Written by CSS Garage Doors and published on  https://cssgaragedoors.com/.

You’re late for work, you’ve grabbed your gear in a hurry, and you’re walking towards the garage pressing the button on the remote keyfob to get to your car – but nothing is happening; in fact, you’ve probably pressed the button a dozen times by now, and still nothing has happened.  What do you do?

Garage doors are equipped with torsion springs that enable the user to pull the door up or shut it down. One of the most common complaints that are often registered with garage door repair companies is a breakage of the torsion springs.

Diagnosing Your Garage Door

Need Help Diagnosing Your Garage Door Issues? The convenience of a well-operating garage door offers an array of advantages for Georgia homeowners. Garages protect vehicles and outdoor essentials from detrimental weather. Plus, they serve as a secure entry and exit point for your home when all systems are functioning properly. The average American household operates their garage door about 1000 times a year. We use the garage door more than many other technologies in the home. At this rate, the underlying mechanical system of the garage door requires preventative maintenance and service to ensure longevity. So, if it’s not working properly, you may need help diagnosing your garage door.

It’s All Fine Until the Door Won’t Open

Too often, we take the convenience of a well operating garage door for granted. That is, until the day when problems arise, and your vehicle is either locked in or out of your garage. Or, your garage door begins to take on an eerie mind of its own. I may randomly open and close in the absence of operational cues.

From the simplest to the most complex garage door problems, this guide will help. It’ll walk you through garage door troubleshooting to reveal solutions for the most common garage door malfunctions. You’ll understand the difference between simple solutions and complex problems with your garage door hardware and machinery. That will distinguish the steps you can take to repair your garage door. You’ll also know when to your local garage door service professional for help. Following these troubleshooting tips will save you time and money. Plus, you can skip the inconvenient interference that your daily routine is suffering from an out of service garage door.

Safety Note on Garage Doors

Before going any further, I want to be clear. Garage doors can potentially be dangerous, and it is not uncommon for people to get injured while attempting repairs. Even experienced repairmen should work with caution, as it is in the highest insurance classification for work related injury. This is not a garage door safety guide and can not account for every situation. Always proceed with caution. When in doubt, leave the job to garage door professionals. They are familiar with the dangers of working with garage door hardware.

If you attempt any repairs, you should complete a visual inspection. Look for signs that the garage door, or its hardware, is not secure, broken, hanging precarious, or under stress. Also look for signs that tensioned parts are not secure before and during operating or adjusting it.

If you decide to operate the door manually, it is recommended that you either close or brace the door before pulling the release cord, and that nothing is in its operating path. If you attempt any adjustments, do not loosen or remove any part of the door or hardware that is under spring tension or the weight of the door. Make sure the door is not jammed. Also check that its path is clear and unobstructed before operating the motor.  Here are some basic tips for diagnosing your problem, from a basic inspection to a door stuck half way.

Diagnosing Your Garage Door: Basic Inspection

Always begin troubleshooting the problems with your garage door opener system by completing a basic inspection. Check the major hardware parts to determine whether your problem is caused by the garage door, or the opener. Here, we review how to troubleshoot garage door problems that can be observed through a visual inspection of working parts.

We’ll start by questioning the small stuff. Next, we’ll work our way through the major parts of the garage opener system that might require professional help.

A common problem with malfunctioning garage doors consists of one family member physically locking the garage door. And, failing to communicate the change with other family members. The physical lock should not be confused with the vacation/lock mode feature, which is activated using the interior control unit.

Three common types of garage door locks include the opener unit lock, the T handle lock, and the slide lock.

  • If you have a garage door opener, it generally acts as the primary lock. You can usually disengage the lock by pulling the red rope or switching a lever on your trolley system. The lever system varies depending on the opener model. So, you can reference your user manual if you are not familiar with it.
  • The T handle lock, also known as a key lock, can be operated from the inside or outside of the garage door. With the popularity of garage door openers, the need for a key locking system has been greatly reduced.
  • The slide lock is a compact version of the T handle lock. It is usually found on the door next to the track and can only be operated from the inside. It has a shorter lock bar and does not use a key.

What about locks?

You do not need any additional locks if you have a garage door opener, but some people like the additional security provided by additional locking mechanisms. However, many people prefer not to because of the risk that you will damage the garage door by operating it while it is physically locked.

And springs…

Garage door springs are a vital component to a well-functioning garage door opener system. Broken garage door springs are one of the most common problems with malfunctioning garage doors. Begin diagnosing your garage door spring with a visual inspection of the torsion or extension springs to determine if a broken spring is causing your garage door problem.

A torsion spring

Torsion springs are located above the garage door opening. If you notice an extended section or a break in the spring, the spring broke and needs replacement. The repair and replacement of a torsion spring requires the skill of a trained garage door service professional.

garage door extension spring

You will find the extension springs next to the horizontal tracks.  They help to support the movement of the door during cycle operations.  Like the torsion spring, the extension springs operate on a lifecycle basis and require replacement after a number of cycles. If you notice an overextended section, or a break in your extension springs, consult an experienced garage door service pro to determine whether the springs must be replaced.

Most garage door units will not work with either a broken torsion spring or a broken extension spring. If you try to replace the spring yourself, further damage or injury may result.

Chain and Belt Garage Doors

For chain and belt garage door operating systems, you may experience problems with loosening or wearing that causes the moving parts to malfunction. In diagnosing your garage door, if you notice that your chain or belt is loose, or there is an obvious break in the system, a service repair or replacement of the distressed parts may be necessary for a smooth operating garage door system.

Note: it is not recommended that you tighten a loose chain, because it can damage the gear system.

Screw-Drive Garage Door Operating Systems

For screw-drive operating systems, the screw may occasionally need greasing. These garage door openers can be particularly susceptible to weather. If your area has experienced major shifts in temperature, and around the same time, your garage door system began to malfunction, an inspection can determine whether your system needs adjustments or repairs.

It is important to catch malfunctioning parts as early as possible to prevent further damage to your garage door system. For inspections, repairs, and replacements of garage door parts in the Atlanta, Georgia area, contact a professional garage door company to setup a service appointment.

Diagnosing Your Garage Door: Power Failures

If you press the main button on the interior wall control unit, but you don?t see any lights, and the motor does not turn on, then you’ll need to identify the source of the garage door opener power failure. This could be as simple as an accidental tug on the power cord from the outlet or a tripped breaker. However, this could be as complicated as an electrical problem with the logic board or transformer. Follow these steps to locate the cause of a power failure in your garage.

Step 1

If your garage door opener is not hardwired, make sure that it is plugged into the outlet. If you use an outlet that requires a light switch to be on, check to see that your switch is indeed on.

gfci receptacleStep 2

Outlets that require a light switch are not recommended for garage door openers. Light switch outlets are susceptible to power surges, which have the potential to damage the logic board for the opener.

Step 3

Try plugging a small appliance or device into the receptacle to test the power coming from the outlet. If there is no power coming from the outlet, then the cause is an electrical problem, which may be coming from a tripped breaker. If the device has power, but the garage door opener does not, then your power problem lies within the garage door system.

Step 4

A GFCI receptacle is often used in any area of the home where exposure to moisture is common, including the garage. This safety feature shuts power off for your outlet when a problem is detected. If your opener is plugged into a GFCI receptacle, troubleshoot the power problem by first pressing the TEST button, then the RESET button. Read more

Following these steps will allow you to diagnose the problems you’re having with your garage, and avoid having to call a professional.


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