Overhead Door Company of Oklahoma CityServing:   Oklahoma City, OK    Edmond, OK    Norman, OK    Yukon, OK     Midwest City, OK


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Help! My Garage Door Won’t Open!

Your garage door is likely the most used entry point in your home, enduring considerable wear and tear over time. It’s no surprise then that a malfunctioning garage door can lead to a frantic Google search for solutions. Whether it’s a power outage, a blocked sensor, or a snapped cable, each issue can turn into a significant inconvenience or a security risk. Let’s delve into the common reasons your garage door might be giving you trouble and how to fix them.

The Power Outage Dilemma

The most straightforward issue might be a power outage. It’s easy to overlook, especially if you’re in a hurry or if the rest of your home still has power due to a separate circuit for the garage. Always start by checking your home’s power supply and the garage’s circuit breaker first. This is a crucial step because sometimes the solution is as simple as flipping a switch on your circuit breaker box.

If you find that the power is out, locate the manual override feature on your garage door opener. This is usually a cord with a handle, often red, hanging from the opener. Pulling this handle disengages the opener’s automatic mechanism, allowing you to manually lift the door. Remember, garage doors can be heavy, so be cautious and ensure you have the strength to lift it safely.

Unblocking the Photo-eye Sensor

Modern garage doors are equipped with a safety feature known as the photo-eye sensor. This critical component is designed to prevent the door from closing if it detects an object or person in its path, making it an essential part of your garage door’s safety mechanism. The photo-eye consists of two small, eye-like sensors located on either side of the garage door, about 6 inches above the ground. These sensors transmit an invisible beam between them; if this beam is interrupted, the garage door will automatically reverse to its open position.

However, there are times when the door refuses to close, not because of an actual obstruction but due to issues with the photo-eye sensor itself. Here are steps to unblock and clean the photo-eye sensor effectively:

  1. Visual Inspection: First, visually check if there is anything obvious blocking the sensors’ line of sight. This could be anything from a spider web to leaves or debris. Even small objects can interrupt the sensor beam, preventing the door from closing.
  2. Cleaning the Lens: Dirt, dust, or grime can accumulate on the sensor lens, diminishing its ability to transmit or receive the beam clearly. Gently clean the lens on each sensor using a soft cloth and a mild cleaner. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, which could misalign the sensor.
  3. Alignment Check: The photo-eye sensors need to be perfectly aligned to function correctly. If one has been bumped or moved slightly, it might not align with the other sensor, breaking the invisible safety beam. You can usually tell if alignment is off if one of the sensor lights is blinking. Consult your garage door manual on how to adjust the sensors back into alignment. Sometimes, a small screwdriver is all you need to gently adjust the mounting brackets.
  4. Check for Wiring Issues: Occasionally, the problem might not be with the sensor itself but with the wiring that connects it to the garage door system. Inspect the wires for any signs of damage, wear, or disconnection. If you’re comfortable with basic wiring, you can check for loose connections and secure them. For more complicated issues, it’s best to call a professional.
  5. Testing the Sensors: After cleaning and aligning the sensors, test the garage door to see if it closes properly. Place an object like a roll of paper towels in the path of the invisible beam to ensure the door reverses as it should. This test confirms the sensors are now functioning correctly.

Keeping the photo-eye sensors clean and properly aligned ensures your garage door operates safely and reliably. Regular maintenance checks on these sensors can prevent future issues and ensure the safety of your home and loved ones.

Reviving Your Transmitter Batteries

A common reason your garage door might not respond to the remote control is due to dead transmitter batteries. This issue can often be resolved quickly and without the need for professional help. Here’s how to revive your garage door’s responsiveness by addressing the transmitter batteries:

  1. Identify the Problem: If your garage door operates fine with the wall-mounted control panel but not with the remote, it’s a strong indication that the remote’s batteries are the issue.
  2. Locate and Replace Batteries: Open the remote control’s battery compartment, usually found on the back or by sliding open a section of the remote. Remove the old batteries, noting their orientation. Purchase new batteries of the same type and insert them according to the correct polarity, which is typically marked inside the battery compartment.
  3. Check Remote Functionality: After replacing the batteries, test the remote by attempting to open or close the garage door. If the door responds, your problem is solved. If not, ensure the batteries are inserted correctly and that the battery contacts are clean and not corroded.
  4. Wall-mounted Control Panel: While addressing the remote, don’t overlook the wall-mounted control panel. Although it’s directly wired and doesn’t rely on batteries for operation, it’s a good time to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Check for loose connections or damage to the wires, and ensure the control panel’s buttons are not stuck or damaged.
  5. Reprogramming the Remote: In some cases, especially after changing batteries, you may need to reprogram the remote to work with your garage door opener. Refer to your garage door opener’s manual for specific instructions on reprogramming. This process usually involves pressing a button on the garage door opener unit and then pressing a button on the remote.
  6. Multiple Remotes: If you have more than one remote, it’s wise to replace the batteries in all of them at the same time. This preemptive approach can save you from future inconveniences and ensure all remotes are in working order.
  7. Consider Battery Quality: When purchasing new batteries, opt for high-quality ones. Better quality batteries tend to last longer and provide more reliable performance. This small investment can lead to fewer disruptions in your garage door’s functionality.

By following these steps, you can quickly resolve issues related to dead transmitter batteries in your garage door remote. Regularly checking and replacing the batteries as needed will ensure that your garage door opener remains responsive and that you won’t be caught off guard by a non-responsive door.

Addressing Snapped Lift Cables and Broken Springs

Lift cables and springs play a pivotal role in the operation of your garage door, bearing the weight and tension necessary to move the door smoothly and safely. These components are under constant tension and, over time, can become worn or even snap. A snapped lift cable or broken spring not only inhibits the door’s ability to open and close but also poses significant safety risks. Here’s how to address these critical issues responsibly:

  1. Recognize the Signs: The first step in addressing issues with your garage door’s lift cables and springs is to recognize the signs of wear or failure. This may include the garage door stopping abruptly during operation, hanging at an angle, or not opening at all. You might also hear a loud bang from the garage when a spring breaks, as it releases all the tension it was under.
  2. Safety First: If you suspect that a lift cable has snapped or a spring has broken, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Do not attempt to lift or manually operate the garage door. The imbalance caused by the failure of these components can make the door extremely heavy and unpredictable.
  3. Secure the Area: Keep children, pets, and vehicles away from the garage door. A door with a broken spring or cable can come crashing down unexpectedly, leading to injury or damage.
  4. Professional Inspection and Repair: Due to the high risk of injury and the specialized knowledge required to repair or replace garage door springs and cables, it’s imperative to call in a professional garage door repair service. These experts have the tools, training, and experience to safely assess and fix the issue. Attempting to repair these components yourself can result in serious injury or further damage to your garage door system.
  5. Maintenance Checks: Regular maintenance by a professional can help identify and mitigate the risk of snapped cables and broken springs before they lead to a failure. These checks can include tightening loose bolts, lubricating moving parts, and adjusting the tension of springs and cables.
  6. Quality Replacement Parts: When repairs are necessary, ensure that high-quality replacement parts are used. Professional garage door technicians can provide and install the correct springs and cables that are compatible with your door’s make and model, ensuring longevity and safe operation.
  7. Educate Yourself: While the repair should be left to professionals, educating yourself on the basic operation of your garage door system and understanding the signs of wear can help you identify issues early. This knowledge can be valuable in preventing accidents and maintaining the safety and functionality of your garage door.
RELATED: Garage Maintenance Checklist for 2024

Snapped lift cables and broken springs require immediate and professional attention to prevent accidents and ensure the safe operation of your garage door. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs by qualified professionals are essential to the longevity and reliability of your garage door system.

When to Seek Professional Help

Troubleshooting common garage door problems can sometimes lead to easy fixes, but there are circumstances when professional intervention is not just recommended, it’s essential. Understanding when to call in the experts can save you time, prevent further damage, and most importantly, keep you safe. Here’s a guideline on when it’s time to seek professional help for your garage door issues:

  1. After Basic Troubleshooting: If you’ve attempted basic troubleshooting steps like checking power sources, batteries, and obstructions without success, the problem may be more complex than initially thought. Professionals can diagnose issues that aren’t immediately apparent to the untrained eye.
  2. Complex Mechanical Issues: Garage doors rely on an intricate system of springs, cables, rollers, and openers to function smoothly. If the problem lies within these components, especially with springs and cables which are under high tension, it’s crucial to let trained technicians handle it. Attempting DIY repairs on these parts can lead to serious injury.
  3. Electrical Problems: Any issues that involve the garage door’s electrical system, including the opener, wiring, and control panel, should be addressed by a professional. Electrical work requires specific knowledge and tools to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  4. Structural Damage: If your garage door has suffered structural damage from an accident or severe weather conditions, it’s essential to have a professional assess and repair the damage. They can determine if the door can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced, ensuring it’s safe and operational.
  5. Persistent Noise or Operation Issues: If your garage door continues to operate noisily or erratically despite lubrication and basic maintenance, there may be underlying issues that only a professional can identify and resolve.
  6. When Safety is a Concern: The safety of your household should always be a priority. If there’s any doubt about the safety of your garage door, whether it’s due to worn parts or erratic operation, it’s time to call in the experts. Professional technicians can ensure that all safety features are functional and that the door operates reliably.
  7. For Regular Maintenance: Even if your garage door isn’t currently experiencing problems, regular professional maintenance is recommended. Technicians can catch and fix minor issues before they turn into bigger problems, extending the life of your door and ensuring it operates safely and efficiently.
RELATED: Garage Door Service Tips: Know When to Call for Help

Selecting a reputable and experienced garage door service is crucial. Look for companies with positive reviews, proper licensing and insurance, and a track record of quality service. A professional technician can provide peace of mind by ensuring your garage door is in the best possible working condition, protecting your home and loved ones.


What should I do if my garage door isn’t opening due to a power outage?

First, check your home’s power supply and the garage’s circuit breaker. If the power is out, use the manual override feature on your garage door opener, usually a cord with a handle, to open the door manually.

How can I unblock the photo-eye sensor on my garage door?

Clean the lens on each sensor using a soft cloth and a mild cleaner, and ensure they are properly aligned. If the sensors are not aligned or if there is an obstruction, the door will not close.

What are the steps to replace dead batteries in my garage door transmitter?

Open the remote control’s battery compartment, remove the old batteries, and insert new ones according to the correct polarity. Test the remote’s functionality afterwards.

What should I do if my garage door’s lift cables or springs are broken?

Recognize the signs of wear or failure, and do not attempt to operate the door manually. Call a professional garage door repair service immediately to avoid injury or further damage.

When is it essential to seek professional help for garage door problems?

Seek professional help after basic troubleshooting, for complex mechanical or electrical issues, structural damage, persistent operation issues, or when safety is a concern.

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Kristen Mangum
Kristen Mangum
Friendly customer service. Bought a hard to find remote for an old garage door opener. Opener has 3 buttons so I can program both doors to it. Easy to find location right off 29th St.
Robert Ballinger
Robert Ballinger
Great people
Betsy Chronister
Betsy Chronister
I was given a very fair quote. A week later a tech came and installed. Then came back to install lock. Tech was very professional and polite. Spen time with me making adjustments to my liking. I totally recommend Overhead door to my fellow Okies.
Hendrix Morrow
Hendrix Morrow
Overhead Door did a great job. They got me on the schedule the next day and fixed my spring in 30 minutes or less. Joe was great, professional, and courteous. Awesome service, and he didn't tell me I needed extra materials like the previous garage door people that quoted me $575. Overhead Door told me a price over the phone and it didn't change. I'd recommend them every time.
Sandy Molleda Molleda
Sandy Molleda Molleda
A very good place for a new garage door and a new remote.
John Ehrhardt
John Ehrhardt
Pleased with their services. Coil spring broke and door stopped working. Spoke to Ron, and less than 24 hrs later the technician had us up n running again. These guys did exactly what they promised to do, with no nonsense. I like that.

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