Common Garage Door Opener Problems

When you’re having problems with your garage door opener, you’ve lost the key benefit of the entire system. Not only will you find it inconvenient and unsafe to resort to opening the door manually, you’ll lose the security of a firmly locked door that prevents intrusion.
With some simple garage door opener troubleshooting, you’ll have the information you need to either fix the problem yourself or make informed decisions when talking with a garage door professional. You’ll save time, and save money, when you can accurately describe the trouble.
For example, if you can tell the technician the problem is with the remote or the keypad, or let them know there is a need for physical repair, you have been a great help to the garage door specialist. In this post we want to share some simple and easy tips to help you troubleshoot faulty opener.

Remote Doesn’t Work

If you can operate the door with the wall switch but not with the remote, you have a problem with the remote control. The remote must be within a correct distance from the opener unit. Start by replacing the batteries and checking to make sure you’ve programmed it properly. You should also know how far from the opener unit you can be when using the remote. There is a maximum distance.

If your remote still doesn’t work after these steps, you may need to replace it with a new remote. Make sure you purchase one that is compatible with your opener system!

Remote Seems to Work, Door Doesn’t Move

Electric power is the first thing you should check with this problem. If the lights are not working, your garage door opener problems are most likely electrical. Check to see that the motor unit is correctly connected and see if the circuit breaker or fuse serving the garage door opener is ON (not “tripped”).

If you see that the problem is not with the power source, look at the emergency release chain. You can pull this chain to disengage the door so it will operate manually. If the door opens and closes smoothly in manual operation, you may need to contact your professionals to address the opener issue.

Door Doesn’t Move with Remote or Wall Switch

This garage door troubleshooting tip is similar to the first two, though there can be some minor differences to look for. Check to make sure there is nothing blocking the door, keeping it from moving up or down. You might also be able to check the closing force, which is an adjustment you may be able to make after checking your owner’s manual.

Door Doesn’t Close Fully

You may need to adjust the close-limit switch. You can experiment with this by moving the switch away from the motor unit. This switch tells the motor unit when to stop running. It’s a safety item that’s required for all opener systems. Look for a screw feature on the motor unit that is turned to adjust door closing.

This may solve the problem, but you can also eliminate other “closing” problems by manually raising and lowering the garage door to make sure there isn’t some physical preventing it from closing completely.

Door Reverses When It Contacts Floor

As with several of these problems when the garage door opener stopped working, the door reversing when it contacts the floor may be related to one of the other issues already discussed. This is almost always a problem with the close-limit switch. You can adjust this switch with the adjustment screw on the door-opener motor. Make small changes until the door stops when it touches the floor.

Door Reverses Before Touching Floor

When someone reports their garage door opener not working and the specific problem is that the door reverses before touching the floor, usually there can be two causes:

  • There is an adjustment to control closing force, which was mentioned in an earlier troubleshooting step. This changes the pressure of the door descending before the motor automatically shuts off. In many cases, there is too much friction between the door rollers and the guide track.
  • If the rollers are damaged or rusted, this can increase friction, causing the door-opener unit to stop before it should. Visual inspection and lubrication can help!

Door Stops or Doesn’t Engage

At one time (before 1993) garage doors didn’t have sensor beams as a safety item. Since that time, garage-door openers have been equipped with these beams to improve safety.

When you find your garage door opener not working and the door is stopping or isn’t engaging at all, look to see that both beam lights near the bottom are on.

One should be red, the other green. Make sure nothing is interfering with this signal. If the sensors are not correctly aligned, the surface of the beams is obscured by dirt or moisture, or there is an object between them, they won’t allow the door unit to work correctly.

Motor Keeps Running

The simplest change you can make when this is the problem is to adjust the close-limit switch by moving it away from the motor unit. This is a somewhat unusual problem, but you can make an adjustment (also called the “up-limit switch”). This is sometimes a “problem” immediately after the garage-door opener is installed.

Door Doesn’t Open Completely

When this is the issue, look first for one of these two problems:

  • The up-limit switch, mentioned earlier, may need to be moved closer to the motor unit. This is generally a level near the end of the track near the unit. When it’s too far away, the motor shuts off before the door is completely open. While this is rare, it sometimes occurs with a new installation.
  • Damaged or rusted rollers can also keep the door from opening fully. This is similar to the problem of the door reversing before touching the floor. Lubricate rusty rollers or replace damaged rollers.

Door Doesn’t Open in Winter/Cold Weather

While it may seem odd to the property owner, a garage door might open and close perfectly until winter or very cold weather arrives. For example, if your garage door opener won’t close the door and it’s cold, you may need to adjust the sensitivity of the opener operation. Rollers can get stiff and need lubrication during this part of the year. Your owner’s manual can help with this problem as well.


It’s true that many of the problems described in garage door opener troubleshooting are relatively minor or simple to fix. Most homeowners and owners of small businesses can follow these basic steps and correct some of their garage door opener problems. However, there may be times when, in normal operation or as your door system gets older, you will need professional help from a trained technician.

It’s always a good idea to keep contact information close at hand so you can make this important phone call. When your own troubleshooting steps don’t solve the problem, or when there’s physical damage or wear that keeps you from enjoying the convenience of a garage door opener system, you will have peace of mind knowing you can get help from experts who do this work every day.

With your input after careful troubleshooting, a garage door specialist will be able to get your door system back in operation efficiently and at a reasonable price. For fast and worry-free service of your garage door and its components feel free to contact our representatives at STI Garage Door!

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