What to Do When Your Garage Remote Isn’t Working

 garage remote not working

When you’re garage remote isn’t working, you’re in the midst of one of the most common repair calls we receive each day as licensed garage door contractors. There are several things that could be wrong. The good news is that a non-functioning garage remote is usually a simple DIY repair. 

We’ve divided this post into two sections. The first is dedicated to troubleshooting steps if the push button works, but your remote does not. The second continues with what to do if neither the button, nor the remote, open/close the door. 

If the wall-mounted, pushbutton works, but the remote doesn’t 

Once you get into the garage, see if the push button works. If pushing it engages the garage door (you see the lights, hear the motor, etc.), but the door won’t open, there’s probably an issue with the lasers. 

1. Check and clear any debris or garage items in the way of the sensors. 

Make sure nothing is blocking the laser sensors, located on either side of the tracks (usually at the bottom near the garage floor, but sometimes mounted higher up). If these are even the slightest bit blocked by a rake handle, the edge of a bike tire, a corner of a storage container, etc., they go into safety mode and keep the garage door from moving until the item is out of the way. 

2. Check the batteries 

Remote controls run off batteries, and they eventually need to be replaced. Batteries are available from most big box hardware stores. Replace the remote batteries. If you push the button and the light activates, that was probably your problem. 

3Are the lasers still aligned? 

If nothing is in the way, it could be that the lasers aren’t aligned. This can happen if they’re bumped or knocked, from a minor earthquake, or just the typically structural settling of a building over time. Look at your sensors and see if there is a light glowing?  

If not – or if the light is red  gently and carefully jiggle and wiggle one of them to align it with the other. When it’s aligned, the light will glow green. This means they’re back in alignment and odds are your door will open again. 

4. Is there something in the track? 

Sometimes, there isn’t an object in the way or blocking the sensors, but debris or a fallen broom/rake/etc. is blocking the garage track. Remove it and clean any other dirt, twigs, leaves or potential blockages and then try again. 

5. The door is off its track. 

If you can hear the motor trying, but there are squeaks, small pops, or clicks, it could be that the door came off its track. Inspect the track while the motor is running (keep your hands free of the moving door or any moving part). Look to see if you notice any bends, warping, or obvious signs that the track is out of whack or the garage wheels are obviously compromised. You can gently tap the track to move it back in place, but we recommend scheduling this repair with the professionals. 

6. It was disconnected (put into manual mode) 

Sometimes the disconnect cord is pulled by curious children or while moving things back and forth. If the door has been disconnected, read How to Manually Open and Close the Garage Door, focusing on the instructions for getting it back into automatic mode. 

7. Do you need to reprogram it? 

Once in a while, the remote needs to be reprogrammed. Consult your manufacturer’s instructions (also available online if you’ve misplaced your manual) to reprogram your remotes.  

The following instructions work for most standard, hand-held remote control models: 

  • Press and hold the “learn” button on the motor unit until the learn indicator light goes out (approximately 5 to 7 seconds). This should erase the existing codes 
  • Press and hold the ENTER button on the remoteWhen the overhead opener’s light’s blink on and off, release the button. If the lights aren’t installed or are burnt out, you should hear two clicks. 

If that doesn’t work, you may need to contact your garage door technician. Most companies can walk you through the process during business hours. 

8. It is locked 

Garage doors all come with a lock option, typically used when homeowners are on vacation or away for extended periods of timeLook at the interior side of the garage door and see if any metal parts have slid down and are blocking the door’s lifting action. There should be a knob or a push-button unlock feature that will unlock the door. 

If the Push Button Option Doesn’t Work Either… 

If you push the button on the wall and nothing happens.  

BONUS TIP: Check the power source. Is the automatic opener plugged in? See if the breaker has tripped. There’s nothing worse than calling and paying for a professional repair call, only to learn your garage door didn’t have power. 

9. Has the cable/chain snapped? 

Take a peek at the top of the garage door track along the ceiling, by the automatic opener box. Is the cable/chain still intact or has it snapped? If it is snapped, separated, or doesn’t look like a continuous bike chain, contact professionals. 

11. The torsion spring is broken 

Similarly, the garage door spring may have snapped. This makes a very loud bang/crash – and can even sound like a gunshot. If you see that the spring is broken, DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE. Springs are dangerous and can cause serious injury and even fatality. If you suspect anything is wrong with your garage door spring, contact a technician ASAP and leave the door alone in the meantime. 

If these troubleshooting tips didn’t help, give us a call, (707) 644-5537or contact R&S Erection of Vallejo to schedule an appointment. A licensed technician will be there ASAP to fix the issue. 

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