Garage Not Looking Quite Right? Maybe You're Seeing A Door Opener Breakdown

Have you ever gone into your garage and felt like things were not quite right? No, you're not in a horror movie, but you might be seeing a problem with your garage door finally manifesting itself. Here are a few common garage door problems and what they might look like when you first come into the room.

The Opener Is Running But Not Lit Up 

Garage door openers often have a light bulb inside them, and it can go out much like any other light fixture in your home. If your opener isn't lighting up properly, you'll need to turn it off and carefully open it up to change the bulb.

Be careful not to stand directly underneath the opener when you remove the outer panel. Openers require special light bulbs due to how much they vibrate, so if yours was installed with the wrong light, it may now be filled with broken glass from the bulb breaking. It's a good idea to put a bucket underneath the opener and remove the panel from the side so that any glass can fall down away from you.

If the right bulbs were used, all you'll need to do is take out the old one and put in a new vibration-proof bulb. Be sure to use exactly the wattage recommended on the machine. Too strong of a light bulb may burn the opener's components and destroy it. Too weak of a bulb won't be able to shine through the opener's front panels.

Nothing Moves, But You Hear A Grinding Noise

If you hear grinding and nothing else happens when you try to open the garage door, it's likely that your opener's gears have worn out. Since main gears are typically made of plastic, they can become misshapen or jagged over time. This causes a main gear to get stuck to the opener's smaller gears, damaging them as well. To reduce damage as much as possible, you should immediately switch off your opener if you hear the sound of gears grinding together.

The fix for a worn out main gear is inexpensive, but time consuming. Most of the opener needs to be taken apart in order to reach the gear assembly, so it's a difficult task to attempt on your own. If you make mistakes with the reassembly, you risk damaging other parts when you try to run the machine again. Fortunately, a good garage door technician can rebuild an opener in a day, so you can still get your door fixed quickly if time is of the essence.

The Door Isn't Closed The Whole Way

If you go into the garage and the door hasn't totally closed, the first thing you do should be to look around for damage to the door's mechanism and for anything blocking the door from shutting. If you don't see anything, try manually opening the door the whole way and shutting it again. Feel for catches as it moves to find what's holding it up. These may be caused by misaligned fasteners, which can be adjusted to properly guide the door.

Sometimes a door won't have any physical problems, but will still refuse to close all the way. In this case, it's usually due to the limit switch or safety sensor. These elements of your opener can malfunction and cause it to detect the ground in the wrong place. You'll need to have your opener serviced by a technician who can change the settings for you.

Of course, your garage door might be doing some other strange thing altogether. If you think things aren't quite right with your door, give the repairman a call to come inspect it. You could stop yourself from accidentally doing even worse damage.