Garage Door Troubleshooting

These garage door troubleshooting tips can help diagnose common garage door problems. For the safest solution, contact NationServe. Our trained technicians are here to help.

Disclaimer: The tips and procedures that follow should be done at your own risk. Always use proper tools and wear safety attire.

Check your door's balance

To lift a sectional overhead garage door, all you should need is one hand. A properly installed and maintained residential garage door will have a balance weight of 7 to 12 lbs.

  1. If you have an electric opener, pull the red-handled release rope to disconnect the garage door opener
  2. Lift the garage door to a half open position.
  3. Slowly let go of the door, making sure to keep your feet out of the way if the door closes.
    • A properly balanced door will remain half open.
    • If the door closes by itself, the door springs need more tension.
    • If the door opens by itself, the springs have too much tension.


Note: Adjusting spring tension is highly dangerous. Do not attempt unless you are an experienced garage door technician with the proper tools. If your garage door is unbalanced, contact us to schedule a service appointment.

Lubricate your door

To increase the life of your residential sectional garage door, use lubrication. If you hear a squeaking or grinding noise, or if your door isn't opening or closing smoothly, NationServe recommends that all moving metal parts be lubricated at least once a year.

  • Use a lubricant that is specially formulated for garage doors, like a silicone lubricant or garage door spray lube.
  • Place a few drops of oil on each hinge pivot point, the spring shaft bearings, and a bead of oil along the top of each spring.


Not comfortable doing it yourself? We're happy to help. With NationServe's maintenance services, we'll send our professional technicians to lubricate all the correct parts, adjust your spring tension for proper balance, and identify any potential problem areas like frayed cables or worn bearings.

Test your garage door opener reversing mechanism and sensors

Garage Door openers are required by federal law to be equipped with an anti-entrapment device and safety sensor beams. If your system doesn't have these features, we strongly recommend replacing your garage door opener immediately.


Here's how to test your garage door opener’s anti-entrapment features:

  • With the door fully open, lay a piece of wood (e.g., a section of a 2x4) on the floor where the door would typically touch the floor when it closes.
  • Push your garage door opener's transmitter to close the door.
  • When the door strikes the wood, it should automatically reverse.
  • If your door doesn't automatically reverse, it's time to call one of our trained service technicians.


Here's how to test your garage door opener’s photo sensor eyes:

  • Begin with your door in the fully open position and press your garage door opener's transmitter to close the door.
  • Run your foot or an object like a broom through the photo-eyes sensor beam.
  • If the door doesn't stop and reverse, make sure the door is in the closed position and clean the photo-eyes with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Gently adjust the photo-eyes by hand if they appear out of alignment.
  • Open the door and repeat the sensor test.
  • If your door doesn't automatically reverse, it's time to call one of our trained service technicians.


My garage door opens about half a foot, and then closes.


The springs at the top of your garage door likely need to be replaced. NationServe recommends replacing both springs, unless the unbroken spring was replaced in the last three years. Once one spring breaks, the other one usually follows suit just as quickly, and replacing both springs at the same time is more cost effective.

If your garage door has tubes, not springs, please let us know when you schedule a service call.


My door starts to close and then immediately opens again.


Start by holding down the wall control button continuously to see if the door will close. If this works, the problem is most likely a photo-eye (sensor) alignment issue. The photo-eye is a small plastic device with a lens and is located between 4" & 6" from the floor on both sides of your garage door.

  1. Check both photo-eyes to see if there is a green flashing light on the device.
  2. If there's no flashing light, check to make sure nothing has been placed in front of the photo-eyes (this area must be kept clear) to ensure that they haven’t been misaligned.
  3. Next, take a measuring tape and measure from the ground up to the center of one photo-eye. Write down the measurement.
  4. After that, measure out from the wall to the center of the photo-eye and write down that measurement.
  5. Take the same measurements for the other photo-eye.
  6. Adjust the photo eyes to the exact same measurements.
  7. Test the door and it should now work.

If this doesn't work, contact us to schedule a service call.


Sometimes my door groans, grinds, and automatically reverses instead of sealing properly after pressing the remote multiple times.


If your door isn't sealing on the bottom, take pipe insulation (this can be purchased at a hardware store and is used to insulate copper pipes) and stuff it into the bottom rubber seal where it's not sealing. Do this during warmer weather months, if you can. If the door is binding on the side of the weather seal, rub a bar of soap on areas where it’s sticking to stop it from catching.


My remote isn't opening my door.


Check to make sure you have new batteries and that they're inserted correctly. If the batteries are working, the remote control may need to be reprogrammed to the operator according to its manual.


My operator doesn’t respond from the wall controller, remotes or keyless entry.


Look at the photo-eyes for any sign of light. If there isn't:

  1. Go to your breaker panel and find the breaker for the garage.
  2. Flick the breaker on and off again.
  3. See if your operator is working again.
  4. If not, check to see if there is power to the operator and plug it in.
  5. If it's already plugged in, test the outlet with a separate electrical device, like a hand lamp to determine if the outlet is malfunctioning.


My door is jamming or grinding.


Jamming and grinding is often a sign of misaligned tracks, which need to be properly serviced. Contact us to schedule service and our professionals will determine what the issue and make a plan to repair it.

Do you have more questions about your residential or commercial door? Contact Us We're here to help.