When your garage door will not open like it should, it can leave you feeling trapped and overwhelmed. After all, the process of buying a home does not involve a class on garage door repair. Still, even if you are not very handy with tools, most homeowners should be able to at least diagnose what is wrong with their garage door if not make repairs.
Modern garage doors are equipped with obstruction sensors to prevent the garage door from closing when your car, other objects, or even people are in the way. If these sensors give a false positive, they can prevent your garage door from closing like it should. Thus, if your garage door opened without issues, but it won't close, check for obstruction sensors and not just for obvious obstructions like snow shovels, but also for a build up of dust on the lenses or spider webs. If you clean your sensors, and they are still not working, they might be out of alignment. Gently move them back and forth until they realign.
The gears in a garage door are made from plastic to make it operate more quietly. On the other hand, the chain that lifts your door is made from metal. Thus, the chain can wear down the plastic gears over time. If your motor sounds like it is running just fine, but the garage door opens a little then stops, then continues opening, then stops, etc., you likely have a problem with the gears in your garage door. Remove the cover around your garage door motor and check inside for plastic shavings to confirm your diagnoses. If you are handy with tools, you should be able to find replacement gears for your motor and repair instructions. If you would rather not monkey around with it, call in the professionals to make repairs.
If your garage door motor is making grinding noises and/or smoking, you have a problem with the motor itself. The repair in this situation is simply to replace the motor. On the other hand, aligning the track and chain so that your door will operate properly is tricky, so this is a job best left to the professionals.
Taking the time to inspect your garage door and determine what the most likely problem is can help you to make repairs in some cases, but it is also valuable information to pass on to your garage door technician so that they can bring the right replacement parts to make repairs to your door.