What Can I Do if My Garage Door Won’t Close?

The garage door is one of the most vital parts of many homes, but it’s also among the most dangerous. These doors are generally heavy, and moving them requires a lot of force. That means that whenever something goes wrong with the door mechanism or the safety sensors, the door can malfunction and become a potential risk to your safety and security. So, what can you do when your garage door doesn’t close?

If your garage door doesn’t close, try to identify the issue by checking the safety lenses, the tracks, the wall station, the troller, the limit screws, and the remote. Call a professional if you can’t identify the problem. You can use the manual release cord to lower the door in the meantime.

A garage door that won’t close can be a massive inconvenience, especially if you’ve got important things stored in your garage. Knowing what to do when this problem occurs should help you resolve the issue quickly so that you can get back to using your garage as usual. Let’s look at how garage doors work and then some tricks and tips for how to fix a door that won’t close.

How Does a Garage Door Opener Work?

Black Suv turning into garage with automatic overhead door opener

A garage door opener is designed to easily switch back and forth from powered lowering or lifting to manually lowering or lifting.

The garage door opener operates or works with a motor located in the middle of the garage. The motor pulls a crew drive, a belt-drive, or a chain that attaches to the curved door arm and the garage door itself. 

The motor operator is wired through the garage ceiling to receive both electricity and commands from your garage door button, which is usually mounted near your home door. When engaged, the motor pulls the crew drive, a belt-drive, or a chain up or down.

This process will pull or push the curved door arm and the garage door itself up and down. These three drives are what the garage door motor moves to lower and lift the door.

What Should I Do If My Garage Door Won’t Close?

1. Check the Safety Sensors

When your garage door doesn’t close, the first thing to do is scan the door and have a visual check. For instance, see if there is something under the garage door or if something is blocking the safety sensors.

If the garage door doesn’t close all the way, it’s most probably an issue with the sensors. Garage door openers have safety lasers or sensors mounted near the garage floor by the tracks.

These lasers detect when pets, children, or any other obstruction blocks the path of your garage door. This helps you to keep everyone safe.

If you find out that nothing is blocking the garage door or sensors physically, you should check the safety sensors to ensure they are clean and aligned correctly. Quite often, since the garage is a dusty place, susceptible to grime and dirt, the lenses on these safety sensors can easily get dirty.

Even a cobweb can cover the sensor’s lens, preventing it from working correctly. It can also cause them to send a false signal to the opener’s control board.

Therefore, you should always check the safety sensors and wipe them down with a soft cloth. If the safety sensors are blinking, you’ll be required to realign them because they need to clearly communicate with or ‘see’ each other. Just loosen one of the safety sensors, and adjust it until the small light glows brightly and steadily.

2. Check the Tracks and Rollers

If the safety sensors are functioning correctly, but your garage door still won’t close, you should check the tracks to ensure that there are no obstructions blocking progress.

A damaged roller or a bent track can have a similar effect. Therefore, you need to inspect both tracks and rollers to ensure no signs of damage.

You can often bend a damaged or bent section back to position with clamps or carefully-placed hammer strikes whenever you find a damaged or bent section. It’s vital to check the overhead track coming from your garage door opener.

This is an ideal time to check the rollers and grease them with silicone-based grease or white lithium. Consider using Blaster Garage Door Lubricant (on Amazon).

There are many rollers that can trick your garage door opening into thinking the garage door is hitting something.

3. Try the Wall Station

If the above two fixes don’t resolve the problem, you can proceed on to the wall station of your garage door opener. Attempt to press and hold the interior wall station until the garage door touches the ground. To do this, you need to use constant pressure.

If your garage door closes with this method, then the problem lies with the safety sensors. Sometimes, the electrical circuit boards found inside the photo safety sensors can get shorted when wet or when there is a power surge.

You can clean and realign the safety sensors easily and quickly. This is a DIY fix that does not require a garage door professional.

4. Check the Trolley

The mechanism that connects your garage door to the garage door opener is called the trolley. This part is easy to identify because it has a rope hanging from it. This rope engages and disengages the garage door from the chain-driven by your garage door opener.

If the garage door is freely moving by hand, then the trolley might be in bypass mode. Therefore, you need to pull the rope towards the garage door to take the trolley latch out of bypass mode. The trolley will latch back onto the chain and work or function properly when you activate the garage door opener.

5. Check the Remote

If the garage door does not close while operating it using a remote, the remote’s battery could be dead. There is also a chance that a power surge could have wiped the garage door opener’s memory clean. Therefore, if you replace the remote batteries and the remote still doesn’t work, you might need to reprogram your remote.

You need to open the rear flap from a ladder or remove the light cover on the garage door opener. You will see a large “learn” button. Just press that button until a light flashes. After the light flashes, you can press a button on the remote and see if it’s working.

6. Use the Manual Release Cord

This is another DIY fix that calls for the manual release cord. Typically, it’s located on the garage door opener. It should release the garage door opener from the garage door so that you can lower the door by yourself manually.

The garage door should have a handle on its bottom section. Once released from the garage door opener, the handle will help you lower the door.

7. Adjust the Limit Screws

If the garage door won’t close all the way, but it will stop without retracting, you might need to adjust the limit screws. The screws have contacts that tell the garage door opener how far to open or close. Adjusting the screws is easy.

Using a ladder, open the rear flap or remove the light cover on the garage door opener. You will see two plastic adjustment screws labeled “down” and “up.” Use a flat screwdriver to twist the “down” screw in a quarter-turn increment.

You should be checking how the garage door works between the adjustments. Adjust it until your garage door closes, and it slightly compresses the rubber seal.

8. Check Your Garage Door Manual

If the garage door won’t close and there is a blinking light, the garage door opener is attempting to tell you what’s wrong. You can count the number of times the light blinks and refer to the troubleshooting guide in your garage door manual.

If you don’t have your garage door manual, you can most likely find the trouble code on the internet. Just search for your garage door opener by its model and manufacturer number, and check the trouble code information.

How Can I Open and Close My Garage Door Manually?

Professional automatic garage door opener repair service technician man working

It’s possible to force your garage door closed before getting it repaired manually. However, you should only do this if the troubleshooting steps discussed above do not work.

Here is how you can manually open and close your garage door:

  • Open your garage door using the garage door opener.
  • Close your garage door while holding onto the garage door handle. Your garage door should reverse direction once you apply force to the door handle with your hand.
  • Put a stepladder under the back of your garage door opener’s motor, climb the ladder, pull the plastic shroud off the back of the garage door opener, and set it aside.
  • Locate the force-adjustment screw. You should turn the screw clockwise one-quarter turn. This helps increase the force needed to reverse the garage door’s direction. Alternatively, you can turn the screw counterclockwise one-quarter turn to decrease the amount of force required to reverse the garage door direction.

    You can then open and close the door. Continue adjusting the door’s closing force until it reverses without needing excessive force.
  • Close your garage door. Inspect the rubber seal on the garage door’s bottom edge. The seal should be slightly compressed, and light should be visible between the garage floor and the bottom of the seal.
  • For the closed position, turn the travel adjustment screw clockwise one-quarter turn to increase the downward travel of the garage door. Alternatively, you should turn the screw counterclockwise one-quarter to decrease the amount of downward door travel.
  • Replace the plastic shroud if your garage door works correctly.

What Should I Do if My Garage Door Still Won’t Close?

If you’ve tried doing all of the above techniques, but your garage door still won’t close, you should call a professional garage door technician to resolve the issue for you. There are some things that might be causing the garage door to stop closing that can’t be fixed as easily.

Additionally, some of these problems can pose a danger to you or anyone else near your garage door. A professional garage door technician will be able to help with any pressing garage door problems.