10 Common Garage Door Problems & How To Repair Them

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Your garage door often remains unloved and unthought about. It’s there, it protects your home, belongings, and rides from the elements and would-be burglars, it’s likely that its maintenance is one of the furthest things from your mind. Until it’s broken.

Garage door issues vary from bad remotes, power interruptions, broken seals and chains, and all sorts of other maladies. Considering virtually nobody has experience working on garage doors, it can quickly become daunting when you’re trying to figure out just exactly what’s wrong. Luckily, you have The Drive’s crack info editors for assistance. 

We’ve broken down what exactly can go wrong with your garage door into the 10 most common garage door problems, and we even tell you how to fix them! Aren’t we nice? So, come along and let’s get that garage door going up and going down without interruption. Ready?

A garage door. 

Garage Door Repair Basics

Estimated Time Needed: 1 hour-1 day

Skill Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Vehicle System: Not your car for this one, old buddy, this is for your garage

Garage Door Repair Safety

Working on your garage door can be dangerous and messy, so here’s exactly what you’ll need to ensure you don’t die, get maimed, or lose a finger and that you keep your jeans, shirt, and skin spotless—hopefully.

  • Mechanic gloves
  • Eye protection

Everything You’ll Need To Repair a Garage Door

We’re not psychic, nor are we snooping through your toolbox or garage, so here’s exactly what you’ll need to get the job done. 

Tool List 

  • Folding step ladder, minimum of six feet
  • Certified winding bars (not some other metal bar “that works”)
  • Two Vise-Grip pliers, aka locking pliers
  • Open-ended wrench set
  • Socket wrench set
  • Cordless drill (optional)
  • File
  • Tape measure
  • Wire gauge tool
  • Rubber mallet

Parts List

  • New battery
  • New garage door springs
  • 3-In-One Professional Garage Door Lubricant
  • New wire
  • Garage door motor
  • New chain

Organizing your tools and gear so everything is easily reachable will save precious minutes waiting for your handy-dandy child or four-legged helper to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch. (You won’t need a blowtorch for this job. Please don’t have your kid hand you a blowtorch—Ed.)

You’ll also need a garage. If you don’t have a garage, we can’t help you nor would we suggest fixing your neighbor’s garage while they’re sleeping. Why, because we aren’t getting you out of the clink.

Garage door tracks. 

10 Common Garage Door Problems and How To Fix Them

Now that you understand what you need and what safety precautions you must take, let’s get down to brass tacks and diagnose your garage door’s problem.

Bad Remote Battery

One of the easiest, and most common, issues with garage doors not working is your remote’s battery is dead. Here’s how to test it.

Unsynced Garage Door Remote

Did you know your garage door remote might unsync itself, and you’ll have to reprogram it? Now you do! You’ll need to consult your garage door opener owner’s manual to find your garage door’s remote programming procedure. 

Broken Garage Door Wall Opener 

Like your garage door opener’s battery, your wall opener can lose power from frayed wires or a broken switch. Here’s how to fix both.

Frayed Wires

Broken Wall Opener

Broken Garage Door Motor

If your garage door motor is kaput, smoking, or grinding its gears whenever you open or close the door, you’re going to need a new one. With these steps, you can easily install the replacement.

Broken Garage Door Chain/Belt

A garage door’s chain or belt, the part that actually moves it up and down, can break over time. Replacing it is the only way to fix the issue. Here’s how to replace a garage door’s chain/belt.

Broken Garage Door Springs

The Drive has a full guide on how to fix and replace your garage door springs. As it’s a labor-intensive and extremely dangerous process, we suggest clicking the link and following along closely or calling a professional. 

Garage door lubricatant. 

Unlubricated Garage Door Hinges

As a garage door ages, it will lose some of its lubrication. Here’s how to fix that.

Garage Door Off Its Track

A slightly trickier issue is when your garage door pops off its track. There are a myriad of reasons how and why this can occur, but rather than spending time describing every situation, it’s happened so let’s get through it. Here’s how to put your garage door back onto its track. 

Garage Door Closes Then Opens Immediately

One easy-to-fix issue is when your garage door closes, then immediately opens back up. There are two reasons this will happen. First, if there’s something obstructing the garage door sensors, and second, if the sensors are misaligned. The first will just require removing the object. As for the second, here’s how to align them.

Garage Door Seals Are Broken/Falling Off

Garage door seals can crack, break, and fall off over time. Although many will survive with broken seals, the seal at the base of the garage door can lead to higher heating and air conditioning bills as warm and cold air impacts the inside door to your home. Here’s how to repair the seal.

You’re done! Congrats.

Get Help With a Garage Door From a Mechanic On JustAnswer

The Drive recognizes that while our How-To guides are detailed and easily followed, a rusty bolt, an engine component not in the correct position, or oil leaking everywhere can derail a project. That’s why we’ve partnered with JustAnswer, which connects you to certified mechanics around the globe, to get you through even the toughest jobs. 

So if you have a question or are stuck, click here and talk to a mechanic near you. 

FAQs About Broken Garage Doors

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers! 

Q. How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Garage Door?

A. A majority of the culprits above won’t set you back hundreds of dollars thankfully, but there are a few that will reach inside your wallet and take what they please. Average garage door repairs range between $5-$300, with larger repairs costing a few thousand. 

Q. Is It Safe To Repair Your Garage Yourself?

A. By taking the necessary safety precautions, repairing your garage door yourself isn’t too dangerous. Errant parts, however, can break without warning, so always be mindful of the task at hand. Resetting garage door springs, in particular, require extreme focus and some strength to safely get the job done. As always, call a professional when in doubt.

Q. Can a Garage Door Kill You?

A. What did you call its mother? Did you murder its sensei? Is it part of a long-standing blood feud that would rival the Hatfields and McCoys? If you answered no to any of these, it’s very unlikely. Some people have been injured and killed by garage doors and its parts, but it’s very, very rare.

Q. How Long Do Garage Doors Last?

A. Garage doors are engineered to last between 15-30 years. But that doesn’t mean you can forget about them between when your first child is born and when they bring home their first bundle of joy and poop. Maintain your garage door like you’d maintain your car.

Q. How Often Do You Need To Lubricate a Garage Door

A. It’s best to lubricate your garage door once a year, especially if you live in a locale with inclement weather or where dirt and debris can be blown into its tracks.

Q. How Much Wind Can a Garage Door Withstand?

A. Different doors vary in strength and wind resistance. You’ll need to consult your garage door’s manufacturer specifications to determine exactly how much wind it can withstand.

Q. Are There Hurricane-Proof Garage Doors?

A. There are! Some can even withstand up to 200mph winds, which we’re told is a lot! There are also impact-resistant garage doors to ensure no debris kicked up by hurricanes or tornadoes damage your home. 

Featured Garage Door Products

Chamberlain Group Smartphone-Controlled Belt Drive Garage Door Opener

3-In-One Professional Garage Door Lubricant, 6 Pack

Matador Garage Door Insulation Kit

Got a question? Got a pro tip? Send us a note: [email protected]

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