10 Common Reasons for Residential Driveway Gate Breakdowns

If your residential gate suddenly stops working, it can be a major source of frustration. Fortunately, many gate issues can be remedied quickly or avoided altogether. Here are 10 common causes of driveway gate breakdowns and some tips for dealing with them. If you’re not sure why your gate keeps breaking down, give us a call or submit a service request and one of our technicians will be happy to inspect the situation and assist you with your automatic gate needs.

snowy driveway with a neglected run down gate


1) Cold weather

Very cold weather can make the metal components of your gate contract. This may cause the gate to operate less smoothly or get jammed. To avoid this problem, keep up with your gate maintenance during winter. In particular, be sure to lubricate the gate regularly using a product designed for lower temperatures. Otherwise, the grease will get thick and dense in the cold weather, which will only add to the problem.

Ice and snow buildup are another potential problem. If you have a sliding gate, keep the track free of ice and snow so that the gate can move freely. If you have a swing gate, shovel any snow that is in the gate’s path. Additionally, ensure that ice or snow isn’t blocking the photo-eye sensors.

2.) Stormy weather

Lightening can damage a gate’s electrical components when it strikes the gate or strikes a structure nearby and causes a power surge. To prevent this, it’s important to have a gate operator with surge and lightening protection.

The LiftMaster CSW24U and CSL24U, for example, have industrial surge and lightening protection for strikes of up to 50 feet away.

Additionally, high winds, hail, and fallen trees can sometimes damage a gate’s parts or components, such as the photo-eye sensors out of position. Whether it’s how to protect your new gate from storm damage or how to open your automatic gate during a power outage we’ve got you covered with our guide to summer storms!

3.) Obstructions

If your driveway gate won’t budge, it may simply be because there’s something in the way. If you have a sliding gate, check whether there are sticks, rocks, or other items obstructing the track. Additionally, make sure there isn’t anything blocking the photo-eye sensors such as dirt, spider webs, or moisture. You should also ensure that the sensors are lined up with one another.

open metal sliding gates with tracks visible

4.) Gate hardware issues

Loose or damaged hardware can prevent a gate from sliding smoothly. Items such as hinges, latches, swing arms, and chains should be inspected regularly to ensure that they aren’t loose, rusty, dirty, or damaged.

5.) Wear and tear

Automatic gates get a lot of use and are constantly exposed to the elements. However, regular upkeep can go a long way in extending the lifespan of your gate’s components. Periodic inspections by a professional make a big difference, too. A Creative Door Servicesgate technician can identify and fix problems while they’re still small, which help prevent sudden breakdowns.

6.) Vermin or insects

Sometimes pests decide to make their home in control boxes and photo-eye sensors — especially in winter. Hornets, spiders, mice, and other insects and animals can end up damaging electrical components, which can result in a breakdown. To avoid this, regularly inspect the housing of your operator and sensors.

7.) Electrical failure

Automatic gates have sophisticated electrical systems that can sometimes fail. Issues can arise with the wiring or accessories such as the photo-eye sensors or keypads. The best way to prevent electrical failure is to have your gate operator regularly serviced by a professional.

In some cases, resetting the power on your gate operator can remedy an electrical problem. It’s worth doing a simple reset and trying your gate again afterward before calling in a gate technician.

8.) Loss of power supply

Power surges and outages can cause the gate’s breaker to turn off. If your gate operator is down, the first thing you should do is check the position of the corresponding breaker switch.

brick and metal residential gate open

9.) “Hold open” function

Is your gate stuck in the open position? Many gate models have a “hold open” feature that, until switched off, will keep the gate in the open position. Check to see whether this function has been activated. If multiple users can control this feature on your gate, it’s possible that one of your family members turned it on by mistake.

10.) Poor installation

Installing an automatic residential gate is complex. If someone other than a qualified professional installs it, the gate may face a number of issues. If it was a DIY gate installation or you didn’t hire a reputable company, it’s a good idea to call in a qualified professional to inspect and fix your gate system.

Count On Us for Comprehensive Gate Services in Western Canada

If you’re having problems with your automatic gate, reach out to the dedicated team at Creative Door Services™. Our technicians can fix your driveway gate and ensure that it’s performing optimally. We also carry and install customized residential gate systems if you’re due for a replacement or upgrade. For more information about our gate services, contact us at one of our locations near you in Vancouver, British Columbia; Kelowna, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta, Fort McMurray, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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