The garage door is the only way in and out of the garage for your car. If for some reason, it won’t open all the way, it can be frustrating because it means not being able to get your vehicle in or out.
The problem can be even more daunting if you try to get your car out to work. But knowing the possible reasons why the garage door won’t open all the way can allow you to find a quick solution.
Here is an in-depth look at what might cause your garage door not to open all the way. The article also discusses the possible solutions to consider when these problems occur.
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Garage Door won’t open all the way
Your garage door may not open all the way due to damaged or balky rollers, misadjusted limit settings, damaged cables, broken door springs, misaligned tracks, or an unseen obstacle, especially on the tracks.
The problem can also occur if the motor unit of the garage door opener has a faulty logic board.
While you can fix some of these problems quickly by yourself, others, like broken torsion springs and damaged cables, will require the help of a professional. Attempting to fix the springs or cables on your garage door can be extremely dangerous and is not recommended.
Below are some of the causes of your garage not opening all the way and potential solutions.
Damaged or balky rollers
As the name suggests, the rollers in a garage door system are the wheels that enable the movement of your garage door up and down the tracks. This makes them one of the essential parts of the system.
However, these little wheels must move smoothly for the garage door to glide smoothly up and down.
Unfortunately, repeated usage can take a toll on the rollers, damaging them over time. The wheels can also run out of lubrication, causing them to get stuck.
If you open the garage door and it stops before reaching the fully open position, the problem might be related to damaged or balky rollers.
What to do
If the garage door is binding due to a lubrication problem or rusty bearings in your rollers, applying a suitable lubricant to the wheels covering their ball bearings should help fix the problem.
After lubricating the rollers, try operating the door to see if it moves up and down smoothly. If the problem persists, visually inspect the rollers for noticeable damage.
Damaged rollers will be noisy while the garage door moves up and down the track. Listen closely for grinding or popping sounds in the wheels while the door moves.
Such noises and visible vibrations while operating the garage door should tell you about damaged rollers. If this is the case, replace the rollers to fix the problem.
Replacing the rollers on your garage door is a complex procedure that you should leave to a technician. The exercise can be dangerous and requires a specific set of skills and equipment, so consider calling a professional garage door technician to do it for you.
Misadjusted limit switch settings
The limit settings on your garage door determine how far up and down the door opener must go to open or close the door fully.
It is a garage door programming mechanism that defines how much movement the opener requires to open or close a garage door fully.
The setting ensures that the opener motor stops moving once the door has traveled a full distance.
If the up or down limit is incorrectly set, the motor will do one of two things:
- Continue running even after the door has reached its fully open or closed position or;
- Stop before the door reaches its fully open or closed position.
If the garage door doesn’t open fully, the ‘up’ travel limit might be out of adjustment.
What to do
Hop on a stepladder to reach the motor unit on your opener. Then use your owner’s manual to locate the travel limit adjustment knob.
The controls’ positioning may differ from one garage door model to the other, so ensure you check your operator’s manual.
These controls may have the corresponding “up” and “down” labels to guide you
, depending on your model.
Since the door is not opening fully, you will need to move the up-limit switch toward the opener’s motor unit.
On most models, adjusting the up limit up one complete turn (a full turn of the screw) should correspond to about a two-inch movement of the garage door.
Still, the best thing to do is make slight adjustments and test the door to see if the problem is solved. You don’t want to overdo the adjustment, as that might damage the mechanism inside the unit. The idea is to stop adjusting the limit switch as soon as it works.
Incorrect force adjustment setting
Force adjustment controls regulate the amount of power required to open and close the garage door. The setting determines how much force must be applied to fully open the garage door.
Occasional weather changes may cause minor adjustments in the garage door operation. This means the door may require occasional adjustments to continue operating properly.
So, if the door does not open fully, weather conditions might have interfered with its force adjustment, throwing it out of adjustment.
When you encounter such a problem, adjusting the simple limit should help restore balance to the affected garage door.
What to do
Start by disengaging the automatic garage door mechanism to check the balance. Pull the emergency release cord above the garage entrance to release the opener and allow you to operate the garage door manually.
Once done, try lifting the garage door to the halfway position and leave it there. If the balance is okay, the door should remain where you leave it after lifting it with your hands.
If the door is sticking or binding while opening or closing, the problem is elsewhere. You may need a technician to service it before making any force adjustments.
However, if the door is balanced, locate the force adjustment controls on your unit. They may be different depending on your garage door opener model, so ensure you consult your operator’s manual for the specifics.
In most cases, the controls will be located on the right or back panel of the motor unit. In some models, you will have to open the lens cover to access the controls.
Since the door is not opening fully, you will need to locate the control with an ‘Up’ arrow with numbers. Unless your operator’s manual says differently, this will be the control for open force. The likely required adjustment here will be to increase the open force.
Use a screwdriver to increase the open force by turning the control slowly to an upper number, such as from 2 to 3.
Next, test the door to see if it is appropriately balanced. Again, your owner’s manual should indicate how to adjust the controls and check if the door is balanced.
Misaligned garage door track
The garage door travels within the metal tracks on both sides. The tracks are generally straight and must remain that way to properly guide the door up and down as it opens and closes.
However, if the tracks are crooked or cease to be straight, they will impede the garage door movement. Such a problem can slow the door movement or prevent the door from reaching its fully open position on its way up.
Misalignment can result from one garage door or both doors becoming bent at one or more points along the height of the track.
Garage door track misalignment is rare but can occur due to excessive pressure of normal wear and tear.
How to resolve the problem
Replacing your garage door tracks yourself is not recommended, but you can make minor repairs to fix the misalignment.
Start by listening for speaking sounds as the door moves up or down. If one or both tracks are crooked, the rollers will likely produce speaking sounds or grinding noises when they reach the affected area.
You may also notice the door jerking or slowing down at the affected point, indicating restricted movement. After observing these symptoms, put the door in its fully closed position.
- Once the door is closed, pull the emergency release cord at the top of the entrance (the red rope) to release the automatic garage door opening mechanism.
- Next, loosen the screws connecting the tracks to the door frame.
- Gently tap the misaligned track back into position using a rubber hammer until the crookedness appears corrected.
- Tighten back the screws and try moving the door up.
The door should move smoothly without any kinks if the problem is gone. However, if the tracks are severely bent or damaged, call a garage door service technician to replace them to restore normal operation.
Further, ensure you carry out routine checks of your garage door system at least once yearly. Inspect the entire setup for loose nuts and bolts as well as worn parts.
Such precautions can help you catch a problem before it becomes serious.
Broken door springs
The torsion springs on the garage door are responsible for the heavy lifting, literally.
The springs store incredible amounts of mechanical energy responsible for lifting and lowering the garage door.
Over time, the springs wear out and can break, making them unable to function properly.
What to do
If the door opens only partially, check the torsion springs above the garage door for noticeable breakage or dangling spring. The mechanism requires two springs to operate the door. If one spring breaks, the remaining one will not wield enough lifting power to operate the door.
The solution to a broken torsion spring is to replace both springs. When installed together, the garage door springs will operate for a specific number of cycles before reaching the end of their lifespan.
When one torsion spring is damaged, it often means the other one is nearing the end of its service life too. So it is best to replace both springs with new ones to restore proper working.
More importantly, do not attempt to replace the springs yourself. The exercise is incredibly dangerous and can cause injuries or even death.
So, hire a professional who has the necessary knowledge, skills, and special tools for the job.
An unseen obstacle
While garage door tracks should not be lubricated, you need to wipe them down periodically with soap and water. Otherwise, dirt and debris can get trapped in the tracks, affecting the movement of the rollers up and down.
If such debris is jammed in the tracks, it can impede the garage door movement, keeping it from opening fully.
What to do
Check the door tracks for any solid object that might escape the eyes but is likely to obstruct the door.
Remove any dirt or debris in the tracks and give them a wipe-down to dislodge any objects jammed in the rollers’ path.
A faulty logic board
The logic board is the brain equivalent of your garage door opener. If it malfunctions, the opener will not function properly.
If your opener has no other problem, a malfunctioning logic board might be the culprit. This problem is likely if you have a relatively old opener.
If your garage door opener has a faulty logic board, have a service technician replace it for you. Replacing this component requires a set of technical skills that y might not possess, so it is better to leave the work to a professional.
The video below shows how to fix a Garage door that won’t open all the way
My Garage Door Won’t Open All the Way in Cold Weather.
Nothing is as frustrating as trying to open your garage door and failing to open it all the way or just a foot and stopping. This can be daunting, especially when you have an errand to run in the garage, but you cannot get in due to the malfunctioning of the door.
It would be even more disturbing if you realized the malfunctioning is due to the cold weather. It will come as a shock if you don’t know how cold weather affects metals, which form the better parts of your garage doors.
To shed light on the same, cold weather significantly impacts your garage door’s performance and can inhibit it from opening all the way.
When it is cold, especially in the winter and your garage door fails to open fully, try checking on the following potential problems and fixes.
Contraction and Shrinking of Metal Pieces
The contraction of your garage door’s metallic parts can inhibit its full opening. During cold weather conditions, the space between molecules reduces, causing the metal’s shrink.
When the contraction of the metal parts is the reason for your garage door not closing all the way, lubricate it. The lubrication of the metal parts, including the hinges and springs, will allow easy door movement.
Often, lubricants add a layer between the track and the roller, which will foster smooth movement, allowing your garage door to move all the way.
Cold weather can cause hardening of the grease in your garage door, or the grease may become compact, influencing the smooth running of the garage door.
If your garage door does not close all the way, one of the primary culprits you would want to consider is grease. Check the grease on the joints and tracks. Use a grease solvent to remove the old grease and add new lubricant.
High amounts of grease in the garage door during the cold weather facilitates its closing and opening. Checking the grease levels and ensuring it is not compact or hardened is one of the primary maintenance practices you must practice to facilitate the smooth operation of your garage door.
Garage door springs play an instrumental part in opening and closing your garage door. The torsion springs tighten when the door is shut and unwind when it opens. Winding and unwinding control the garage door’s opening and closing mechanisms.
Besides, the springs help with the heavy lifting of the garage door. When the spring releases its tension when the door is opened, the stored energy helps lift the door’s weight.
Owing to the importance of the springs in the garage door, any breakdown or broken springs will not only cause malfunction of the garage door but also severe accidents for the users. In most instances, the doors will not open when there are broken springs.
Lower temperatures during the cold season can cause the breakage of the garage springs. Cold temperatures always cause the contraction of the metals. If your garage springs are overexposed to the cold weather, especially the longer winters, they may start contracting. The more prolonged exposure to the cold temperature may cause broken springs.
If you have determined that your springs are broken, the best solution is to seek professional help. Springs hold a more significant weight that can cause massive harm if you handle it alone, especially if you are a newbie.
How do I know if my garage door spring is weak/Broken?
Your garage springs support the garage door’s weight and are always under constant pressure when the door opens or closes. As a result, regardless of their strength or tension, they will not last forever and will be due for replacement. But how do you know your garage door springs are weak or broken and require replacement?
Check on the following;
Door Slams Down Faster
The weight of your garage door is balanced by the torsion springs, which control its closing. When the springs are weak or broken, the garage door operation will be altered as there will be no appropriate resistance, and therefore the speed of the garage door closing cannot be controlled. This risk can be more significant if your household has pets and small kids.
Thus, if your garage door slams down quickly when closing, it is due to weak or broken springs, and you should contact a professional for repairs or replacement.
Changes in Spring Appearance
Check for torsion or extension springs’ rust, split, or snap signs. The changes can also be noticed in how much the spring has stretched. The springs are crucial in your garage, and you must regularly inspect these signs.
As you use the springs, they expand and contract, especially with the environmental changes. Their elasticity will sometimes weaken, and the spring may not return to its original shape or position.
Also, inspecting your springs for the signs and seeing a gap shows that the spring has been snapped. You can also see rust build up on the springs, which presents a danger, and you need to act ASAP to rescue the impending danger. If you determine any of these signs, you must stop using the door and seek professional help.
Garage Door Won’t Open All the Way
Perhaps, the most common sign of broken or weak garage door springs is when the door won’t open all the way. Try opening your door manually to a small height and see whether it will remain open or slams down.
Ensure no kid or pet is on its path when attempting to open the door. Also, ensure you have not raised the door to a greater height which can be detrimental to other garage door systems when it slams down. If the springs are damaged, the door will not stay open.
The springs provide a resistance that controls the speed of the door closing. As a result, if you realize you cannot control the door closing or if you find a challenge opening it all the way, the springs may be broken and need replacements.
Do not attempt changing the springs by yourself. Always seek professional help when it comes to garage door spring problems.
Garage Door Won’t Open All The Way- Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How do I adjust my garage door to open all the way?
Use a stepladder to reach your garage door opener’s motor unit. Locate the up limit switch adjustment screw on the side of the unit and use a flathead screwdriver to turn it clockwise, one complete turn at a time, until the garage door opens.
Q2. Can I lift the garage door if the spring is broken?
Opening a garage door with broken springs is a significant risk as the overlying weight can pound on you. Lifting a garage door without springs requires a manual effort that a single individual cannot realize. Thus, even though it is possible for the door to be lifted with no springs, it presents a greater risk to the user and can cause burn to the motor as the garage door becomes heavy.
As a result, it is not practical or advisable to open a garage door with broken springs.
Q3. What happens when a garage door spring fails?
The failure of a garage door is not good news for you or other people around your home, including the crawling children or your pet.
A garage door will crash down if its springs fail as the spring systems support its weight which can go up to hundreds of pounds.
If this support is withdrawn due to the failure of the spring, the door can crash on you or any other person or object on the door’s path and cause serious injuries or even death. Therefore, it is instrumental that an inspection of the springs is done every time to ensure it is in good shape.
A garage door that won’t open all the way can be a serious inconvenience, especially when it keeps you from getting your car out of the garage.
Luckily, most of the problems likely to cause this inconvenience are easy to solve, with only a few severe ones requiring the help of a professional garage door technician.
The next time your garage door fails to open all the way, we hope the tips and solutions suggested in this article help you get your door working again.
Let us know in the comments if we left out anything.