Garage Door Only Opens A Few Inches? (10 Main Reasons)

A garage door opener is a device that almost every modern garage has today. With it, we can open or close our garage door without getting out of the car. However, as these are mechanical devices, malfunctions can easily occur and affect their operation.

One of the problems we can face is that our garage door opens only a few inches and stops. While this may seem serious, it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll explain why this happens and how to solve it. So, let’s start!

What If the Garage Door Only Opens A Few Inches? Usually, the most common reasons why a garage door opens only a few inches are a blocked sensor, defective or broken springs, low batteries on the remote control, or a faulty control board. Another reason that can also cause an opening problem is a low temperature, which leads to shrinking problems.

As garage door openers are used a lot, many things can cause them to malfunction. That’s because they consist of many parts. The cause of the failure is usually mechanical, such as the contraction or expansion of the springs, or things such as a sensor malfunction. In the next chapter, find out what can be the reason why your garage door opens only a few inches.

Here is a table with 10 main reasons why garage door opens only a few inches and stop:

ReasonShort Explanation
1. Something Is Blocking Garage Door SensorsObjects are obstructing the sensors, preventing movement.
2. Broken Connection Due To Power OutageA power disruption has interrupted the garage door’s functionality.
3. Garage Door Track Is Out Of AlignmentThe track is misaligned, hindering the door’s smooth operation.
4. Garage Door Have Defective SpringsDamaged springs can’t support the door properly.
5. Garage Door Remote Has Low Or Dead BatteriesInsufficient battery power in the remote reduces its effectiveness.
6. Issue With BindingThe door’s sections are sticking together or to the frame.
7. Broken Logic Control BoardThe central control unit of the garage door opener is malfunctioning.
8. Problem With Low TemperaturesCold temperatures can affect the door’s mechanisms and movement.
9. Problem With Garage Door ContractionThe door materials contract, usually due to cold, causing operational issues.
10. Broken SpringsSprings, distinct from the earlier “defective” mention, are snapped or non-functional, impeding door movement.
Table: 10 main reasons why garage doors open only a few inches

10 Reasons Why Garage Door Only Opens A Few Inches

Below is an overview of all possible reasons why a garage door opens only a few inches. Read each of them and see which one is related to your problem.

1. Something Is Blocking Garage Door Sensors

Garage Door Sensors Might Be Blocked

One of the most common problems that can cause a garage door to open only a few inches is that something is interfering with the garage door sensors. It can be a small object blocking the entrance or simply a layer of dust and dirt interfering with the sensors.

Find where your garage door sensors are located, look at the area around them, and clean the sensor lens well. After you’re done, try to click the open button again. In most cases, one of those two reasons is the cause of the problem.

It is recommended that you regularly inspect the garage door sensors. They are part of a built-in safety mechanism that prevents the door from hitting something while moving.

2. Broken Connection Due To Power Outage

Power Outage Can Cause Garage Doors To Stop Opening

Perhaps while you were sleeping or out of the house, there was a problem with the electrical grid to which your household is connected and a loss of power. A situation like this can cause your garage door to lose power and create a broken connection, leaving the garage door open only a few inches.

To solve this problem, it is necessary to reset the system. Disconnect the garage door from the electrical grid, wait at least 30 seconds, and reconnect them back on. This simple trick should solve the problem.

3. Garage Door Track Is Out Of Alignment

The garage Door Track Is Out Of Alignment

The problem with the track alignment can also be this issue. The rails on the garage door tracks have possibly warped, preventing the door from opening more than a few inches. Fortunately, there is a simple DIY solution to this situation. Grab a rubber mallet and align the door track rails. Lastly, you can secure them well with a few screws.

Note! Self-solving door track alignment is recommended only if you have experience with similar situations. If you don’t, it’s always better to call a professional for help than to make the problem even bigger.

4. Garage Door Have Defective Springs

Problem With Broken or Defective Springs

It is possible that the garage door will not open more than a few inches if one of the springs in the system is damaged or broken. The garage springs should be checked, and the best way to do this is to disconnect the garage door from the grid and try to open it manually. 

Do it slowly and be very careful. In these situations, you can get hurt if you don’t pay enough attention to safety. If, when opening the door manually, you feel that it moves slowly or that the system offers resistance, there is probably a problem with the broken or defective spring. It is advisable to call an expert for help in such a situation.

5. Garage Door Remote Has Low Or Dead Batteries

Low or Dead Batteries On Garage Door Remote

Low or dead batteries from your garage remote can also cause the problem of why the garage door cannot be opened more than a few inches. As the garage remote needs to send a signal to the receiver, the door will not start to open if the signal is weak.

Therefore, if you face this problem, try replacing the old batteries with new ones. We recommend buying quality batteries so you don’t have to replace them occasionally.

6. Issue With Binding

Garage Door Problem With Travel or Force Limit

One of the possible reasons why your garage door opens only a few inches is that something is binding your door. You can check this by manually opening the garage door. First, disconnect the door from the power, and then try to open your garage door slowly.

If you can’t move the doors even an inch in any direction, you probably have a problem with the travel or force limit setup.

The travel limit represents the range in which the garage door can be opened or closed, while the force limit represents how much force is required to open the doors.

You can find how to adequately adjust the travel and force limit in the instructions that came with the owner’s manual. These instructions can also be found on the manufacturer’s website.

7. Broken Logic Control Board

Problem In the Broken Logic Control Board

If you’ve checked everything we’ve listed above and still have a problem with your garage doors, check the garage door opener. We recommend inspecting the logic control board inside it. It is a part of the garage door opener system that is responsible for controlling the door.

Unfortunately, when problems arise with your logic control board, it usually means that you will need to replace it with a new one, which is expensive. Before buying a new one, try a few more things. Try rebooting the control board. Sometimes, this might help.

8. Problem With Low Temperatures

Problem With Low Temperatures

Garage doors should be regularly maintained to work in all weather conditions. This is especially true during winter months when they are exposed to low temperatures. The best way to prepare your garage door for winter is to apply silicone lubricant to the pulleys, bearings, shuttle, and springs

Also, apply spray solvent for winter maintenance on the rollers, hinges, and track. Before you start lubricating the parts, be sure to clean your garage doors well and check whether all the parts are working as they should. 

Note if the temperature is well below zero, it is recommended that you disconnect your garage door opener from the power and that you open your doors manually. Smart systems often get stuck when it’s very cold, so it’s much better to manually open and close your doors.

9. Problem With Garage Door Contraction

Garage Door Contraction Due To Low Temperature

Metal on your garage doors can easily shrink due to low temperatures, preventing garage doors from opening or closing.

This problem can be prevented by using lubricant. Simply lubricate the spot where you think the door is stuck. These are usually springs or hinges. Doing this will solve the shrinking problem, and your garage doors will function normally.

Regular maintenance is very important because low temperatures during winter can easily affect your garage doors. Check the garage opening system periodically to make sure everything is working.

10. Broken Springs

Broken Spring On Garage Doors

The most important part of every garage door is the springs. As the springs are constantly under load, they are very sensitive and can easily break. Therefore, pay special attention to them.

If you have a broken spring, that can be the reason why your garage doors open only a few inches. To fix this issue, we recommend calling a professional. Replacing an old spring with a new one is a demanding and dangerous job requiring experience.

Considering that you will have to pay for an expert, I believe that you will agree that it is much better to maintain your garage door regularly to avoid situations like this.

Related Article: Why Is Garage Door Opener Blinking? Expert Explain

How To Fix Garage Doors That Won’t Go Up All The Way

If you still have problems with your garage doors, watch this video:

When To Call A Professional?

Garage doors can sometimes have a more complicated problem than it seems. Therefore, contacting a professional to fix your issue is no shame. If you’ve tried everything we’ve listed above and can’t find the cause of your problem, it’s time to use Google and find a local professional. Also, looking for a recommendation for a quality specialist on the manufacturer’s website is always a good option.

FAQ: People Also Ask

Where Do I Get a Replacement Sensor for My Garage Door?

You can obtain replacement sensors from the manufacturer. Yet, installation and calibration might be complex, often necessitating expert assistance.

What Causes the Garage Door to Open and Close Slowly?

Often, the issue is due to insufficient lubrication. Inspect the tracks for any dried-up grease and apply lubricant to the rollers, springs, and hinges to see if it improves the situation. Additionally, cold winter temperatures might be a factor. The metal tracks can contract in colder conditions, resulting in a tighter hold on the rollers affecting the door’s movement.

What Is the Best Lubricant to Use on a Garage Door?

We advise opting for silicone-based lubricants for your garage door upkeep. It’s best to steer clear of products that attract dust and form a dense paste.

Why does my garage door stop closing after a few inches?

Excessive friction might prevent the door from closing properly. While lubricating the springs and rollers can sometimes resolve the issue, there are instances where a full replacement of the springs or rollers becomes necessary.

Final Thoughts

If your garage doors open only a few inches, don’t panic. This is a problem that can appear. The most common reasons for this can be broken springs, faulty logic control boards, low batteries or blocked sensors in the garage remote, track alignment, or binding problems.

Some of these problems have simple solutions that you can easily implement yourself. It’s definitely worth going through the above list and going through each of them separately. However, if you can’t fix the problem by following these steps, call a professional for help.

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