Garage Door Only Closes When Holding Button? [Fix It Now]

Recently, I encountered a strange problem with my garage door: it wouldn’t close unless I held the button down. 

If this happens to you, you might be tempted to ignore it, but that’s not a good idea because the problem will only worsen. 

It’s best to find out what the issue is…and quickly. 

The problem usually lies with the sensors. If the sensor is dirty, blocked, or defective, it can lead to a faulty door mechanism. Alternatively, there could be loose wires or issues with the garage door opener’s circuit board. 

So how do you fix a garage door opener that only closes when holding the button?

Before you call a professional garage door repairman, there could be a simple explanation. Often they’re easy to fix and won’t cost you a ton of money. 

Here are some reasons your garage door only closes when you hold the button.

The Garage Door Track, Rollers, or Hinges

An easy place to check is the garage door mechanism itself. If the rollers are damaged, they may interfere with the door’s opening and closing. 

How To Fix It

Clearing obstructions and lubricating the door’s moving parts usually fixes the issue. I have a five-minute tutorial on lubricating your garage door that will walk you through how to do it. 

Faulty Garage Door Sensor

All garage door openers have sensors to ensure nothing is blocking the door’s path. These sensors are a safety feature and will stop the garage door from closing or opening if something is in the way. 

These sensors are mandatory in most states, and you should be able to find them 6-inches or so above the ground on both sides of the garage door. The photoelectric sensors use an infrared beam to detect anything that might be in the way of the garage door, like pets, cars, boxes, and other objects.

When one of these sensors is scratched, damaged, or out of alignment, it won’t be able to function correctly. That sometimes causes you to need to hold the button to close the garage door until it is fixed.

How To Fix It

To find out if there is a problem with the garage door sensor, examine each sensor closely. Look for damage, such as nicks or scratches. If you find any, you have two options.:

  • You can try to get the scratches out using a scratch remover and a microfiber cloth. 
  • If the damage is too severe, you may need to swap it out with a new sensor from the manufacturer or a universal garage door sensor. 

The Garage Door Sensors Are Blocked

Blocked garage door sensors can be another culprit when your garage doors don’t close properly. 

Garage door sensor

When you examine the garage door sensors, look for any dirt, grime, or dust that might be blocking the sensors from seeing the beam from the garage door opener. That may cause the sensor to fail intermittently, so it needs to be fixed immediately. 

How To Fix It

To fix this issue, check if anything is blocking the sensors. This means any dirt, dust, or grime stuck on the sensors obstructing their view. 

Remove any small dirt or debris, and use a microfiber cloth and lens spray to clean the sensors. 

The Garage Door Sensors Are Out Of Alignment

The sensors on each side of your garage door work together to detect any obstructions in the door’s path. They can only do that when they are properly aligned. 

They need to be aligned at the same height, facing each other, or they will need to be adjusted. It’s possible to temporarily bypass your garage door sensors, but you’ll want to get this fixed as soon as possible. 

How To Fix It

When your sensors are out of alignment, check to ensure the sensors are at the same height. A pro tip is to use a laser level to align them. The beam should point to the same spot on both sensors. 

Once the sensors are properly aligned, test the doors one last time. Usually, this does the trick. Often the sensors were aligned correctly when the garage door was installed but have shifted over time. 

A Faulty Lock-Out Button

Some garage door openers have a lock-out button as an additional safety measure. So after you have checked the sensors, it may be a faulty lock-out button. 

The lock-out button is usually found on the garage door opener’s wall control unit. When engaged, it will keep the garage door from closing the way it should. 

How To Fix It

You will need to locate and deactivate the lock-out button to fix this issue. 

Unfortunately, not all garage doors work with the same mechanism and controls. It’s best to review your model’s manual or phone the manufacturer so they can help you deactivate the lock-out button. 

A technician might need to repair or replace it if it is damaged.   

Garage Door Stop Limit

Next, we’ll check the stop limit on the garage door. If incorrectly configured, it could mistakenly stop the door from closing. 

How To Fix The Garage Door Closing Limit

Each manufacturer has different processes to adjust the garage door’s stop limit. Some configure this on the garage door opener, while others have a physical device on the door’s track. Consult the manufacturer as to the correct procedure for your equipment. 

Garage door opener wall control button
Garage door opener wall control button

Wiring Problems

Although not as common, faulty wiring could cause the garage door opener to malfunction. 

Thankfully this is a simple fix. If you see any loose wires or wires that are sticking out of the motor or sensors, you’ll need to reattach them.

How To Fix It

If you have experience with electric wires, you can reattach the loose wiring. However, if unsure, you may need to hire an electrician to sort out the problem. 

A Defective Garage Door Opener

If you have tried everything else, the problem might be with the garage door opener. 

How To Fix It

Unfortunately, replacing a garage door opener is better than repairing it. 


There are many reasons why your garage door will only close if you hold down the button. Most issues have to do with the sensors, but you may also need to look at the wiring, the garage door opener, or the lock-out button. 

All these issues can cause your garage door to malfunction, and you should take care of it before the problem worsens. 

Still having an issue? Check out my most popular questions when fixing your garage door opener!

Photo of author

Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.