Electric Garage Door Opener Troubleshooting

Updated February 21, 2017

Most of the time electric garage door openers are a convenient addition to the home. But when they malfunction, they can cause a lot of trouble as you scramble to determine what might be wrong with them. Try a few easy troubleshooting tips to help you diagnose the problem with your electric garage door opener.

Check the optical sensors if the garage door will not open. This is one of the most common causes for a garage door that doesn’t function. The optic sensors or “eyes” need to be aimed toward one another; if they are unaligned, the door will not open or close. Eyes are located about 6 inches from the ground at either end of the garage door. Check for anything that may be blocking the eyes, or check to see if the eyes are misaligned. If so, rotate the eyes so that they are aimed at one another.

Make sure the garage door opener is plugged in and has power if the door will not operate by using the push button in the garage or the remote control. Check to see that the unit is plugged in and that the power is on. Check your fuse box and circuit breaker and reset them, if necessary. Check for an overloaded motor by waiting 15 minutes and trying to operate the door again. If this doesn’t work, you may have a short in the door control or bell wire. Check the wires and repair them as necessary.

Check to make sure the remote control is functioning. If the door opens only from the push button, you likely have a problem with the remote. Change the battery and see if the door will operate. If the remote control has a “lock” on it, make sure the remote is not locked by flipping the switch to “off.” If this does not help, the remote may not be sending a signal. Reprogram your remote control code according to your user’s manual.

Make sure the door control works if the garage door can be opened by the remote but not the door control button. Remove the door control from the garage wall by unscrewing the plate. Disconnect the wires from the door control and hold opposite-coloured wires together to see if the garage door operates. If it does, the door control needs to be replaced.


Refer to the user’s manual that came with your electric garage door opener. This is the most helpful and accurate tool you have for troubleshooting your specific model of opener. Keep your user’s manual handy throughout the troubleshooting process to help you identify key parts of your system.


If you hear any grinding or scraping sounds coming from above, there is a problem with the unit’s gears or motors that needs to be looked at by a licensed technician. Contact a local repair person that you trust.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

Megan Martin has more than 10 years of experience writing for trade publications and corporate newsletters as well as literary journals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.