What Should I Do if My Garage Door Breaks Over the Winter?

What Should I Do if My Garage Door Breaks Over the Winter?

What Should I Do if My Garage Door Breaks Over the Winter?

You’re in a hurry to get to work one cold March morning. You get into the car and you’re already running late. You push your garage door button, but you hear “thunk, thunk” without the door opening.

Or maybe you don’t hear anything at all and the door is completely unresponsive. You have a meeting downtown in an hour, so you don’t have time to call and wait for emergency garage door repair in Aurora right now.

What should you do?

What to Do When: The Door Seems Frozen Shut

This is a big issue in Southern Ontario. The area is famous for those wet winter storms that lead to ice collecting and freezing at the base of garage doors. This is why we get a lot of calls from people who need us to repair a garage door in Mississauga or anywhere else that got the storm.

You may not need to call in the professionals. In a lot of cases, you can go outside and chip the ice away with a pick, crowbar, or metal shovel. Just be very careful not to chip the exterior’s finish, or damage any of the sealing at the bottom or on the sides.

If you have more time and an extension cord or two, you can use a hairdryer or heat gun to melt the ice away. This is a slower process, but it is easier on the door’s finish.


You may have read somewhere that you can clear the ice away with a bucket of hot water. This method sounds like it should work, but it does not! Save yourself the frustration of doing this and try one of the other two remedies.

What to Do When: The Door Doesn’t Respond at All

This is a disheartening feeling and you always fear the worst. However, there could be a simple and inexpensive solution.

The best-case scenario:

The remote has dead batteries. This is fairly likely, as keeping this remote in a parked car in the winter can drain the batteries. Simply pop in some new batteries (kept inside the warm house) and that could fix your problem.

If you want to avoid this issue, consider getting a Wi-Fi-enabled garage door opener so you can use an app to open and close your garage door. This takes the frozen remote out of the equation.

You should also never keep your remote in your parked car, in the winter or any time of the year. This is a big security risk and garage door remotes are highly coveted by thieves.

The second-best-case-scenario:

It’s also possible that the garage door opener isn’t getting any power because of a blown fuse in the garage.

You may not have noticed because you were in a hurry, but see if you can get power anywhere else in the garage through a light switch or a power outlet.

This happens more than you think and you should never rule it out.

The-not-so-good scenario

You could also have damage to the door or the garage door opener that requires a trained technician. You can visually look at both for any obvious damage or issues, but odds are good you should call your garage door company to inspect things.

You could have a wiring problem or some other issue with the door/ opener. This is best left to the pros.

Sadly, this may mean getting a ride or an Uber to work.

What to Do When: It Starts to Close, But Then Opens Again


This is another very common issue at any time of the year. Your door starts its descent down, but reverses back up.

Most often, this is because the safety sensor at the bottom is picking up something in its path. That sensor is there to make sure your garage door never closes on a child, pet, vehicle, or anything else in its way.

You might have broken some ice or snow off of your door when you opened it, and now it’s lying in front of the sensor. Clear the path out as best you can with a shovel or broom. It’s also possible that the sensor’s “eye” is dirty and that’s causing issues. Give it a quick wipe with a clean and wet cloth.

If this doesn’t work, you should probably call someone to come look at it.

What to Do When: It Starts Behaving Differently


This could mean that you notice your door or opener is making new noises of any sort, or seems to be struggling in any way.

This is time to call a professional and have a tech come out and inspect things. And do it as soon as possible. The longer you let this issue linger, the more expensive the solution may be.

The older your door and your opener are, the more likely it is that you may need to replace either when they start to “act up.” However, it is also possible that the tech can realign or lubricate things into working perfectly again.

Don’t put off repairs because you think they (or a potential replacement door) will be expensive. The longer you wait, the more damage that may be done, and the more likely it is you will need a new door or opener.

Having Garage Door Problems?

We can help! We are proud to be one of the most trusted garage door manufacturers and retailers in Canada, based on our commitment to quality and amazing customer service. See why countless satisfied customers look for the Dodds name.

We have retail stores and provide garage door services in Richmond Hill and the Markham area. You can also find us in Hamilton, Guelph, Oakville, and Newmarket. Want to find a location near you? Call us at 1-877-503-6337.