My Garage Door Won’t Stay Closed [ 7 Easy Fixes]

A screw drive garage door

A malfunctioning garage door can be aggravating, especially on a busy day. For instance, repeatedly closing the garage door only for it to go back up can trigger impatience. However, attempting to close the garage door forcibly or aggressively won’t solve the problem either.

If anything, it may take a toll on the garage door’s parts and worsen the problem instead. Thanks to some basic troubleshooting tips, restoring your garage door’s functionality can be a walk in the park. 

Read on to equip yourself with these tips and find an effective workaround before seeking garage door repair services when your garage door won’t stay closed. 

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Garage door won’t stay closed ( Causes and Troubleshooting tips)

If your garage door won’t stay closed, it could be due to misaligned or malfunctioning safety sensors, broken or worn-out springs, problems with the garage door opener, and loose or damaged door tracks.

Failure of the garage door to stay closed is a common problem among homeowners, especially if it has been in use for a considerable period. For this reason, knowledge of how to go about this mishap is essential to help eliminate unforeseen garage door repair costs. 

Fortunately, you can easily resolve the issue and get your garage door back up and running with a few troubleshooting tips.

Here are some causes and tips to get you started when your garage door won’t stay closed

1. Check for an Obstruction 

If there is an obstruction such as cardboard, a crawling child, a pet, or an object on your garage door’s path, the door will reverse its direction when you attempt to close it. The garage door won’t stay or reach its closed position.

The presence of an obstruction underneath the door is one of the most likely reasons behind the garage door not staying closed. Today, garage doors are automated and feature a reverse safety mechanism (safety sensors) that comes into play whenever there’s an obstruction in the doorway. 

Thanks to the reverse feature, even the tiniest obstacle can cause the garage door to retract automatically.

Therefore, consider checking whether there’s an obstruction preventing closure and remove it. If this is the case, the door should act accordingly upon eliminating the obstacle.

2. Dirt/Debris on Sensors’ Eyes 

The garage is one of the busiest spaces in most households and is subject to the accumulation of dust and debris, especially with kids and pets running around. 

The buildup of dust and debris, including pet fur on the sensor’s eyes or lens, will eventually compromise the performance of garage door parts, leaving you with a garage door that won’t close. Sensors covered with fur or debris will not see each other and will malfunction. 

Cleaning the garage at least twice a year will go a long way in preventing unforeseen breakdowns resulting from accumulated dirt or grime. This includes cleaning the tracks and sensors and organizing the garage. 

Consider rinsing off the loose dirt using a garden hose and removing tough debris using some water, dish soap, and a soft sponge. For the sensors, ensure you use a soft sponge since they are delicate and can completely damaged or get cracks when not carefully handled. 

3. Misaligned Sensors

Your garage door won’t stay closed when the safety sensors are out of alignment. Garage door sensors exhibit high sensitivity, and even the slightest form of misalignment or obstruction can make them prevent the garage door from closing. That said, be sure to check whether there’s an obstacle in the way of the sensors. 

If not, consider clearing the lenses by wiping off any dust or cobwebs on them using a damp rag. Otherwise, the sensors may be misaligned. The sensors should be 6 inches from the ground on either side and at an angle to see each other. Use a tape measure to determine the length of each sensor from the ground on either side and establish whether they are correctly aligned. If not, align the sensors to the same height from the ground (6 inches). 

Furthermore,  most garage door opener models feature sensors with an infrared light beam. Be sure to check whether the beam is interrupted, and in some models, you will see the sensor lights flickering in the event of misalignment. 

Realign the sensors by ensuring their distance from the ground is equal and should range between four to six inches.

4. Worn-out or Broken Springs

The garage door springs play an essential role to store mechanical energy, helping in closing and opening the door. The torsion springs unwind when the door opens and tightens when the door is closed.

If the springs are broken or worn-out, the door may not stay closed. However, for the worn-out or broken springs, do not attempt to resolve the problem by yourself. Call a professional or expert to fix the problem. Springs always hold too much weight which can cause massive accidents or injuries to you when they fall. An expert or a technician will help with the replacements or repair of the springs.

5. Sticking or damaged rollers

Garage door rollers are usually at the sides of the garage door inside the tracks. Older garage door models feature already installed rollers that exhibit lesser quality than the latest models. Such rollers are more prone to damage from the buildup of dirt and become rusty over time, especially without proper maintenance.

If the rollers are noisy or squeaky, consider lubricating them for the smooth closure of your garage door. Dirt, grime or rust also causes sticking or sliding rollers that can dislodge the garage door from its tracks.  Use silicone-based lubricant on the tracks and rollers to guarantee smooth operation. The lubrication is vital to reduce friction and prevent the door from reversing due to resistance.

Lubricating the rollers once in three months should prolong their durability, but if this fails, it might be time to replace the rollers. 

6. Re-program the limit switches

Consider the limit switches as the brain of the garage door because they tell it when to open, close, or stop depending on the settings. 

Therefore, resetting the limit switches should do the trick if your garage door closes halfway then stops suddenly or automatically retracts even in the absence of an obstruction. 

7. Problem with the garage door opener

If you have tried all the options above and noted everything is in place but your garage door still won’t stay closed, the issue could be related to the garage opener itself. Determine whether the opener is functioning appropriately and inspect the remote control or keypad for any signs of malfunction. Resetting the opener or replacing the batteries in the remote control could help solve the issue.

If all of the solutions does not work for you, consider contacting the garage door service professionals to assess and solve the issue.

How to adjust garage door travel limits

Effectively adjusting the travel limits is one of the basic concepts that should be at any garage owner’s fingertips. If anything, checking whether the limit switch settings are appropriate should be part of your garage door maintenance practices. 

Whether your garage door fails to open or close as expected, improper travel limit settings are the most probable cause of the problem.

However, ensure you confirm if the garage door travels through an entire cycle before you settle on adjusting the travel limits. This involves operating your garage door opener using a wall console or remote control to see whether it closes and opens entirely. 

Additionally, consider checking if there’s an obstruction in the doorway. If not, you can then proceed to adjust the limit switches through these steps:

Step 1: Locate the opener’s limit switches

Locating the garage door opener should be a breeze, especially if you own one of the latest garage door opener models, which exhibit utmost user-friendliness.

Most models have their limit switches either at the back or side of the garage door opener. You should see both the ‘up’ travel and the ‘down’ travel switch. 

Some models distinguish these switches using an up and down arrow, while others use colours to differentiate them for convenience. The best way to identify and distinguish these switches is to consult the garage opener’s manual, as they vary from one model to another.

Step 2: Adjust the limit switch

You will need a flathead screwdriver for this step. For problems with the closure of the garage door, you will want to focus on the ‘down’ travel switch. For instance;

  • If the garage door won’t stay closed;

Use the screwdriver to rotate the screw on the ‘down’ travel switch clockwise. Some models don’t feature a screw on the limit switches, and in such cases, you can rotate the limit switch using your hand. 

Automatic reversal of the garage door in the absence of an obstacle indicates that it surpasses its limit and therefore reverses when the door closes. Turning the downward travel switch clockwise reduces the close travel to ensure the door doesn’t go beyond the limit.

  • If the door closes halfway;

Adjust the ‘down’ travel switch by turning it in an anticlockwise direction, using either a screwdriver or your hand, depending on your specific model. 

Halfway closure indicates that the door needs more close travel. Therefore, rotating the switch in an anticlockwise fashion increases downward travel so that the door closes entirely.

Additionally, accuracy is vital whenever you’re adjusting the travel switches. A full rotation of the limit switch either upwards or downwards is equivalent to two inches of travel. You may repeat the process until you achieve the perfect closure. 

This may, however, result in overheating, causing the motor to shut down. In such cases, consider waiting for a few minutes before resuming.

More importantly, safety is a crucial factor when dealing with garage doors. Therefore, ensure you test the safety sensors afterwards by placing an obstacle on the doorway to see whether the door retracts upon closure. When all else fails, reach out to a professional to avoid extending the damage.

Why does my garage door close and then reopen?

Closing and automatic reopening of the garage door is a common occurrence and can be frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry or can’t find the source of the problem. 

Fortunately, this incidence mainly occurs when there’s an obstruction in the doorway. Modern garage doors feature photo eye sensors with an automatic reversal function that signals the garage door to go back up whenever there’s an object in the doorway for safety purposes.

Therefore, before you get scared out of your wits, ensure you eliminate any obstruction interrupting the infrared beam between the photo eyes. The garage door should then operate as usual. 

Otherwise, consider checking whether the alignment of the sensors is correct and clear the lenses of any dust or debris. Routine cleanup of the garage and safety sensors could go a long way in preventing a similar occurrence. 

Genie garage door won’t stay closed

Genie garage door openers feature safety sensors that trigger an automatic reversal in the event of an obstruction. 

Therefore, for a Genie garage door that won’t stay closed, ensure you check if there’s an obstacle in the entryway, including the tiniest of debris. Once you remove all obstructions, the garage door should operate effectively.

While the automatic reverse feature fosters the safety of household members, the sensors could malfunction due to poor maintenance. 

Suppose the door fails to stay closed even when the garage entryway is clear; consider cleaning the photo eyes’ lenses with a damp rag to eliminate accumulated dust.

Additionally, with all the activity in the garage, the sensors may have been knocked out of place, hindering their functionality. Be sure to check for proper alignment of the sensors and realign them while ensuring they are about six inches from the ground.

Inappropriate travel limit settings could also be a probable cause. The ‘down’ limit switch may be triggering excessive close travel, causing the garage door to go too far down and reverses as if it has encountered an obstruction.

In this case, adjusting the travel limits will do the trick. If the garage door still malfunctions, resetting the opener by disconnecting it from the power source should do the trick. Otherwise, seeking garage door repair services is the ultimate solution. 

Garage door won’t stay closed after power outage

Failure of the garage door to stay closed following a power outage doesn’t necessarily indicate that the door is malfunctioning or has a problem. 

Since the garage door relies on electricity to function automatically, a power outage impairs its functionality by disconnecting the garage door from its opener. Accordingly, the garage door opener features an emergency release cord that comes into play during such instances.

Pulling the emergency release cord prevents the carriage from locking around the trolley, enabling you to operate the door manually in the event of electric failure. 

Therefore, upon restoration of electricity, you have to re-engage the opener to restore the garage door’s automated functionality. You can do so through these steps:

Step 1. Close the garage door

Be sure to close the garage door manually before proceeding to reconnect it. This promotes proper re-attachment while enhancing safety simultaneously.

Step 2: Push the button on the remote control or wall console.

When you press the control button, you instruct the garage opener to resume normal operations. Suppose your remote control features two buttons; ensure you press the one that triggers the door to close.

Step 3: Allow the trolley to reconnect with the carriage

You will want to wait for the opener to reconnect to the garage door for this step. This involves the reattachment of the carriage to the trolley. However, some models may require you to tug the emergency cord once again towards the garage door to trigger the reattachment process. 

Once the process is complete, your garage door should open and close automatically as usual.

A power surge may occur in some cases, damaging the transmitter’s functionality and reconnecting the opener may not solve the problem. Consider seeking garage door repair services in such cases for utmost convenience.

How do you reset a garage door?

The procedure for resetting your garage door varies depending on the model, age, and reason. For instance, disconnecting the opener from the garage door is an ideal practice whenever you experience electric failure or when you’re away for some time to enhance safety. 

You will have to reset the garage door to restore its automated functionality in such cases. Additionally, resetting is a practical troubleshooting tip for most garage door malfunctions and involves the steps below:

  1. Disconnect the garage opener from the power source. 
  2. Give the system about a minute to reset. This helps reboot the opener components, including the circuit board, photo eyes, and wall console.
  3. Restore the power supply to the garage door opener by plugging it back into the power source.
  4. Reset the remote control as well by removing and then reinstalling the batteries. However, ensure you consult the user manual as some models come with remote controls that feature a reset button next to the batteries.

Alternatively, if you want to reset your garage door after operating it manually;

  1. Ensure you close the garage door first for safety purposes.
  2. Identify the emergency release cord, usually suspended from the door’s trolley.
  3. Tug the cord downwards and towards the garage door so that the carriage locks around the trolley. You should hear a click indicating that you may continue enjoying your automatic garage door’s convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why does my garage door close halfway?

The garage door closing halfway without encountering an obstruction indicates a problem with the limit settings. At the back or side of every garage door opener are two limit switches; one that controls the up travel and another that controls down travel. 

Halfway closure indicates that you need to increase close travel so that the door travels further downwards. Consider turning the down travel switch in an anticlockwise manner using a flathead screwdriver to remedy the situation.

Otherwise, rusty rollers or misalignment of the tracks might be the source of the problem, whereby lubrication and re-alignment should resolve the issue.

Q2. What causes garage door to not stay closed?

The most probable cause for this scenario is the presence of an obstruction on the garage entryway. Even the smallest amount of dust or debris on the photo eyes’ lenses counts as obstruction. 

Therefore, clearing the entryway and wiping the sensory lenses should restore the door’s functionality.

Also, the travel limit settings may be off. Very high down travel settings cause the door to close too far down then reverse as though it has encountered an obstacle. Checking the limit settings and readjusting them could go a long way.

q3. Why does my garage door keep opening?

The garage door will keep opening if there’s an obstruction underneath it. Consider eliminating every obstacle and ensuring the safety sensor lenses are dust-free

If that doesn’t resolve the problem, confirm whether the sensors’ alignment is correct and realign them if necessary. Otherwise, adjusting the travel limits until the garage door closes perfectly should do the trick. 

Garage Door Won’t Stay Closed: The Takeaway

Conclusively, garage doors bear immense weight and are subject to the most frequent use in any household. Therefore, occasional breakdowns come as no surprise, especially in the case of an old garage door. 

Fortunately, the simple troubleshooting tips above, such as readjusting the limit switches, can resolve most garage door operational glitches. You can eliminate unforeseen repair costs and prepare yourself for such incidences beforehand, thanks to such tips. 

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