Garage doors keep your cars and valuables safe from environmental elements, burglars and vandals. However, there comes a time when they develop problems of their own.

When your ever-reliable, automatic opener fails to work one day, it is just its way of telling you that you need to do a bit of maintenance check. Stay away from the panic button and do these simple checks first.

Problem 1: Garage Door Refuses to Open or Close Using the Remote Control

Remote controls provide an easy way for us to control electronics, but, sometimes, they fail to work for some reason. If the power is on, but you’re the garage door will not budge open when you use the remote, it could be a problem associated with the motor or just the remote not functioning properly.

How to Handle It:

Remote controls are battery-operated, and if you have been using them for a good while, chances are your batteries need changing. Do this at least every 3-6 months. Since the remote operates on wireless technology, the problem might be associated with the range so test your remote by pressing it as you move closer to the garage door sensor. Make sure that the antenna is pointed on the direction of the sensor and not facing downwards. If it does not work, reprogram the controls to re-set the configurations.

Problem 2: Garage Door Will Not Open and You Are Stuck Inside

Automatic doors provide us with a convenient way to open and close doors in a simple push of a button. However, when the controls aren’t receiving power, pressing the remote will not work — no matter how hard you try. You are late for work, and the door is shut.

How to Handle It:

The logical thing to do is check whether your garage mechanism is unplugged. It may be that you accidentally unhooked the mechanism from the socket or a case of connection loosening.

If it is plugged-in but still refuses to work, check for burnt wires and fuses. There are also cases when electric fluctuations “shock” your electronic devices. It might be that your motor has overworked, causing your circuit breaker to blow off. If this is the problem, call an electrician or a local repairman and have your wirings checked. Never attempt to fix electrical components by yourself unless you are a licensed electrician. You might just make things worse and risk burning your home. Try a manual override by pulling the red handle or cord that dangles from your garage door’s guide track opener. Using this, you can open the garage door and let yourself out.

Problem 3: Frozen Garage Door

If you are living in an area that experiences drastic changes in weather conditions, then this problem of a frozen garage door might be common. The door refuses to budge because the garage door has frozen and is stuck on the garage floor.

How to Handle It:

Stop hoping that you can make a miracle happen by continuously hitting the remote. You may cause a bigger problem by burning the motor. When the door is stuck on the floor, the best thing to do is break the connection between them. You can do so by de-icing the door with a hair dryer or a heat gun to melt the ice. Using a shovel to chip away the ice could work too, however, you risk denting the door or damaging its bottom seal. After you have successfully opened the door, clear the ice from the garage floor to prevent it from sticking to the floor the next time you need the driveway open.

Problem 4: Structural Problem

You realize that the problem with your not opening and closing is structural, associated with a bent track, a broken hinge or issues with torsion springs.

How to Handle It:

If after close inspection you see that there are some parts of the garage door that have been damaged or broken, you should locate the manufacturer and order the broken parts. If you do not have an idea how to install these pieces correctly and safely, ask help from your manufacturer’s technical representatives. They can walk you through the process of installation and provide you with the support you need as you install the parts yourself. If your garage door is still under warranty, these repairs are still covered by the manufacturer — so they won’t ask you to pay for services. In the event that warranty has lapsed, you can still seek help from the manufacturer by asking them for a list of authorized service centers. Rather than calling a random repairman or doing things yourself, have your garage doors repaired by people who have the expertise to handle specific brands or types of doors.