5 Reasons Why Your Garage Door Won’t Open With the Remote and How to Solve It

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Updated December 14, 2021
A man’s hand opening the garage door using a remote controller
Photo: mirsad / Adobe Stock

Highlights

Highlights:

  • There are several reasons why your remote isn’t opening the garage door.

  • There are several DIY solutions, such as getting a new remote and resetting the keypad.

  • You may need to fix an individual component or get a replacement.

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If you use a car every day, a garage door that won't open is, well, annoying, to say the least. But don’t worry—a solution to the problem could be just a few minutes away. There are several reasons why your garage door won’t open when you hit the button on your remote control, but you can try several tricks to get things running smoothly again.

1. Your Remote Might be the Problem

If your garage remote control isn’t opening the door, a few potential issues might be at hand. You might be out of range, the antenna could be damaged, or the batteries could need replacing. 

How to Fix It

First, you’ll want to check if getting more within range helps. To do this, simply get closer to the door and try using the remote again. 

If this doesn’t work, look at the antenna. The antenna is usually pointed toward the door, hanging down from the operator casing.  If the antenna is damaged, it could be preventing the garage door from functioning. If the antenna is visibly damaged or appears broken, contact a local garage door repair service to diagnose the issue. 

Next, you can try to reprogram the remote. For most models, this usually involves holding down the “learn” button for a few seconds until it starts blinking and then holding it once more. However, usually, you can find thorough instructions in your manual. 

If the door still doesn’t open, your remote battery may be dead. This fix will require a change of batteries. If the batteries came pre-installed, you might have never changed them before—luckily, it’s usually a simple task. Garage remote batteries are typically 3-volt lithium or 12-volt lithium batteries, but you can open the remote and see which yours takes. 

After purchasing replacements, slide off the back cover, remove the old batteries, and slide in the new batteries making sure the battery tips align properly inside. 

Note: Sometimes, this job requires a screwdriver to remove a piece holding the batteries in place.

2. You May Have a Faulty Keypad

If your garage door isn’t opening, your keypad could be out of sync with the remote. The keypad is the button remote that requires a security code for the door to open. 

How to Fix It

Check instructions in the user manual for how to reset the keypad. If this is the issue, the door should open after you properly reset the keypad. 

3. There Could Be a Blocked or Misaligned Photo-Eye

The photo-eye is a small sensor about 4 to 8 inches above the floor inside the garage door. The photo eye’s function is to detect something blocking the garage path door and signal the door to stop closing. 

A blocked photo-eye may be the reason why your garage door isn’t closing—it can become damaged or blocked due to moisture or rain. The photo-eye can also become unaligned due to wear and tear or physical pressure. 

How to Fix It

Wipe off the photo-eye with a rag, dusting away any debris or dust.  Also, inspect the cord attached to the photo-eye for damage. 

The photo-eye consists of two pieces that should align face to face. If they are misaligned, this will cause the garage door to have problems. You can use a level to ensure the two parts are at equal heights.

Remove any obstructions blocking the photo-eye. If the photo eye is unobstructed, a LED laser beam goes from one end of the photo-eye to the other.  When things are in the way, both parts may not receive the laser, and the garage door won't open. 

4. You May Have Unaligned Tracks

A single door white garage next to the house
Photo: alexandre zveiger / Adobe Stock

Garage doors have metal tracks that keep the door in place, but if it isn’t properly aligned on its tracks, this will likely cause the door to stop functioning properly. Additionally, the tracks must be straight and even on either side. 

This issue may happen over time or as the result of something heavy hitting the track. 

How to Fix It

Check the track for visible bends, spaces, or obstacles in the tracks. If you notice any imperfections, see if you can straighten them. It’s also a good idea to lubricate the tracks with a non-permeable lubricant specifically for garage doors. 

If you hear squeaks or it sounds like there is friction as the door slides, you may need to readjust the screws. Loosen the screws holding the track in place, then tap them back into place and retighten the screws. 

If all else fails, contact your garage door company or a local garage door repair service. A professional inspector can examine your door and fix the issue properly.

5. You May Have Broken Springs on Your Hands

Garage doors use torsion springs, which lift and lower the door. They run horizontally over the door's width. Over time, these springs can become worn out and unable to function properly. 

Broken springs are a common reason for a garage door failing to open. This problem can result from general wear and tear, rust, and improper maintenance. In general, you should inspect the torsion springs once a year for rust or weakening.

How to Fix It

Check to see if there are gaps between the spring coils. If there are, the spring(s) may have snapped, and you’ll need to either get replacement springs or have your current springs tightened. The cost for replacement springs is between $150 and $350 on average. 

Replacing your garage springs is not a DIY job. If one of the springs snaps during installation, it can cause serious injuries. This job is dangerous and should be left to a professional equipped with the knowledge and proper tools.

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