize they left it open until they return home.
Why didn’t it close? Garage doors usually fail to close as a result of the safety sensors being blocked. They’re located on each side of the opening, no more than a foot or so off the ground. Typically, each will have a small light that stays lit when everything is going well. If either of the lights are out, simply move whatever is blocking the sensor (sometimes even cobwebs/small debris can cause safety sensors to malfunction) or adjust them so that they are pointing at each other again. You can move these around by hand if they’ve been knocked out of alignment.
If you’re still stuck at home, make sure nothing is blocking the path of the door. This can be a common cause for service calls on garage doors. Always use caution when operating your door, but be extra cautious when it’s not working correctly. It’s the probably the largest, heaviest piece of machinery in the house. The counter balance system of the door is under EXTREME pressure, and when it doesn’t work properly, it can be dangerous. Many people have been injured or even killed by garage doors, some of them professionals. If your garage door is sitting crooked in the opening, has come off the tracks, or is not working properly, call a professional repair company immediately.
If the door works but the opener still won’t close it, there are a couple more things to try before calling a professional. Try using the wall button instead of the remote or keyless entry. It’s possible the remote’s batteries are dead, or the opener’s lock function has been enabled. If the garage door itself is working properly, you can pull the manual release on the opener. This will let you close the door manually, although the opener won’t be locking it shut the way it normally would.
Some openers have an indicator light that can help troubleshoot any problems. Again, you’ll need your owner’s manual for your opener. Many can be found online by doing a quick search for your make and model number. You can find the model and manufacturer on the back of the opener.
If all else fails, it may be time to call a pro. Some companies will be able to give an estimate on probable repairs over the phone, so let them know what steps you may have already taken. Call a few different companies to ensure their numbers are competitive. Since openers have an expected life span of about 10 years, it might also be a good idea to check prices for new openers, instead of repairing an older model. Newer models will have more up to date security features, as well. For more information about security vulnerabilities and older model garage door openers, take a look at “Is Your Garage Door Opener Leaving Your Home Unsecured?“.