Why does a garage door not work in cold weather? Cold temperatures can affect the performance of a garage door opener, preventing it from closing. Since winters can be frigid in Illinois, it’s useful to understand what might cause a garage door opener to malfunction. Here are several reasons your garage door might not work correctly in cold weather and how to diagnose and fix the issues.

How does cold weather affect your garage door?

Does cold weather affect automatic garage door openers? It might. A garage door might not work for a variety of reasons, both related and unrelated to the weather. First, try to determine the cause of the malfunction. Once you know why the door isn’t working, then you can implement an appropriate solution.

See if you can pinpoint the area preventing the door from working properly when you try to open it with the opener. For example, does the opener seem to be getting power? Is the door stuck and not moving at all? Does it move partially but get stuck midway? Does the door go up but not back down correctly? Inspect the door to identify where the problem originates.

Safety Sensors Not Working Correctly

Sometimes in cold weather the garage door won’t close. If the door opens but doesn’t close with the remote, the problem might stem from the safety sensors on the garage door opener. Sensors can malfunction in cold weather for several reasons. If the garage door starts to close, then raises up again, the safety sensors might be falsely indicating an obstruction and preventing the door from closing.

If you can hold down the garage door wall-mounted button and get the door to close, the safety sensors are to blame. Check the sensors for condensation, a common winter problem, and wipe off any cloudy residue. If they don’t have condensation, the sensors might have become misaligned, which is also an easy DIY fix. Another possible solution is to reset the garage door sensors by unplugging the garage door opener, waiting several seconds, and plugging it back in. If none of these solutions fixes the issue, you might need to have the sensors replaced.

Water and Freezing

Can a garage door freeze shut? If ice or snow builds up under the door, the warmer temperature of the garage might melt the snow enough to freeze the door to the snow on the ground. In very cold weather, the garage door won’t open if it freezes to the ground. One home remedy for preventing this is to spray cooking oil along the door’s bottom rubber seal.

Keep the area under the door clean and clear of snow. If the door does freeze to the ground, the gears inside the garage door opener can get damaged when they try to raise it up. If the garage door opener sounds like it’s working, but the door isn’t moving, you might need to have the gears replaced. This can happen if the door freezes to the ground. The age of the opener can contribute to this factor as well, especially if the opener has been through many harsh Chicago winters.

Lubricant Not Working Effectively

When garage doors raise or lower, they shouldn’t make much noise. If the door is groaning, grinding, or sticking, it could simply have inadequate lubrication. Multiple moving parts on the door mechanism, including springs, rollers, tracks, and hinges, need lubrication to function effectively. Insufficient lubricant or lube that doesn’t operate properly in extremely cold weather can impede the door’s function. If the problem only occurs when it’s cold, replacing the lubricant might solve the issue.

When applying lubrication to a garage door, don’t use a standard lubricant like WD-40 because chemicals in this product might damage the door mechanism. Purchase garage door lubricant or a silicone-based spray appropriate for all temperatures. Sprays and aerosols work well and are the easiest to apply to the hard-to-reach areas of the door mechanism. Apply the lube on the roller, hinges, and bearings of the garage door.

Metal Contracting or Breaking

If the correct lubricant doesn’t help the door’s functioning, a part might be broken or misaligned. Freezing temperatures can make some of the metal parts of the garage door opener, such as the springs or screws, contract. This can cause irregular noises or difficulty opening. Sometimes the metal components lock up completely, causing the door to get stuck open, closed, or partially open.

Sometimes you can still open and close the door manually. Your owner’s manual for the opener might advise you on how to adjust your force limit, which can help with warping or sticking because of contracted metal.

Other Garage Door Issues

Sometimes the issue isn’t related to the cold. For example, electrical issues, such as defective wiring or a faulty connection, can cause a garage door to stop working. If you aren’t skilled with electrical repairs, contact a garage door repair service to get the problem resolved safely and effectively.

Over time, springs break simply because they hit their natural life span. Most garage door springs last for around 10,000 cycles, which is about five or six years. This range depends on how often you open the garage door. Garage doors that open and close frequently wear out faster.

DIY vs. Professional Repair

You can repair some garage door issues with a simple DIY fix. Use this list to troubleshoot and determine if you can fix your malfunctioning garage door easily. At times, however, the problem is more complicated. If you can’t determine the source of the problem, you might need to consult a professional to diagnose why the door isn’t working correctly and to make adjustments or repairs if necessary.

Because repairing a heavy garage door can be dangerous, it’s important to hire an experienced professional to fix the problem. Contact Overhead Garage Door to get expert service and repair so you can get in and out of your garage again safely, no matter the temperature. You can stay inside where it’s warm and let us take care of the problem.

Overhead Garage Door serves Chicagoland and Lake County and provides same-day and emergency services so you can get your garage door working properly as soon as possible.