Troubleshooting Automatic Gate Latch Issues

Driveway gates are a stylish way to make your property safer, but because they often see heavy use and are exposed to the elements, they’re also subject to several potential problems. While automatic gates are highly convenient, they have more parts, which means there are more components that can potentially fail and require maintenance or repair.

Latching issues can affect both manual and automatic driveway gates. In this article, we’ll go over common latching problems and their potential causes.


General Gate Troubleshooting Tips

Regardless of the issue you’re facing, begin by turning off the automatic gate opener. Then, disconnect the swing arm or chain, depending on whether you have a swing or sliding gate. If you can move the gate manually without a problem, chances are the issue isn’t with the gate itself. In this, an electrical issue is likely at fault.

If the gate doesn’t move properly, you’ll need to inspect it. For swing gates, look for obstructions or possible damage to the hinges and gate arm. For sliding gates, check the wheels, track, and chain.

Latch Failure

This problem occurs when the gate won’t latch. It can happen for a number of reasons. The most common ones include the following:

  • The latching mechanism is broken. Although this may seem obvious, it’s important to start any investigation with the latch itself. Driveway gates are exposed to the elements and see heavy use, meaning wear and tear is always a concern.
  • There’s an obstruction. Sliding gates are especially vulnerable to this, as any debris that gets in the gate track can prevent the wheels from moving properly which, in turn, prevents the gate from closing all the way. Though less common, this can happen with swinging gates as well.

  • The gate or gates aren’t aligned properly. A misalignment of the gate, latch, or both can prevent it from closing properly. This is also a problem with double gates. This kind of issue is often the result of hinges becoming worn out and the gate panel sagging.
  • There’s an electrical problem. Although electrical issues will typically cause a gate to simply not open or close at all, in some cases they may manifest as a gate that won’t close all the way, preventing it from latching properly.

Gate Latches But Won’t Lock

Gates that have a magnetic lock may have this issue. The most likely cause of a lock failure is a power supply issue, as magnetic locks work by creating an electromagnetic field that holds the gate closed. If the magnet isn’t receiving power, it can’t hold the gate shut.

Gate Doesn’t Stay Closed

Automatic gates that won’t stay closed or open on their own are a common complaint. This is another problem that can have a number of different causes, including the following:

  • Motherboard failure. This can cause the gate opener to malfunction and activate the gate with no input from you.

  • Mechanical issues. Worn out hinges or a problem with the rail can cause a gate to stay open, especially if these problems are causing latching failures.
  • Lock and/or latch failure. A gate that won’t stay closed can be the first sign of a problem with the latch, the lock, or both.
  • Sensor failures. It may happen that the gate’s sensors are blocked, making the gate behave as if it’s encountering an obstacle.
checking electrical issues with gate system

Electrical Issues

It’s important to highlight that electrical or even electronic problems can cause your gate operator or your gate’s lock to malfunction. Keep in mind that electrical problems aren’t always as dramatic as a gate that won’t open or close. Delays and slow gate movement can sometimes point to an issue with the opener’s battery.

beautiful cantilever gate on a sunny residential property

Your Source for Automatic Gate Repair in Western Canada

At Creative Door Services™, we’re proud to offer a wide selection of gates and operators. Our technicians provide professional installation and maintenance services so your property stays secure. We also offer a full range of garage door services, including installation and planned maintenance. Contact us today at one of our locations in Vancouver, British Columbia; Kelowna, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Fort McMurray, Alberta; Calgary, Alberta; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Regina, Saskatchewan; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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