The garage door opening system has many components that must work seamlessly to properly open and close the door. Sometimes, a component can fail, preventing the garage door from opening or closing as it should. Thankfully, you can always fix most of these problems yourself.
One of the hitches that you can fix without the help of a technician is when the garage door goes up but not down. This problem is often related to a sensor malfunction or a gear issue. In any case, knowing where to look and what to do can help you diagnose and fix the problem without incurring any cost.
Read along to learn why your garage door goes up but not down.
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The garage door goes up but not down: common causes and fixes
If your garage door reaches the fully open position but won’t close when you use the remote or manual push button, one of a few reasons could be responsible.
Often, the door will start to go down, only to push back up when you attempt to close it—preventing you from securing the premises.
Obstruction on the garage doorway
The first thing to do in such a case is to check the garage doorway for the presence of any blockage.
Modern garage door openers have sensors as a standard requirement. If you have an opener model from 1990 or later, the chances are that it has a pair of sensors installed on both sides of the door, also termed as a safety beam.
The sensors at the bottom of both garage door tracks create a beam that will stop the door from closing if an object sits in the doorway. Any object in this position will break the beam, alerting the system about its presence there.
As a result, the system will reverse the door in an attempt to avoid causing accidents or damaging property by shutting on them.
Removing the object from the doorway (if any) should restore the normal functioning of the door. In essence, you will remove the obstruction, causing the beam to complete and allow the door to close normally.
If no object, pet, or person is on the doorway yet your garage door won’t close, the infrared sensors at the bottom of either track of the garage door may be misaligned.
The sensors have beams designed to work by pointing in the same direction, like looking straight at one another.
The door opening and closing tend to create a vibration that can loosen both or one of the sensors over time. When this happens, the loosened sensor may fall out of alignment, pointing at a different angle than required.
When you attempt to close the door, the opener will register the problem and reverse the door for security reasons. It will keep the door open until the sensors are back in alignment, pointing at the exact same angle.
When checking the sensor alignment, inspect both of them. Check for any looseness and re-secure the sensor that might have dropped and lost its angle.
Measure the height of each of their photo eyes from the ground and use a level to reset them to point directly to one another at the exact same angle. This will ensure that both sensors transmit and read the invisible beams back and forth.
The next thing is to test the door to see if it closes normally.
If the first solution does not work, you could be looking at dirty sensors. Each sensor has a little lens cover that goes over it. Over time, dirt can build up on the lens, making the sensor unable to read the signal from the other side of the garage door.
It will be akin to an object on the doorway breaking the beam when this happens. This will keep the door from coming all the way down for safety purposes.
Start by visually inspecting the sensor screen for any dirt that might be noticeable there. Use a soft, preferably lint-free cloth to wipe the screens and remove all the debris.
While cleaning the lenses, be careful not to damage or scratch the tiny glass, which might exacerbate the problem. You may consider dampening the cloth with a mild, streak-free cleaner designed specifically for glasses.
Use it to wipe away the accumulated dirt and dust gently and dry it with a dry part of the lint-free cloth. Once done, try closing the door to see if the problem is solved.
If the door still does not close normally, consider the next possibility.
The sensors use an electrical current to work. This is transmitted through electrical cables leading to each sensor.
The sensor can be secure, but the wiring is loose. If that happens, the beam will not work, and the door will not close as it detects the problem.
Every sensor usually has a light on it that remains on throughout. If the light is off, it should be a sign that the sensor is not working, potentially causing the door to remain open.
Usually, the problem can result from repeated tagging and grabbing on the wires when someone cleans the area to remove dirt and debris.
The wires connecting the sensor to the garage door opener can also come loose when nicked somewhere. This problem should be easy to fix: simply replace the damaged cable, reattach the loose connection, and test the door to see if it closes normally.
A bad sensor
The final sensor problem could be total. If none of the above issues is responsible for the door going up but not down, you probably have a bad sensor.
Usually, the light on the sensors will blink when they have a problem preventing them from working properly. However, the light could also go off if there is a damaged cable or sensor. So, if the cable is all right, but you still do not have any light, the sensor could be damaged.
In such a case, you could buy a new sensor or hire a technician to diagnose the problem further before deciding to replace the sensor.
If the sensors are not the source of the problem, it could be related to the gears—time to get your stepladder and check the gear unit.
Usually, the gears in the garage door opener unit can wear out and become warped. They are typically made of plastic, meaning they become worn out and warped over time. When that happens, they may cause excess vibration or some other abnormalities.
When the system senses the issue, it will register it as problematic and keep the door from going down as a safety mechanism.
Check if the chain is sagging, gear is tilted, or the gear unit has debris to tell if gears could be the problem. Additionally, it could have parts coming off. You could also hear popping and grinding noises coming from the motor unit.
The solution here is to change the worn-out gear and restore normal functioning. You can do this yourself, or hire a technician if you prefer the latter.
Other possible solutions
Sometimes the problem can be something unrelated to the sensors or motor unit. The next section looks at the other possible causes of the garage door not closing and how to fix them.
- Worn-out logic board
You can understand the garage door opener’s logic board if you know about the motherboard in personal computers and other computing devices.
The board is the equivalent of a motherboard in garage door openers. Over time, this logic board wears out and becomes unable to perform its function correctly. Such a logic board can cause various problems, including preventing the door from closing normally.
When this issue occurs, your option is to replace the logic board. This is a relatively technical process, so you may want to enlist the services of a technician unless you are adequately savvy yourself.
- The close-limit switch incorrectly set.
Garage door openers have a limit switch that controls where the garage door stops when fully open and another that stops the opener motor when the door reaches its fully closed position.
The two limit switches must be set correctly for the door to travel normally in both directions during opening and closing.
If the garage door opens normally but keeps returning to the open position when attempting to close it, the close-limit switch may be on the wrong setting.
You can fix this problem by adjusting the close limit switch using a flathead screwdriver. You will need to locate the limit switch and use the screwdriver to turn the close-limit switch adjustment screw clockwise until the door closes properly.
We recommend making single clockwise turns of the screw and testing the door until it stops reversing when lowered.
The video below elaborates on how to fix a garage door that wont go down
How do you bypass automatic garage door sensors?
The inconvenience that comes along with a garage door that won’t go down can be quite the headache. It can be somewhat annoying when trying to get out of your home, but your garage door won’t shut.
It is by now clear that the top causes leading to a garage door that won’t shut down are related to sensor problems. If you have verified that the sensor problems are responsible for the garage door shutting issue but still can’t get the problem resolved through the remedies highlighted, you can try the bypassing trick.
The next apparent question would be, how do you bypass automatic garage door sensors? Though bypassing your sensors is not a recommended remedy, it is an excellent tip that restores normalcy and enables our garage doors to close properly.
This trick should be your last resort and does not offer a permanent solution. That said, below is a breakdown of the various steps to follow to bypass your garage door sensors.
Propping underneath the door
This essential step only applies to a garage door that stays open and cannot be closed. You can execute this propping by positioning an unyielding physical prop such as a table or ladder underneath the door. The function of the prop is to bear the garage door’s weight since damage to the frame and door can occur when the door slam shuts.
Some garage doors feature lock mechanisms such as dead-bolt that significantly come in handy in this step. Alternatively, you can have a friend holding the door open as you work. With the prop in place, let the door travel so that it sits gently on top of the prop.
Switch the door to manual mode
The second step involves disengaging the automated features. You do this by first identifying the emergency release cord or the manual release cord. Usually, it appears like a red string suspended from the door trolley.
Pull the string downwards to activate manual door operation. This will disable the automatic system since you will have disconnected the automatic opener carriage from the door trolley.
Operate the door manually.
You can now proceed to close/open your garage door. Remember to remove the props and then lower the garage door gently to the floor. This means that whenever you manipulate your door, you will be doing it manually. If you wish to quit operating the door manually, it is advisable to get someone to raise the door as you pull the release cord towards the direction of the door’s entrance.
If you intend to bypass your garage door sensors permanently, you will first have to ensure that the sensors are in proper working condition. The point here is to hoodwink the sensors into cognizing that they are in normal operation while that will not be the case. Please note that this endeavor is not advisable, might be illegal, and poses security risks to your home.
Press the wall button and hold it down until the garage door touches the ground to bypass your sensors permanently. Note, do not press and release the wall button before the garage door touches the floor, as this will prompt the sensors to take over, and the door will reverse back up. This hack ensures that the door remains shut using the opener. This way, you will not have to worry about leaving your garage door open the entire day.
Genie garage door goes up but not down
Garage door openers from the distinguished Genie brand are well-regarded for their impressive performance. However, this does not mean they are immune to encountering glitches. An example is when your Genie garage door goes up but not down, whereby it opens just fine, but upon attempting to close it, it travels a few inches down and then goes back up.
One rational reason for this would be the integrated safety mechanism that prompts the door to reverse if there is an object on the garage doorway. Often, this is not the case. The cause for your Genie garage door going up but not down is attributed to a problem stemming from the sensors, rollers, or limit switch.
Misaligned or blocked sensors can make your garage door fail to close. This is because interference with the invisible beam helps the sensors communicate. You should check both sensors for misalignment and realign them if necessary. Remove any debris that may obstruct the sensors.
Friction at the level of the rollers is yet another menace that can be held responsible. First, activate manual door operation by disconnecting the operating chain. Slowly move the door down then up while inspecting for friction. Once you encounter a slight drag, stop and narrow down your inspection to both tracks where the bottom rollers just made contact.
Once you realize there is extra friction, use high-quality lubricants such as silicone spray to lubricate the rollers. Another area to investigate is the door panel hinges. You can oil the hinges with WD40. It is also recommendable to tighten the hinges and track at all attachments.
The third potential suspect would be an issue with the limit switch. It is a metal strip located on the channel from the head unit to the front of the garage. This strip might have slipped from its normal position to cause interference as the door travels, signaling the motor to shut off.
Problems within the motor (head) unit can also result in door shutting issues. Thankfully, there is a hack to resolve head unit problems. First, you need to access the interior of the unit. Start by unplugging the head unit from the power outlet to ensure safety. Loosen the screws and pop the unit’s housing off.
Disconnect the connectors from the main control board, inspect them for corrosion and re-attach them if they are fine. Proceed to check the ground cable for corrosion and improper contact. You will have to undo the quarter-inch screw to loosen the ground cable and inspect it. If the cable is in good condition, re-connect it and properly tighten the screw to ensure good contact.
Genie garage door sensor bypass (How to bypass genie garage door sensor)
If your Genie garage door problem persists and you are not in a position to hire expert services, you can always try to bypass the sensors as your last resort. However, note that the sensors play a crucial role in promoting your safety and that of your pets and kids. Therefore, bypassing the garage door sensors is not recommendable.
That said, you probably can attest that tolerating malfunctioning Genie garage door sensors can be quite frustrating. Bypassing the sensors would be a temporary hack to help you manipulate your garage door in the meantime before getting it rightfully fixed. Let’s have a look at how to bypass genie garage door sensors.
If you have exhausted all discussed remedies to get your sensors working, try tricking them into thinking they are functioning normally. With the garage door in the fully open position, press and hold down the wall button continuously till the door touches the ground and then release the button. You will have the garage door in a locked down position by doing so.
How do you test a Genie garage door sensor?
Monthly testing of the safety sensors is advisable to ensure that they are properly working. This process helps you verify the safety feature’s effectiveness to promote the safety of your pets and family from accidents. Also, testing enables you to ensure the general safety and health of your automatic Genie garage door opener system. Here’s how to conduct the test;
- Place an object such as a cardboard box or brick on the floor of the garage doorway.
- Prompt your Genie garage door opener to shut on the object.
- The first and desirable outcome is when the door automatically reverses upon contacting/sensing the object in its path.
- The second outcome is when the door fails to reverse despite coming into contact with the object. This is undesirable, and a cause for concern since it suggests that there is an issue with the safety mechanism.
You will want to diagnose the problem by checking for misaligned sensors or wiring issues like a shorted wire, poor or incorrect wire connection, and wire disconnection. Mainly, you will not be dealing with a serious problem, and you can fix it yourself.
Why are my garage door sensors not working?
Whether your sensors have failed the functionality test or you have noted that they are not lighting up, it should suggest that they might be faulty. In that case, you probably are wondering why are your garage door sensors not working? Discussed further below are some of the reasons that can be held responsible.
Disrupted power supply
The indicator lights on the sensors can help you pinpoint this problem. Failure of the green light to turn on indicates a problem with the power supply. The power supply could be disturbed, broken, or even unplugged. Also, if there is a blown fuse, the normal functioning of the sensors is affected.
Once again, if the indicator lights on the sensors are out, damage to the wires leading to the garage door opener could be suspected. Broken, tangled, bent, or burned cables would make the sensors malfunction, which manifests as an abnormal warning color of the lights (orange).
Garage door sensors are fitted with photo-eyes. Damage to the photo eyes due to accidental bumping of the sensors, misalignment, or sunlight interference can also impede the normal operation of the sensors. This is because there is a disruption in the transmission of the invisible ray.
Sensor lenses coated with debris.
Dirt, dust, or other debris tends to accumulate on the lenses of your garage door sensors over time. This can also result in your sensors failing to work since it alters the shooting of a signal between the two sensors. High humidity levels can also block the lenses, especially in rainy zones.
Garage door goes up But Not Down -FAQs
Can I unplug my garage door sensors?
Yes, you can. When you need to disable the sensors, you can unplug them from the power outlet sourcing them to cut off the power supply. To achieve this, disconnect the plug from the wall outlet or switch off the socket (power outlet) sourcing the garage door. This way, you eliminate risks such as electric shock when manipulating the cables leading to the sensors.
Why does my garage door not close with the remote?
This could be due to minor causes such as dead batteries or batteries that are running low. You can sometimes suspect more serious issues like formatting of the garage door opener’s memory due to a power surge. Another common cause for incorrect remote operation is radio frequency interference.
How do you know if your garage sensor is bad?
The LED lights integrated into the sensors serve as a pertinent indicator for faultiness. If the LED lights remain steadily turned on upon connection of the sensors with electric power, the power supply is in good condition. However, if the lights on both sensors appear to be blinking, interpret it as a signal for misalignment. Also, testing the sensors by placing an object in the garage door’s path and then activating the opener to note the reaction can help you determine if your garage door sensors are bad.
Should both garage door sensors be lit?
Yes, if the sensors are in proper working condition. The indicator light on each sensor should either light up green or red and remain steady rather than start blinking. One sensor will light up green signifying proper power supply, while the other lights up red to indicate that the sensors are communicating.
Why does my garage door stop and go back up?
The problem of a garage door stopping and going back up is typically due to malfunctioning infrared sensors. Often, one of the sensor lights may keep blinking to indicate a blockage, misalignment, dirty lenses, loose sensor cables, or damaged sensors in general.
Why does my garage door go all the way down then back up?
The most common cause of a garage door going all the way down then back up by itself is off-limit settings. Each garage door opener has a limit switch controlling whether the garage door stops when raising or lowering. If the settings are wrong, the door may behave abnormally.
The garage door is essential not just for your car but your home’s overall safety. Failure of the garage door to close can create a major security breach for your home. Fortunately, most of the problems causing the garage door to go up but not down are easy to fix.
We hope this guide helps you solve your garage door issue and keep your home saf