What To Do If Your Garage Door Will Not Open


Garage doors and openers can fail anytime, but colder temperatures can wreak havoc on doors, remotes and motors. Unfortunately, it’s not that unusual to rush out the door to get the kids to school or head to work only to find that your garage door isn’t moving.

Or maybe you’ve driven home from a long day at the office and find that the remote won’t operate the door. Is the problem with the remote, or with the garage door opener inside? There are several causes of stuck garage doorsin winter, and different fixes to get you back on the road. Read on to find out how best to tackle this common winter hassle.

First and foremost, try different methods to signal the opener to move the door. If your system has wall-mounted buttons that aren’t responding, try the remote. If it’s still stuck, change out the batteries in the remote. If the door still isn’t moving, take 30 seconds and troubleshoot the issue yourself. If nothing else, you’ll be able to get your car out of the garage!

First, disconnect the door from the opener. This is usually a matter of pulling down on the rope or cord hanging from it.  But if your opener is wall mounted or there is no cord, it may be time to call in an expert for help.

Once the opener and the door are no longer connected, it’s time to try to lift the garage door. There are generally three results for this troubleshooting step:

  1. The garage door lifts up easily once disconnected from the opener.

    The good news is that you can now get your car out of the garage. The bad news is that you’ve identified the problem as the motor in the overhead opener. Unless you’re an electrical engineer with some extra time on your hands, it’s time to call in an expert to troubleshoot or replace the opener.

  2. The garage door is very heavy.

    When the garage door feels extremely heavy, this is a good indicator that there’s a problem with the system’s springs. Most types of garage doors rely on springs as counterweights, and because they are  under a significant amount of stress, a broken garage door springis quite common.  If you suspect that the problem is the springs, never attempt a DIY repair. Should the spring snap, you could be seriously injured. Call a qualified garage door repair company instead.

  3. The door lifts, but catches or sticks along the track.

    Fixing this problem may be a simple matter of applying a silicone-based lubricant to sticky spots along the track. Cold temperatures can cause lubricant to harden or cake, creating obstructions along the track. If the problem persists even after applying lubricant, it may indicate that the tracks themselves have become worn or fallen out of alignment. If the sticking continues, you’re going to need some help getting your garage door back in gear.

If you do end up needing to call a garage door repair company to help, do some comparison shopping first. Service companies vary in how they price a service call, so look for one that includes up to an hour of labor in the price. Most garage door repairs take about that long to diagnose, fix, and test.  And if the company charges in 30-minute increments, you could pay twice what you could be paying.

A broken garage door can be a surprise, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or unnecessarily expensive to take care of safely.

Vince Scarlato is Co-Owner ofCincinnati Door & Window, based in Cincinnati, Ohio.  His company sells and installs garage doors & openers, Windows & Doors and other home building products.

Cincinnati Door & Window, Inc.
11 Techview Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45215
(513) 821-5095



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