DIY Solutions to Common Garage Door Problems (Guide with checklist)

What are the solutions to common garage door problems? Most of them involve lithium grease and a proper maintenance plan. There are several hinges, pulleys, running rails and rails along with springs the chain, motor and openers that need proper maintenance to operate correctly. Don’t use WD-40, use a quality lithium grease but you can’t just grease every part. There are some parts that you should not grease. We show you each step along with the other maintenance steps you should follow.

Most people take their garage door for granted.

When it needs to open, it opens. When it needs to be closed, it closes.

As soon as it stops working, people start to wonder what could possibly be causing the issue.

The good news is, a lot of garage door issues can be fixed with just a little bit of knowledge.

It might seem like a big issue, but it could just be something simple that takes a few minutes to fix.

What are the common garage door problems? Below is a closer look at six issues a lot of people run into.

What if there is a garage door limit switch problem?

Pressing the remote control or wall switch should instantly open and close the garage door.

At times, it can be completely unresponsive.

If both of them are not working, it may be due to a number of reasons.

First, check to make sure that the motor unit is plugged in.

Sometimes, a cord can be accidentally unplugged, and it could just be a really easy fix.

There’s also the chance that a circuit breaker or fuse is no longer working properly.

The best way to see if that is the issue is to also look at other items that rely on electricity in the garage such as lights.

Reset the breaker or get a replacement for the burned-out fuse.

Resetting the breaker is not that difficult, but it does take time to go to the store and get a new fuse to use.

The good news is they are pretty inexpensive, and buying a few extras might come in handy if a similar issue happens in the future.


What if the garage door motor is not working?

In the above scenario, there is of course a chance that the motor has completely malfunctioned.

This is when it is required to find a repairman to service the garage door.

This is the most costly issue that could pop up, but the door is never going to properly function unless it is fixed.

If the motor is working but does not shut off, this can also be an issue that needs fixed.

This usually has to do with the system, specifically the upper limit switch.

The switch needs to be placed properly so that the motor knows when to stop running.

Adjustments can either be made by the homeowner, or by getting a repairman to look into it.


The garage door is not closing all the way

In order for a garage door to work properly, it needs to open and close all the way.

Even just a little bit of space can allow water to flood the garage, or animals to sneak in.

The first thing that should be checked out are the safety sensors that go with the garage door.

If there is a block between them, they might not be responding properly.

There needs to be a clear path for them to work.

Rollers can also be causing the issue.

If the rollers have been in use for a while, they might be showing some age.

Clean them up, or even replace them if they need some help.

The quickest way to restore them to mostly new is to apply some lubricant for garage doors.

If those two things are not the issue, examine the close-limit switch.

The switch tells the garage door when to stop moving.

If the setting is just a little bit off, it is obviously not going to work properly. Reset the system to get it back into working order.


The door is noisy when it opens

A noisy door might work properly, but it can be annoying to hear every single day.

It usually means that something is mildly wrong with the garage door, and it might turn into a bigger issue if it is ignored.

Keep up with maintenance as much as possible to reduce the chance of a noisy garage door.

Clean up parts, or replace them all together.

Anything that is related to the movement of the door can be the culprit.

That also means examining the hinges of the door to see if there is any wear showing.

How to properly lubricate your garage door.

1. Don’t use WD-40.

It is a degreaser, not a lubricant. They take out the grease – which is what keeps the noise away.

2. Use a good Lithium Greaser

You can use a silicone grease if you don’t have lithium but lithium is the best grease for your garage door hinges, bearings and pulleys.

3. Setup

Ladder – get one so you can reach the pulleys and the rail.

Shop light – make sure you can see what you are spraying. Don’t over spray.

4. Lube up

Start with spraying the rollers.

Metal rollers – If you have metal rollers you can see the ball bearings in the rollers and need to spray them. Exposed ball bearings have to be greased.

You will be greasing with the rollers in place. Use the ladder as you work your way up the garage door and keep the light bright so you clearly see what you are doing.

If you have plastic rollers – spraying them with lithium grease won’t help since they are sealed.

Pulleys – the pulleys will have ball bearings that need grease as well. Grease both the left and right side. The pulley is in place so open and close the door a few times to spread out the grease.

If you have sealed bearing pulleys or rollers than you won’t need to grease them since they have zero maintenance.

5. Don’t Lube the chain!

Your garage door opener chain comes from the factory with a protective coat already on it so you don’t need grease. You can, however, spray WD-40 on the chain and wipe it off with a cloth. This will help it repel moisture and prevent it from rusting.

6. Do Lube the top of the rail that your trolley rides on. Use lithium for the rail.

7. Don’t Lube your track (running rails)

This will just accumulate dust and debris and make it harder for your garage door to open over time.

8. Do clean your track (running rails)

Use a wet cloth to wipe down and remove any debris, dust in track.

9. Extension springs

These do not need to be greased. The are preconditioned from the factory.

10. Torsion  springs do require grease if they are not coated.

They may just need to be lubricated. This should take care of the noise in many cases. If it does not than it could be several other issues including:

  • Uneven garage door. If you door lifts unevenly than you have a problem which could be contributing to the noise you are hearing.
  • Worn out spring. Your garage door spring is usually good for 10,000 or 20,000 opens (which is several years worth of opening and closing it)…but it does wear out.
  • If you have a worn out spring you should contact your local garage door repair service.
  • Changing them is very dangerous if you are not an expert and you could seriously hurt yourself if you don’t know what you are doing. This means you.


What if the door is reversing before it is fully closed?

Really annoying common garage door problem!!!

If the door is reversing before fully closing, it usually has to do with thinking that there is some type of obstacle in the way.

It is a safety feature, and sometimes it can be a little bit too cautious.

First, make sure that there isn’t anything in the way that could be causing the door to reverse.

If everything is clear, it usually means the setting is off.

The door might think that it has already reached the floor, but obviously it hasn’t.

Make sure that the close-limit switch is properly set, and work from there.

What if the keypad opener doesn’t work?

If the keypad does not work, the first thing to do is make sure that you are actually close enough for it to work.

Sometimes, people get a little bit out of range and they don’t even realize it.

The antenna on the motor unit might also be struggling to pick up the signal. Sometimes it can move around without a person even realizing it.

Check the antenna to make sure that it is in the proper location to pick up the signal.

A complete reprogramming might be needed if the keypad is still not working.

This sometimes fixes the issue, but there is also the chance that the electronics in the keypad are just not working and need serviced by a professional.

Final Tips & Solutions to Common Garage Door Problems

Simple issues should always be examined first, but things do go wrong from time to time when dealing with a garage door.

Since they can open and close several times a day, there is a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong.

Remember that proper maintenance can go a long way.

It’s easy to just forget about a garage door after installation, but it needs some tender loving care at times as well.

D. Hahn

DIY guru, dad, husband, blogger. When I'm not creating life hacks I'm teaching my kids how to fix stuff after their dad breaks it.

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