Tips for examining your garage door

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

Group of children (5-10) standing in front of garage door, portrait

Perhaps I’m getting older, or perhaps it’s the pregnancy, but I can’t help but watch children playing and thinking nostalgically back on my own childhood. Kids now have many more toys and technologies than we did growing up. Their video games travel with them and function as an extension of the real, physical world. They will know how to code and program and many can probably teach adults more about our phones and laptops than we knew existed.

However, I’m also thinking of the many experiences we had that many kids now may never know. Running through the neighborhood, finding whichever kids were outside to play with, getting dirty in the woods, riding bikes, and coming back home for dinner. While some kids may be lucky enough to still enjoy these experiences, one thing many won’t have is the feeling of hitting the garage door button and running out before it closes. Now, garage doors have safety sensors that stop them from shutting all the way if there is an obstruction.

Girl (8-9) standing with skateboard in front of garage door, portrait

While features like these make garage doors safer, they can also add some undesirable side effects, like the garage door s failing to close when you cannot see anything obstructing them. If you are experiencing problems with your garage door, consider some of these troubleshooting tips:

Star t by looking and listening to determine the problem. How does your garage door go up and down? Does it go one way and not the other? What does it sound like?

If you have to hold down the button for your door to close all the way, or if it simply will not close, it may be due to the safety sensors. Clean off the lenses and see if this does the trick. If not, check to see that the sensors are lined up properly. Lights on both sensors should be on and not blinking. Realign if necessary. You may also want to try tightening the sensor adjustment screws, which can sometimes loosen over time.

If the door goes partly down and then back up again, something may be getting in the way. Sometimes, items in the way are obvious, but other times, you have to take a closer look to figure it out. Look for debris on the tracks, and clean them.

If the door makes a grinding noise but does not move, the gears may be worn or the tracks may be very far out of alignment. If this is the case, or if you feel uncomfortable tackling any of these problems on your own, consult a professional to make the repair.

Have a question or comment for Joanne? Email her at thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.