3-Step Troubleshooting Guide For When Your Garage Door Does Not Open Properly

Posted on: 7 March 2016

If your garage door is not opening properly, you may have decided to try to find the problem yourself. If you have already ruled out problems with your automatic door opener, use the following three-step troubleshooting guide to see if there is a mechanical issue with the door itself.

Step 1: Inspect The Tracks For Debris

The first step in finding the cause of your garage door's trouble is to check the tracks for debris that are blocking the path of the rollers. This could be anything from a clod of dirt to a wasps' nest to screws sticking up. For this step, you will need a flashlight and a flathead screwdriver.

Open the garage door, and make note of where it meets resistance. Then, close the door, and shine your flashlight in that area on the tracks. If you see any dirt or another obstacle, clean it out, and thoroughly wipe the inside of the tracks with a damp cloth. If you find a wasps' nest and suspect they are still living in there, take care when removing it.

If you do not see anything blocking the tracks, run your finger along the inside to see if there are any screws sticking up. If so, tighten them with your screwdriver, then try to open the door. If you still have problems, go on to the next step.

Step 2:  Examine The Springs For Rust Or Dislodgement

In this step, locate the springs for the garage door, and make sure they are still attached to the door. If not, you can either try to pull them back into place, or contact a repair service to do it for you. The latter may be advisable if the springs are rusty or appear to be cracked. If you attempt this yourself, you could break the spring, making it necessary to replace them.

If the springs are still attached but have a thick layer of rust on them, this could be making them too stiff to operate correctly. To remove some of the rust, use a wire brush, and carefully brush the springs in the direction of the coils. Once the excess layer is removed, use a toothbrush to apply white distilled vinegar to the springs. Let it soak for about half an hour, then use a smooth, lint-free rag to wipe away the rust.

Try opening the door once again. If you are able to open it, the springs were likely the cause of the problem. If you are still unable to open the door properly, go on to the third step.

Step 3:  Look At The Center Brace On The Door

After ruling out the tracks and springs, look at the center brace located on the door. If the metal rod has become dislodged at any point, it may be shifting out of place whenever you open the garage door.

Open the garage door about a foot, and look at the brace from the side. You should not see any gaps between the rod and the door's surface. However, if you do, check the bracket to see if it has come loose or is missing. If so, you will need to have it repaired because the brace needs to be even and in-line with the door to work correctly.

After using the above guide, you still may not know what is causing the trouble with your garage door, or you may have found a problem you cannot fix yourself. If so, you may want to contact a garage door repair service at a site like http://www.garagedoorjax.com/ to inspect the door and discuss the options available to you, ranging from replacing the springs or tracks to replacing the entire door.