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There’s nothing quite like getting up to leave in the morning (or, conversely, coming home late at night) only to find that your garage door is sticking, leaving you in the lurch (or out in the cold!). Hopefully, you have an alternate method of getting where you need to go (through a side door, etc.) in the short-term, but you’ll need to identify the problem and find a functional solution before long.

So, if your garage door is sticking and you aren’t sure why, take these simple steps to attempt to identify, and then rectify, the issue at hand.

  1. Determine whether ice is the problem.

Often, when a garage door sticks, it’s simply because a buildup of ice is holding it hostage. This might actually be your best-case scenario, because in most cases, you can simply pour a bucket or two of hot water over the bottom of the door to break through the ice and get things moving again.

  1. Check your remote batteries.

It may surprise you just how many homeowners believe they have major problems with their garage door’s mechanics, when, in actuality, the issue is something as simple as dead batteries in a remote. Garage batteries come in a variety of types, but all of them should be relatively easy to find at any hardware store or big-box retailer.

  1. See if you can open the door by hand.

To attempt to raise your garage door by hand, pull the red-corded rope that turns off its electricity. If you are able to raise the door manually, the issue may be electrical in nature, rather than a problem with the door itself.  First, make sure the opening unit that attaches to your garage ceiling hasn’t come unplugged. If it’s still in place, see if the breaker has blown, and, if so, reset it and try again.

  1. Check the tracks.

If you’ve tried the options outlined above and still haven’t identified or remedied the problem, your issue may have something to do with the garage door track. If your tracks have been bumped or jostled, they might have become misaligned, but don’t despair – this, too, typically has an easy solution. Using a ladder, run your hand along the tracks to see if anything appears out of place or bent. If so, use a wooden block and a hammer to even things out, and while you’re up there, spray a little WD40 on the tracks to keep everything moving smoothly.

Most of the time, a stuck garage door has a simple solution, so try these easy steps in your attempt to get things moving again before calling in the pros for assistance.