Three Simple Reasons Your Garage Door Won't Close Completely

When your garage door isn't closing all the way, it's not only letting in unwanted summer heat, it's also a safety hazard. Manually opening and closing your garage door takes time and effort that could be better employed elsewhere. In other words – a broken garage door is a big hassle! Before you call a repairman, make sure one of these basic reasons isn't to blame.

Reason #1: Something is Obstructing the Garage

This may seem like common sense, but your garage might not be closing simply because something is in its way. If your garage starts to shut but pauses and opens back up, this is a legitimate reason to look into. Look for something subtle that might be in the way. You might surprise yourself by finding objects like the follow that trigger the garage door sensors:

  • Nest: A small animal nest can easily blend into your garage. Make sure no birds, rodents or even cats) have made that little corner of your garage their home.
  • Debris: Leaves and dirt can easily cloud garage door sensors and trigger the door to reopen. Make sure to clean the sensors off after heavy storms.
  • Hanging Obstruction: If you have storage shelves near your garage door, make sure nothing is dangling off the shelf near the door. Garage doors will reverse direction when they come in contact with another object.

Reason #2: Sensors are Misaligned

If you have a new driver in the home or have been moving large items such as furniture, it's likely that your garage door sensors have become misaligned. Sensors work by sending signals across to each other. When the signal is interrupted, the door won't close. You can tell if your garage door sensors are misaligned by looking at the beam emitted from one of them. If there is a steady light, they are level. If, however, the light is blinking or turned off, it is not getting a direct signal from the other sensor. This isn't very difficult to remedy. First, try manually pushing the dislodged sensor back into place. If that is ineffective, cut the power to your garage and realign the sensor with only a few tools:

  • String: Using a string, tie a knot to one sensor and then cross the garage to tie a knot connecting it to the other sensor. This will help you see which sensor is most out of place and how much you need to adjust it.
  • Screwdriver: Loosen the brackets holding the sensor into place. You don't need to remove the sensors, just make it easy to adjust their position.
  • Level: Use a level to ensure that the string is even and the sensors aren't at an angle. When you think the sensors are level, tighten the brackets and turn the power back on. Double check that the sensors are working effectively and make other adjustments as needed.

Reason #3: A Problem with the Garage Door Track

Lastly, your garage door might not be shutting completely because there's something wrong with the track the door runs along. Clear your garage of vehicles and create a space so you can safely access the track that runs along the ceiling. Then look for one of these common problems:

  • Debris: Dirt, spider webs, and all sorts of other things can get inside the garage door tracks. Clean the tracks off with a washcloth. Be careful when you lubricate the track – make sure the lubricant is designed for the garage or the buildup could cause more problems than it fixes.
  • Worn Rollers: The rollers on your tracks could be worn and in need of replacing. If they look okay, double check that screws along the tracks are tight. If they loosen, the contact with rollers will slow the door down and could prevent it from closing completely.
  • Misaligned Tracks: Finally, check the track to be certain it is aligned properly. If the track has come out of alignment, you might need professional help to readjust it.

Garage doors need regular maintenance. If your garage door isn't shutting completely, you may be able to fix it on your own. Often, a minor adjustment will do the trick, so give your garage door a quick inspection before getting professional assistance from a garage door repair company.