My Garage Door Stops When Closing

Photo of garage doors by Les Palenik/istockphoto.com.

Electric garage doors are just like so many of these modern appliances we acquire and then depend on: they’re designed to make our lives faster-smoother-oh-so-convenient, but in the end it seems that often, they’re the very things getting in the way of our flow. In the case of the electric garage door, they offer that delightful benefit of automated entrance – no getting out of the car, no bending and lifting, streamlined efficiency. In theory . . .

But what about when your clicker malfunctions? Or the chain gives out? Or, most frustratingly (because who knows what’s causing it), what about when your garage door stops when closing? Because that, my friends, is definitely not any sort of “streamlined efficiency.”

So what do you do when your garage door stops before it completely closes? Well, first things first; you’ll need to do a bit of investigating.

The most likely culprit

The most likely culprit is an obstruction. Garage doors have sensors that keep them from closing on top of an object, so you’ll need to check to make sure there isn’t something blocking the way. Even a very small item can set off a sensor, so give the area a thorough comb-over and make sure there’s absolutely nothing out of place.

Check the track and tension spring

You’ll also need to check the track for obstructions. The garage door runs along a track, and if something – even something teeny tiny – falls onto that track, the garage door can get caught up on it.  Check the track for any obvious objects. Check the tension spring to make sure it hasn’t broken or stretched. Then disconnect the opener from the actual door by pulling on the release rope. This will allow you to roll it up and down manually, and you may be able to sense if there’s any resistance along the way. This can help you locate a snag along the track, if there is one. 

Check the sensors

If you can’t find any obstructions, the next step is to check the sensors. The door system will have photo-eye sensors that can easily get knocked out of alignment. If this happens, it will interfere with the mechanism's ability to function properly. There should be lights on both sensors, and they should be lit. If one or both are out, then you probably just need to realign the sensors to fix the issue.

Check the opener itself

If the sensor lights are on, you’ll want to check the garage door opener itself. Use the instruction manual to reset the up-force and down-force. This will vary by brand -- each unit is different -- but all electric garage doors will offer some flexibility here. It may just be a matter of simple adjustments to the opener to recalibrate the correct tension.

If you’ve done all of that and it still won’t function properly, it’s probably time to call in a professional to service it. Sometimes there’s an issue inside the mechanism, and you’ll need an expert to diagnose and repair it. Good luck!

Updated April 15, 2018.

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