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How To Fix A Garage Door That Only Closes Partially

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If you have an automatic garage door opener connected to your garage, then you rely on the motor of the door as well as the various other moving parts so you can get your car out of your garage. While your garage door is likely to work quite well for some time, it will break down eventually. A typical garage door will last about 30 years, and the opener will last between 10 and 15 years. This means that you are likely to run into some opener issues well before the garage door itself needs to be replaced. One issue involves the door closing and then opening abruptly once it is halfway down or a few inches from the garage floor. If you experience this issue, then keep reading to learn how to troubleshoot it. 

Check For Obstructions And Sensor Issues

A garage door will commonly open and close when an object sits just underneath the door. Most obstructions, small or large, will cause this to happen. This is a safety feature of the door that is controlled by two different types of sensors called the safety and pressure sensors. The pressure sensor is installed within the motor itself and it senses any resistance as the garage door closes. The resistance causes the door to reverse so that a person or object is not crushed. 

The second garage door sensor is a photo eye device that is installed on the garage door track about six inches from the floor. One eye will sit on the right of the door and one will be located on the left. One end of the photo eye will emit a beam of infrared light and the other will receive this light. If the light is not received by the photo eye, then the garage door will open because it senses an object in the way of the beam. 

Both of these safety sensors may be causing the door to open back up, so use a broom to sweep along the floor underneath the door to make sure things like sticks, rocks, and other objects are removed from the area. Also, dirt may be obstructing the lenses of the photo eyes, so clean them off. Since the lenses are small glass ones like camera lenses, you will need to use the right materials to avoid scratching the glass. Alcohol should be used to rinse away debris and a microfiber cloth is needed for gentle buffing. Place rubbing alcohol in a small spray bottle and spritz both the photo eyes. Wipe the lenses with the microfiber cloth afterwards. 

Afterwards, try the door to see if it works properly, if it does not, then try cleaning the garage door tracks. Dirt and debris may be causing a resistance issue that is telling the pressure sensor to open the door.

Clean The Garage Door Tracks

To clean the garage door tracks, make sure the garage door is open all the way. Most tracks are made from galvanized steel, so you will want to clean the tracks in a way that the zinc oxide barrier on the exterior of the metal is not removed. This barrier is what keeps the steel safe from corrosion. Water and dish soap are best for general cleaning, and you should use a sponge that will not scrape the insides of the tracks. After you clean, rinse the tracks and wipe them down with a microfiber cloth. Inspect the tracks afterwards and look for any signs of white or brown deposits on the metal. These deposits are either hard water stains or salt deposits from snow and ice removal substances used during the winter. It can be hard to tell the difference between the two types of stains, so use both acidic and alkaline cleaning solutions to clean the tracks.

To remove hard water stains, place a small amount of white vinegar on a cloth and wipe down the metal channels. Afterwards, mix about one cup of milk and two cups of baby powder or corn starch together in a dish to release salt stains. Use a sponge to place the paste on the tracks and scrub the mixture across the metal. Rinse them with water and try the garage door to see if it closes. If it does not, then the pressure sensor may need to be changed, your door tracks may be bent, or the torsion springs might need changing. Call a garage door technician so the problem can be assessed and repaired, or visit the website of local companies for more information.


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