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Not everyone can be a garage door expert. In fact, most homeowners are befuddled when the garage door isn’t working, which is completely understandable. But if you know the telltale signs, you can pinpoint the issue that’s crippled your garage door, even if you don’t have the ability to fix the problem. Here’s a quick cheat sheet of things to look for when you find your garage door isn’t working properly.

Opener Runs, Door Doesn’t Move

All garage doors have a disconnect mechanism that allows you to use the door when the power is off. If this mechanism has been triggered automatically, the opener will run without moving the door itself.

Photo Eyes

Laws require your garage door to have what’s called “photo eyes.” These photo eyes are located on either side of your garage door, and they shine a light across the threshold of your door. If the beam of light is broken while a garage door is lowering, it will automatically raise again for safety purposes, protecting items, people and pets who might be in the way. These photo eyes can become dirty or misaligned, which can affect the operation of your door. Take a look to make sure the beam is still working properly.

Track Alignment

Your garage door’s tracks do a lot of work under heavy weight. Over time, extreme cold, extreme heat and the weight of all that heavy lifting can warp and bend your tracks, eventually crippling your garage door. What should you look for specifically? If there are gaps between the rollers and rails or if you can visibly see bends in the rails themselves, your tracks could be the reason why your garage door is not opening.

Unexplained Operation

Are you experiencing random garage door openings and closings? This is usually something simple, such as the placement of your transmitter under something that’s depressing it. Or a neighbor may have the same frequency as you, which means your door lowers and raises each time that neighbor uses their transmitter. Try a new frequency to see if that alleviates the issue.

Start to Close, Then Open

The law requires reversing mechanisms that are designed to keep your garage door as safe as possible. If your garage door begins to close, then starts to open again, check to make sure there’s nothing blocking the door’s path that is also triggering the reverse mechanism. Even a small, unnoticed item can trigger it.

Door Won’t Raise

When your door won’t raise at all, first take a look at the large springs that use tension to raise your door. If you can see clear damage, that’s your issue, and it’s not something you should try to address on your own. The high tension makes these springs dangerous, and you should call a professional for repair.

Full Closure, Then Reverse

While a door sometimes closes partially before reversing, it sometimes closes fully before reversing. This may be a problem with your open and close limit settings. These are the settings that tell your door just how far to go up when opening and how far to go down when closing. Set these limits too high, and the door will hit the ground before the opener thinks it’s close. In these cases, the door will assume it’s hit something, and the reverse mechanism will kick in.


This is the simple solution many overlook. Your garage door opener needs power to operate. Always check to make sure your transmitter’s batteries are fully powered up, and then check to make sure your receiver is getting the power it needs, too. While you may slap your forehead if it’s just a battery problem, you’ll also be pleased it’s not something more significant.

While it’s helpful to know what the issue is with your garage door, it’s not always a good idea to try and fix the problem yourself. Garage doors are under massive amounts of tension and can be dangerous. When you need assistance in the Phoenix area, get in touch with Cookson Garage Doors.

Contact us today about your garage door issues.