Troubleshooting a Garage That Won’t Close in Cold Weather

A home with a garage in the winter.
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A home with a garage means a secure and convenient area for parking your car. It allows you to enter and exit your vehicle without the worries of outside weather conditions, especially during the winter months. Very few things can cause more panic and inconvenience, however, than when your garage door is stuck or not opening completely. As old man winter applies his frosty grip, many folks will experience garage door malfunctions caused by the falling temperatures. This post will examine common causes of a stuck garage door during the winter months and what you can do to restore service.

Check the Batteries

Extremely cold temperatures can wreak havoc on batteries and garage door remotes depend on them to operate. It’s an easy check. Switching out the batteries could save you both money and time by facing the fact that you should probably make an appointment to have a service call from a garage door repair professional.

Disengage the Lift Mechanism

A home with a garage in the winter.

Disengaging the garage door from its lift mechanism will allow you to open the door manually. Most garage door openers incorporate a cord with a red handle that attaches to the lift mechanism. Simply pull the cord to disengage the door. Now, try lifting the door by hand. While garage doors can be heavy, you should be able to lift it with minimal effort. If the door binds, sticks, or feels extremely heavy, you may have one of the following problems.

Worn or Broken Springs

Garage door springs are designed to provide a counterweight to assist in lifting the heavy door and to reduce the wear and tear on the motor. Extremely cold temperatures can cause the metal springs to become brittle and break.

Out of Track

Cold temperatures can cause the metal to contract. If this happens, it could cause your garage door to pop off of its tracks. You may be able to pop it back in place to restore service but it usually means scheduling a service call.


A home with a garage in the winter.

Inside temperatures can cause condensation. When your garage doors experience condensation, moisture can become trapped between the panels and freeze, causing your doors to stick. You can try applying some mild heat, like a hairdryer, to melt the ice and free the door.

Frozen Lube

Garage doors require lubrication to ensure its pulley and track system operate smoothly. Cold temperatures can cause the grease to thicken, causing sluggish door operation or failure to open. There are a couple of things you can do here. First, applying more lubricant may soften the existing grease. A can of spray silicone lubricant provides an ideal and convenient way to grease the doors, pulleys, and tracks. You can also apply heat to the affected areas to try and soften the lubricant to free the doors.

Preventive Maintenance

Garage doors and their openers require periodic maintenance to ensure they maintain efficient operation. Keep tracks, pulleys and the lift mechanism clean and free of dirt and other debris. Apply lubricant at least twice a year to maintain smooth operation.

Warning: If you suspect you have worn, broken, or damaged springs, do not attempt to repair them yourself. The springs are under tremendous pressure and can cause serious injury or death if mishandled.