Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Garage Door and What to Do About It

What makes for a good-looking garage door? Is it their tough exterior packed to the brim with high tensile steel or an aesthetically intimidating appearance? Clever homeowners deploy a combination of both to exude a tough but elegant appearance to first time visitors. Garage doors are like giant gates which are situated right next to your home’s main entrance – thus naturally inviting all sorts of possible miscreants into your home.

A Parable

The parable of a garage door in disrepair is that of rotten meat which attracts a myriad of filthy creatures (think flies and maggots) – both to the meat’s vicinity and the areas surrounding it. 

The only way to prevent the disease from spreading is to quietly take out the source that invites them into your home in the first place. Remove the rotten piece of meat and discard it away immediately.

The case is a similar with garage doors. Structurally, weak ones will attract more trouble than is worth. Thieves, burglars and other kinds of miscreants looking to make a quick buck can quickly devolve merely from opportunists guided by a warped sense of direction to blood thirsty monsters hell bent on murdering you and your family. Criminals often feel empowered while committing a crime, often pushing them to more heinous extremes.

Your own laziness could cost you

Some people are so lackadaisical with the safety of their garage that they actually leave the garage door remote inside their car parked away on the street. You just allowed the criminals to access your entire household by the press of a button – a button which belongs to you no less! Exercising your common sense is more important than installing expensive security systems. Even the most well equipped fortress is only as good as the weakest link – which often time tends to be one’s lack of common sense. 

Garage doors need to be reinforced by high tensile steel which doesn’t buckle under the force of its own weight, nor does it warp away by the passage of time. You are not only entrusting the safety of your car to the garage door’s structural integrity, but you’re also placing the well-being of your entire family in hopes that the garage door continues to function properly.

Common problems with stubborn garage doors

Some garage doors however take the “structural integrity” part a little too far when they refuse to open at all (or refuse to close). Here are a few reasons why this could happen to you;

Blocked sensor

Photo eyes or photoelectric sensors deploy a laser beam across in a horizontal line from one end of the garage door to the next. If anything obstructs the laser beam by blocking its path, the garage door will refuse to close. This is a safety feature deployed to prevent any mishaps or accidents from occurring to people who happen to be standing directly beneath the garage door. After all no one wants to get crushed under the weight of 400 lbs of solid steel. Photo eyes are usually placed 4 to 6 inches above the ground and it is common for dust, dirt and other particulate matter to clog up the sensors. Often times, performing maintenance of the photo eyes is as simple as cleaning with a towel or piece of cloth.

Garage door is unresponsive to the remote controller

Check to see if other venues of opening the garage door work properly. This way you can confirm that it really is the garage door remote which is in disrepair. The most common fix is as simple as replacing older batteries with newer ones. A slightly harder, more complicated fix is to reprogram the remote controller since they tend to get out of sync with the rest of the machinery. It is best to consult the manufacturer’s manual to learn how you can reprogram the remote.

It could even be that the remote is out of range, check out the manufacturer’s manual to understand which distances are best to operate the remote. 

Sometimes the antennas also tend to get blocked by debris and other means of obstruction. It is best to leave this part to professionals that have expertise in garage door repairs.

Overhead Garage Door Repair

Garage door torsion springs need repair or replacement

Torsion springs contract and expand utilizing mechanical energy while doing so. They are critical to the proper opening and closing of the garage door and are fixed horizontally above the garage door. They have a limited lifespan and will eventually weaken with the passage of time, as is common with any metal that gets used very often. The elements such as weather and rust have a way of taking their toll on the torsion springs. Life threatening injuries can take place when these springs do eventually enter into disrepair – garage doors have the tendency to rapidly fall onto the floor, crushing anything (or anyone) that might be unfortunate enough to be under their mighty force. Since torsion springs are one of the most vital components of a garage door, their repairs are best left in the hands of a professional. If you have too much time on your hands you could perform the replacement yourself, but it is important to not purchase replacement torsion springs from just about any utility shop you could get your hands on. Seek out assistance from professional garage repairmen to procure the right kind of material for your garage door. A lot of calculations go into deciding which kind of torsion spring should be used – the most important factor is the weight of the garage door itself. It is not advisable to hook up a weak torsion spring to a heavy door – seek the manufacturer’s manual before making such decisions.

Damaged garage door springs

While the springs aren’t directly related to the structural strength of the garage door itself, they are the means through which garage doors open and close seamlessly. Here are a few common signs which could indicate problems with the springs:
  • Hearing a squeaking sound while opening up the garage door means that the springs have become slightly overused. The problem can be offset slightly by applying some lubricant to ‘relax’ the springs a little and reduce any friction that they might be encountering while contracting and expanding. It is important that you use lubricants or oils that are specific to garage doors. Be sure to lubricate the springs, tracks and hinges all the same. Some home owners actually get accustomed to the noise, assuming that it is typical of garage doors to make horrifying screeching sounds every time they open or close. Bad springs are an indication that it is finally time for the garage doors to undergo inspection and if possible repair and maintenance by professionals.
  • If the garage door requires an unusual amount of force on your part to open up or close down, it usually means that your springs are out of balance or out of shape and need to be refitted. Only professionals should perform this maintenance because dozens of parts are involved, each of which requires you to properly get acquainted with them.
Remote Opener

Access to power has been blocked

Most problems are often times so simple and insignificant that their discovery leads us to bewildered astonishment. Yes – a blocked power source is one of the most common reasons why some folks try seeking professional assistance. Check to see if the power cord has not been unplugged by accident. This could be an indication of a more serious problem such as issues with the electrical wiring of the house, breaking box or the fuse. It is important to not let the DIY videos on YouTube fool you into thinking that such repairs can be performed by novices. Only professionals with proper certification should be allowed to touch electrical wiring in the house.
Remote Opener

It is important for you to improve the look and feel of your garage

Now that the problems with your garage have been (probably) dealt with, it is a good idea to improve their overall aesthetic appearance. After all they are one of the first parts of your house which visitors look upon. An unimpressive garage door shows that the owner of the house really doesn’t have an artistic side to them; but all humans are affected by the creativity bug ­– we just need to push ourselves to get our creative juices flowing. The following are excellent methods of improving your garage’s look:


The lighting surrounding your house is not just a source of illuminating the darkness when the sun eventually sets in, but they are a means of added protection against criminal elements. There’s a reason why most criminal activity happens under the veil of darkness, away from prying eyes – remember that houses which are surrounded by darkness invite trouble. Then there is the aesthetic appeal of good lighting. When you’re driving home from work when daylight ends, it is a comfortable feeling to be welcomed by warm lighting around your house.

A different touch of paint

There are different materials used in the making of garage doors, these include wood, aluminum and steel. Each material responds differently to the type and coloring of the paint used. It is advisable that the paint is of the same color as the rest of the house. It is important to entrust the painting to specialists before embarking on a DIY project only to find out later that the paint used encourages the growth of rust over your steel door.

Retrofit add-ons for your garage

The most obvious add-ons to your garage door is a new door handle, they are cheap and can be purchased in unique shapes, colors and designs. Choose a door handle that complements the garage door’s paint and if possible, the lighting around the house.

Improve the look of the driveway

Often the most overlooked aspect of the house, driveways are able to subtly change the aesthetic appeal of the house. There are different ways of accomplishing this, just pour gravel over the driveway to give your driveway that classical vintage feeling. While this is a very cost effective way of achieving a beautiful appearance, it also requires you to perform maintenance on a regular basis. 

If there is enough space, you could introduce a circular driveway. This would create a formidable, imposing effect on visitors.

Or you could just introduce plain old grass. This too will require regular maintenance.

Improve the look of the driveway

It is your driveway so paint to your heart’s content. Just don’t make it look too untidy with nonsensical designs.

Word of caution for home owners:

It is tempting to embark on a DIY project by watching a few videos on YouTube or perusing through a couple of ‘in-depth’ articles on the Internet. All these sources of information claim that their results can be replicated like for like by the viewer. This usually sends the novice garage repairman on a cumbersome mission to take things into their own hands. The end result is a waste of both their time and money, which could possibly even result in life threatening injuries. Garage repairs are not easy to perform; they require thorough training, understanding of hundreds of different parts and access to a myriad of expensive, specialist equipment to provide the necessary repairs. 

The most dangerous repairs for you to take upon is repairing or replacing the torsion springs responsible for opening and closing the garage door. One wrong move on your end and the entire door could snap with voracious speed, injuring everything in its path. In fact, even specialists run into mishaps with torsion springs every now and then. It is advisable to hire specialists that have the proper certification and experience to guarantee the safety of their work. Key things to look out for are the specialist’s reputation, professional attitude and number of customers they cater to. You could also trust your friend or neighbor’s word of mouth to hire a specific garage specialist.