What's the connection?

When our 2008 Outback (75K miles) is running the garage door remote in the car will not open or close the door. New batteries in the remote, so that can’t be the cause. We have to turn the car motor off, operate the remote, then start the car again. We have to follow the same procedure when getting back into the garage. This just started about a month ago and does not happen with any of the other cars in the garage when opening or closing the same door, i.e. the remotes operate with their motors running. Is it possible there is some new electrical discharge from the car that is causing this? Something unusual with the alternator? Other possible causes?

Yes, it is likely that the electrical noise emitted from the car interferes with the remote door opener. Since you didn’t say the radio in the car is loaded with static, too, it is probably no worse than any other Outback.

Did this problem just start? Did you recently replace the bulbs in your opener OR your garage with LED bulbs or CFL’s?

Both LED’s and CFL’s can create electrical noise, especially LED’s, that can shorten the range of your remote. Add the electrical interference from the car to that mix and your opener no longer works. It happened to me when I replaced the 2 bulbs in my opener with LED’s. I had to get out of the car and get near the door before the remote would work. Swapped in the old Edison style bulbs and it now works fine. Let us know if any of this helps.

Have you swapped remotes from the other cars to this one ?
does the same thing happen ?
If the outback is running, can a person in car # 2 use, or not use their remote ?

What brand and model garage door opener do you have?

Did you program a remote opener on the vehicle? Maybe it is a safety option on the vehicle it won’t let you close the door with the engine running to prevent exhaust gas buildup. Did you disconnect or get a new battery recently that might have set some default codes?

The problem doesn’t occur if I use the remotes from the other vehicles. It’s a Linear opener. As indicated, the problem started about a month ago and the light bulbs in the opener, while CFLs, have been in there for several months prior to this. I’ll try some of the suggestions about switching them out, just in the off chance that will help. I suppose it’s possible that the opener itself has developed a glitch, independent of the new batteries. Thanks all for the feedback.

Get the manual for the opener and follow the procedure to get the opener to learn the remote code. Reset the opener with the car running. Good luck finding the manual. There’s always a catch.

Interesting. I like the CFL LED theory, having just discovered that there are no more standard 100 watt bulbs for my garage anymore. At some point I will need to switch to something else and I dislike CFLs because ot the mercury contamination. When these get to be widely used in the house I wonder if it will affect wireless decvices like phones, WIFI, networked smoke detectors, baby monitors, etc?

@Bing I have CFL’s in my house and my wifi works, but the range is short. I don’t have evidence that it is caused by EMI from the CFL’s. I used the LED’s from the opener in my trouble light and one inside in a lamp with no issues. The 2 LED’s in my garage opener really screwed up the remote and I could turn it on and off by installing and removing the bulbs.

Maybe because the antenna for the opener and the lights are very near each other.

I have a bag full of 100 watt bulbs. not for sale…

@wesw–I am saving all my burned out incandescent bulbs and am working on a way to put in new filaments to replace the burned out filaments. (I’m also working on a way to replace the bristles on my toothbrush so I won’t have to buy a replacement).

I still don’t think the problem @jdmere is having has anything to do with the CFL bulbs. I would bet that the engine on the 2008 Outback is generating a signal from the ignition system that blocks the signal from the garage door opener. The fact that the garage door opener works with the CFL bulbs when the engine is off would suggest that it isn’t the CFL bulbs.

Radio frequency signals do strange things. At the church I attend, the amplifier for the sound system is in the pulpit. Also in the pulpit is a receiver for the wireless lapel microphones. We were getting a bad hum through the speakers when we installed the wireless microphone system. Everyone was saying that the hum was being caused by the transmitter for the wireless system. However, a lay reader went up to the pulpit and was not wearing the lapel microphone and the hum was really loud. I finally figured out that when a person got too close to the receiver for the wireless microphones, a hum was generated. The transmitters for the wireless lapel microphones could be off. When a person got too close to the receiver, it would produce the hum. The solution was simple–I turned down the sensitivity control on the receiver and boosted the gain from the receiver on the amplifier and there has been no more hum problem. My guess is that the receiver was picking up a signal from a person’s battery operated wrist watch.

@triedaq, if you can find an old mom and pop hardware store you may get lucky and score some bulbs.
pretty soon I ll be able to get some pot from the store, but have to find a bulb dealer on the down low

@wesw–A big problem for me is that the T-12 4 foot fluorescent tubes are no longer being manufactured. We have about 100 fixtures in the church I attend and each fixture has 4 fluorescent tubes. I have two choices–convert the fixtures for T-8 bulbs which means replacing the ballast coil and the end contacts that hold the bulbs or replace the tubes with the LED tubes that are now on the market that replace the 4 foot T-12 bulbs that are now on the market for about $30 apiece. This would cost $120 a fixture to replace the bulbs. It would also involve bypassing the ballast coil which is not needed for LED tubes. I have purchased a couple of boxes of T-12 tubes and hope I can make it until the price of LED tubes comes down.

I can see the day when the dogs at customs will be sniffing for light bulbs instead of drugs.

good luck. that s what I m doing with my bag of bulbs, waiting til LED prices and selection improve. I can t stand fluorescent lighting or that they have mercury that won t be disposed of safely.

your church is in a tough spot. maybe you can find an out of the way place with a few more boxes to hold you over

LEDs generate no RFI by themselves, any more than an incandescent bulb would. I think it’s more likely the ignition system on the car or possibly one of the multiple computers is interfering with the remote. It may also be worth getting checking the grounds near the battery and having the alternator tested for AC ripple.

@Bing: Customs isn’t sniffing for light bulbs yet, but people have long been going to Canada to get toilets that aren’t “low-flow” and there is quite the trade trafficking in Refrigerant-12 and R22 (Freons) since they are no longer manufactured in the US.

Good morning - I know that lightbulbs were part of the OP’s theory about the problem, but I think the discussion is starting to drift to being just about the bulbs. Could you please redirect the subject back to something car-related? Thanks! I don’t want to close it in case the OP comes back.

it s easier to work on my car when my drop light has a bright 100 w incandescent bulb in it :slight_smile:

I’m inclining toward a problem with the remote. I doubt the problem can be bulbs because 1) the remote won’t work properly when first trying to open the door while the bulb is not even illuminated and 2) the CFLs have been in for almost a year and this problem just started a month ago.