Professional Overhead Door’s

Ultimate Garage Door Repair Guide

Learn how to DIY your garage door repair, and know when to call an overhead door professional technician.

Select Your Issue:

Door Will Not Go Down

Door Will Not Go Up

Door Will Not Consistently Go Up or Down

Broken Cables

Operator Issues

Top Panel Bent in Half

I Dont See My Issue Here

Door Will Not Go Down

If your overhead garage door performs fine on the way up, but does not properly close, here’s a few tips and suggestions for troubleshooting.


When I push the button, the door will go down a couple of inches (or almost all of the way) and then it comes back up again. If I push and hold down the button on the wall in my garage, the door will go all the way, but my remotes and keyless entry only work to open the door.

Possible Issue:

It may be your safety sensors, or photo-eyes, that are preventing the door from going down.

What your safety sensors (photo-eyes) should look like:

The safety eyes should be no higher than 6” from the floor – one on either side of the door opening. Most door opening systems will have an LED light(s) to let you know if they are working properly.

There are many kinds of operator systems and they all have different LED light configurations on their photo-eyes.

Here’s more specific information from the most common overhead doors in West Michigan →

Genie (Overhead Door)

One will have a red and the other will have a green light. If one is blinking or off, it is prohibiting the motor from cycling the door.

Chamberlain (Liftmaster)

An amber light on one, and a green light on another. The green light tells you that the eyes have power, but the missing amber light tells you that the eyes are preventing the motor from cycling the door.


Two lights on one (one green and one red) and a single green light on the other. If the red LED goes off, it senses that there is an obstruction and will prevent the motor from operating. If one of the green LED lights goes off, it does not have power.

Allister (Allstar, Challenger, Quantum, Pro-Drive)

A single light on only one of the sensors. Where the light would be on the other sensor, there is a small rubber plug. If the light is off, it will prevent the operator from working. 

How to Start Troubleshooting

When the door is closed, with the operator detached from the door, you should be able to manually open and close the door with no more than 15 lbs of pressure.

Check for sensor obstructions or misalignments

Sometimes dust, or even cobwebs, can obstruct the lenses of the sensors. Make sure that they are lined up properly and that nothing comes in between them, even when the door comes down.

If something is sticking out on the bottom of the door, it might break the beam of the photo-eye, causing the door to go back up.

Check the wiring

Check the wiring from the sensors themselves to the operator head. Make sure that the wires are not disconnected, exposed, or pinched.

A common breakage point will be at the screw heads or inside a connecting wire nut.

When to call an expert

If you’ve checked your sensors and wiring, your door may have faulty photo-eyes, a faulty circuit board, or both – but it’s hard to tell.

Often, a faulty circuit board will imitate faulty photo-eye symptoms, encouraging homeowners to simply replace the photo-eyes when they need to replace the circuit board, only to have them spend money on both when they only needed on.

Professional Overhead Door has years of experience in knowing how to tell the difference to ensure you’re not wasting time and money on garage door parts you might not need.

Professional Overhead Door Tip

Never detach the door from the operator when the door is up – only when it is on the ground.

Door Will Not Go Up

If your overhead garage door performs fine on the way down, but does not properly open, here’s a few tips and suggestions for troubleshooting.


When I push the button on my remote, or the wall in my garage, I hear a noise from the opener, but it either doesn’t budge or it goes up about 6” but then comes back down again.


Possible Issue:

You might have a broken spring, or your wall button might have the vacation lock engaged.

How to check for broken springs in your overhead door:

The springs are either located about 10” above the door coiled around a shaft (torsion springs) or extend near the horizontal tracks front-to-back (extension springs). Most double-stall doors have two springs (joined in the middle) and most single-stall doors have one spring.

If one of the torsion springs is broken you will see a gap of about 4” somewhere in the spring. This needs to be replaced by a professional. Please do not attempt to do this yourself.

Overhead Door Spring Life Cycles

Depending on the age of your door, and how many times the springs have been replaced, springs should last a minimum of 10 years. If the springs have stenciled letters or numbers on them then it is likely that your springs have already been replaced at least once

Professional Overhead Door only installs doors with springs that will last a minimum of 20 years (springs are usually about 30,000-50,000 cycles) but most other companies install springs with only 10,000 cycles.

We believe that 10,000 is inadequate for most people in our fast-paced society. Most people’s springs will go through 10,000 cycles in 3-4 years.



Professional Overhead Door Tip

Even though you may only have one spring broken, wisdom dictates that you replace both.

They are likely the same size and have the same amount of wear on them, and if you don’t replace both, you will likely find yourself paying for two service calls instead of only one within a few months.

Door Will Not Consistently Go Up Or Down

For when your overhead door won’t go up or down consistently, or at all, here’s a few tips and suggestions for troubleshooting.


The door will go up a little or down a little when I push the button, but although it sounds like the motor is running, the door doesn’t move or if it does move it lurches. After a while the motor stops.



Possible Issue:

You might have a broken gear in your opener.

How your overhead door gears work:

Typically, two gears inside your operator box transfer the power from the motor to the chain or belt. These gears can sometimes go bad when they are put under undo strain. 

Professional Overhead Door Tip

Replacing gears inside your operator box typically costs between $150 – $200. When fixed (and with the door operating as it should) your operator should be as good as new!

Broken Cables

For when your overhead door won’t go up or down consistently, or at all, here’s a few tips and suggestions for troubleshooting.


The door is lifted on one side about an inch or so. On the side that is down, I can see a cable dangling loosely.

Possible Issue:

You might have a broken cable.

However, often what looks like a broken cable is not a broken cable at all but a single spring that has been broken. The broken spring has released cable tension, making it look broken but still intact. Sometimes, the whiplash of a breaking spring will also break the cable.

How to replace a broken cable:

Call a professional to replace the cable. The springs are under high tension and they are extremely dangerous to those who are untrained.

Why do overhead garage door cables break?

In our experience, residential overhead door cables often break because of rust. 

Examine the loop on the bottom of your detached cable – you will most likely see that it is rusted!

Because cables are located near the cold Michigan out-of-doors, but inside a warmed climate, condensation can collect on the cables and drip down to the bottom of the loop. This causes the galvanized cable to rust.

Professional Overhead Door Tip

Replace your rusted cables with stainless steel! This should help protect against another service call in the near future for the same problem. Professional OHD always replaces broken, rusted cables with stainless steel cables.

Operator Issues

For when your overhead door won’t go up or down consistently, or at all, here’s a few tips and suggestions for troubleshooting.


My operator is acting erratically or doesn’t do anything when I push the button, even though it has power.

Possible Issue:

It could potentially be a bad circuit board or a bad starting capacitor.

How to Determine Next Steps

Circuit boards often break due to power surges, and don’t require a direct lightning strike to be damaged.

Circuit Boards

If you think about it, this delicate piece of hardware is connected (usually) to a big metal box which is connected (usually) to a long metal rail which is connected (usually) to an enormous metal door – a sponge for static electricity.

You don’t need a direct strike of lightning to destroy the circuit board on your operator. You will need a professional to make sure you get the right circuit board installed safely.

Starting Capcitors

This is not something that you will want to tackle on your own, as it can be very dangerous. Starting capacitors are usually inexpensive, but do indicate that your operator is older and may need to be replaced soon. Newer operators don’t use capacitors anymore. 

Professional Overhead Door Tip

Broken starting capacitors indicate older operators and could be a sign that the operator should be replaced soon.

Top Panel Of Door Is Bent

For when your overhead door won’t go up or down consistently, or at all, here’s a few tips and suggestions for troubleshooting.


The top panel of my overhead garage door is bent in half and the door doesn’t go up and down properly.

Possible Issue:

A lighter gauge door (25 ga. or lower) with plastic rollers, and no support struts across the door will invariably cause this problem.

How to Determine Next Steps

Several symptoms can cause this, but most simply put, your overhead door system is inadequate for the type of opening and how you use it.

To ensure your overhead door lasts long-term, consider an operator bracket that connects the top two sections of your door, a reinforcement strut, ball-bearing rollers, and/or a reinforced horizontal track.

Professional Overhead Door Tip

If you repair a door with this type of issue, you want to make sure that you don’t just bring it back to its former condition because you will be repairing it again in a few short years!