Three Important Reasons Your Garage Door Opener Won't Work
When your garage door opener won't work correctly and you've tried some basic troubleshooting steps, you may be up against a more complex problem. There are several causes behind problems like doors not opening or closing all the way or making loud banging noises and moving in reverse. If you are experiencing any of these problems, it might be time to schedule a service call.
Tracks Out of Alignment
If your garage door opens and closes along a set of tracks, it can meet some resistance if the tracks aren't properly aligned. If the misalignment is only minor, you may see the door rattle and move with jerky motions rather than moving smoothly along the tracks. If the misalignment is more severe, however, you may hear banging sounds as the door builds up and releases pressure as it travels along the tracks. Sometimes the resistance can be so great that it might trigger the garage door opener's safety switch, and it will reverse course, thinking it hit something in the way.
If you notice rattling and banging sounds along with irregular movements when your garage door won't open or close properly, it's very possible that your tracks are the culprit. While some alignments can be done yourself, if it's to the point of preventing your garage door from opening or closing properly, have a technician take a look. Beyond just re-aligning the tracks, they should also check to see if any rollers or door panels or hinges are damaged as a result and if they need replacing or repair.
Springs Broken or Weak
The springs that help you open and close your garage doors with ease do the majority of the heavy lifting for you. Garage doors can get very, very heavy, with many weighing up to several hundred pounds, so you and your garage door opener need powerful springs to help make opening and closing them manageable.
Garage door springs operate in terms of cycles, where a cycle is one opening and closing of a door. Most springs should last you at least 10,000 cycles, which should be at least a few years even with heavy use. When these springs start to get old and fail or even break, the full weight of the door will be put upon your garage door opener, which isn't capable of moving that much weight. So even if your garage door opener itself is working perfectly fine, it won't be able to move your doors if the springs aren't functioning correctly.
Because the springs are so powerful, they can be very dangerous to attempt to replace yourself, so call a professional to investigate and replace them for you if necessary.
Limit and Travel Settings Not Properly Set
Every garage door opener has limit settings that tell the opener when to stop the door when it's opening or closing. When set properly, your door will stop moving just as it touches the ground. If it's not set far enough, the door may stop moving when there are still several inches left to close completely; if it's set too far, it will attempt to keep moving even after it hits the ground, which can trigger its safety function and reverse the door. These settings can lose their accuracy over time, or may need readjusting if you've just had new doors installed on the same opener; even if they're the same size, as a difference in weight may still require some adjusting to make sure it works fine.
The good news is limit switch problems don't usually cause any damage to your door. However, if you need to close your garage door for any reason before it's fixed, you'll need to disconnect the door from your opener using the release switch along the chain. This will let you open and close the door manually until a technician can adjust your settings for you.
For more information, contact a local garage door service.