Garage Door Won't Open In Cold Weather

Are you stuck outside in the cold weather, messing with a garage door that won’t open? Considering garage doors rely on metal components, cold weather and metal usually don’t mix. What ends up happening is many of the key components for operating your garage door have seized up due to weather in one way or another.

There’s five solid reasons why your garage door won’t open, and cold weather may have largely contributed to it. Let’s take a look at those five reasons and what you can do to fix it. So step into the warmth of your home and learn something new.

Why Isn’t My Garage Door Opening in Cold Weather?

The reasons your garage door won’t open vary greatly from extreme to minor. Something like a broken torsion spring is extreme; hardened grease is minor in comparison. However, chances are good that it’s something minor and easily rectified.

Reasons #1: A broken torsion spring

The reason your garage door won’t open in cold weather may not be connected to weather in any way. Instead, it could be linked to a broken garage door spring; otherwise known as a torsion spring. It’s integral to the operation of the garage door.

Important: As a homeowner, realizing that you need to waste another Saturday waiting for the landlord or handyman to come over to fix another damaged appliance is frustrating. It shouldn't feel like the norm to constantly have damaged appliances and systems in your home since it can come to a huge cost at the end of each year.

The Home Improvement Solutions eBook covers everything you need to do in your home when it comes to maintenance and improvement so you can avoid wasting another weekend waiting for someone to come to your rescue.  

Enter your garage and look above the garage door. See the metal bar spanning the length of the door? Depending on the garage door model you own, there will be one or two very large black springs. That’s the torsion spring(s).

When the garage door is opened or closed, the energy stored in the torsion springs is released into the system. Without the springs, garage doors have a harder time opening, perhaps refusing to open at all—and in some cases, sagging to one side. Fixing the torsion spring is out of the question. Instead, you’d have to replace it. It just so happens we have a guide for that if you’re comfortable replacing the torsion spring yourself. If not, have a professional do the job.

Reasons #2: Insufficient lubrication on metal contracts

A system that composes of metal can do poorly in cold weather. This is because metal contracts when it’s exposed to colder weather, among other materials. Notice how it’s harder to open a bottle that came straight out of the fridge? The lid has contracted, creating a tighter seal.

In order to prevent this from happening, metal loves being slathered by some kind of lubrication like WD-40, preferably a silicone-based lubrication like WD-40’s silicone spray (View on Amazon). It keeps the joints and contracts sliding against one another by, essentially, making the system slippering. When you have silicone lubrication, you’ll want to spray:

  • Springs
  • Hinges
  • Rollers
  • Joints
  • Garage tracks

With everything having a nice coating of silicone lubrication, your garage door should have no problem operating normally.

Reasons #3: Grease has hardened

On the other end of the spectrum, grease may have hardened. It’s not uncommon for professionals to use grease. Unfortunately, grease doesn’t do well in cold weather and hardens as a response to it. And when it does, it can create mounds of hardened grease that the garage door rollers roll over and, as a result, get knocked off the track.

After you’ve checked for any out of place garage door rollers, it’s time to clean the mess. In order to remove the old, hardened grease, you’ll need a grease solvent like CRC’s Brakleen brake cleaner (View on Amazon), a hard bristled toothbrush, silicone based lubrication, and some elbow grease—pun intended.

1. Apply grease solvent to any and all grease buildup you find. Target the garage door track, the rollers, and hinges especially. Those are hot zones for grease buildup.

2. While wearing gloves, use your hard bristled toothbrush to scrub away the old grease. Not only will it scrub the crud away, it will be an excellent tool for reaching small cracks and whatnot.

3. Wipe up the old grease and grease solvent.

4. Apply silicone based lubrication to the springs, hinges, rollers, joints, and the garage track.

Reasons #4: A broken or misaligned garage door track and rollers

One of the most integral parts of a garage door is, arguably, the track itself. It’s the main reason your garage door doesn’t rise and fall in strange angles—with the help of the rollers on the sides, of course. If the track itself is broken or misaligned, it can prevent the garage door from closing, opening or, in extreme cases, it can pop the rollers out of place.

The first thing you can do is examine the track itself. A garage door track is made of really pliable metal that can easily be knocked out of shape just bumping into it. Even weather can warp the tracks. Unfortunately, tracks are typically placed in sections. You’ll notice the lining where each track ends and the new one begins. If bent out of shape, the rollers traveling from one track to the next may be halted.

To fix a misaligned garage door track, a door track straightener (View on Amazon) is your best friend. All you do is stick the end of the tool into the garage door track and slide it down while tapping on the end of the tool to assist in straightening. That’s all there is to it.

But what if it’s the rollers themselves? That’s where it gets a little more complicated. If the rollers or hinges are broken, they need to be replaced. We’ve got a guide for that, too!

Reasons #5: The weatherseal is frozen to the ground

Have you ever noticed the rubber lining along the bottom of the garage door? That’s weather stripping. Naturally, it does a really good job of keeping water from entering your garage by creating a seal when the garage door is closed.

Unfortunately, cold weather causes water to freeze. What happens is snow builds up along the bottom of the garage door, freezes, causing the weather stripping to freeze to the ice. You can guess where this is going. In turn, the garage door can become stuck or worse, the weatherseal can be ripped off entirely.

The most you can do is keep snow and water away from the garage door as much as possible. Ice melt (View on Amazon) is your best friend here. At the same time, examine the environment to ensure you aren’t yanking the weatherseal from ice.

You Need to Know This About Your Garage Door!

If you’re noticing problems with your garage door, you need to know what’s causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the garage door repaired or replaced. Having a working garage door is crucial for any home, and fixing it is just one form of home improvement, but there are many more.

If you want to save $100s on Home Repair, learn the most important home maintenance and home improvement procedures, and increase the value of your home, you can download our Home Improvement Solutions book now. With it, you’ll learn about a wide range of home maintenance and improvement topics, and you’ll be able to make your home a better place to live in. There are also a bunch of tips in there that’ll save you loads of time and money when it comes to repairs, DIY, and general home hacks that you can’t find anywhere else.

Whether you are a new homeowner, have owned a home for years, renting, or just love home repair and improvement topics, our guide will give you an in-depth explanation of many everyday home maintenance procedures. A lot of our readers use this book to increase the value of their homes, and they’ve saved a lot of money on things like repair that would have cost a professional handyman $100s of dollars.

Bottom Line

It just goes to show that a garage door needs a bit more maintenance than one would initially think, especially when it comes to the colder weather. Grease can harden, the weatherseal can be ripped away or the metal contracts can seize. Make a habit to check everything is in working order before you decide to press the garage door clicker.