You probably don’t think about your garage door often. When your garage gives you trouble, however, it’s probably all that you can think about.
Your garage door provides you with many benefits. It keeps the things in your garage safe and your home looking nice. More importantly, it’s an alternative entrance to your home.
More than likely, you use your garage often. For this reason, it experiences continual wear and tears. In time, this heavy use can affect its performance.
To learn more about the usual suspects when your garage door is broken, keep reading.
1. Jerky Garage Door Operation
Your garage door should operate smoothly. However, you might notice an unnerving jerky motion.
Whenever you attempt to open or close your garage door, it may behave erratically. This symptom is a common issue.
Typically, the culprit is the door extension spring. Alternatively, one of the garage tracks may have become misshapen.
You could also have trouble with your garage door rollers. Furthermore, the problem could originate with the garage door motor.
In some instances, it’s difficult to pin down why a garage door has a jerky motion when opening. In this case, you’ll need to call in an expert service person for the repair.
2. Garage Door Falling Too Fast
Sometimes, your garage door may close too fast. You’ll find that it careens down, then stops with an unsettling thump.
You’ll notice if you have this problem. The door will close much faster than what you’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
If your garage door closes too quickly, it’s possible that you have a broken spring. The spring supports the full weight of the garage door. If the spring is broken, it may cause the door to fall fast.
When your garage door closes too quickly, it poses a considerable safety risk. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a service person repair it right away.
3. Broken Garage Door Cables
Now and then, the cables on the garage door break. It’s important to know the difference between a broken cable and one that looks broken. In some cases, you may learn that the cables are just loose—more on that topic in a moment.
Either way, cables that are strewn in all directions can indicate broken garage door cables. You’ll know for sure that the cables are broken if they fall to the ground and become completely disconnected from the garage door.
The cables can even get caught in between the garage door and the jamb. This kind of malfunction happens rarely—but it does happen.
4. Garage Door Will Not Open
One day, you may find that you cannot open your garage door no matter how hard you try. You tug on the garage door several times. Still, it won’t lift.
Next, you might try pulling the emergency release rope. Still, no luck. You still cannot lift the garage door.
In this instance, you most likely have a broken spring. The counterbalance spring helps to lift the garage door. If it’s broken, your garage door will feel like dead weight.
5. Loose Cables
It’s easy to make the error of believing you have broken cables when they’re only loose. Broken torsion cables can make it look like your cables have snapped.
In this instance, you may find that the cables have slack or are loose. If so, the torsion spring cannot function correctly.
The tight winding of torsion springs enables them to perform their function. This characteristic also helps to keep the cables in place.
If the torsion spring breaks, it will start to unwind. Next, your cables will slip out of place or develop slack.
6. Your Garage Door Feels Heavy
In yet another common occurrence, you might notice that your garage door opens, but it feels heavy. You’ll have difficulty opening the door. Alternatively, you may find that the garage door is slow.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s likely that the extension springs are broken. The extension springs support the weight of the entire door.
If an extension spring breaks, you’ll have a problem. Again, your door will feel like dead weight.
7. The Door Won’t Open All the Way
On occasion, you may have a problem opening your garage door all the way. When this happens, the garage door will typically open about six inches.
Again, the torsion springs come into play with this kind of problem. For instance, your torsion springs might not function correctly. If so, you’ll most certainly have a hard time opening your garage door completely.
On occasion, however, the torsion springs aren’t the culprit when this kind of problem arises. Sometimes, the garage safety system gets triggered.
You’ll need to check the garage safety system to see if this is the case. If you still haven’t found the problem, you’ll need to call for professional help.
8. The Torsion Spring Has a Gap
Usually, a garage has either one or two torsion springs. Again, torsion springs are tightly wound.
When they break, they’ll unwind. In some instances, you may see a visible gap where the spring has broken.
If so, it’s a good idea to call a garage door repair person immediately. Torsion springs are dangerous. It’s important to know how to work with them correctly.
If you try to replace them yourself, you could make the problem worse. You could even face a serious injury.
9. Why Is My Garage Door Crooked?
Nobody wants a crooked garage door. When the door won’t open, it makes the front of your home look horrible.
A garage door is supposed to beautify your home. Yet, this is a common problem with broken garage doors.
Typically, a garage door will become crooked if one of the extension springs breaks. The extension springs work to pull the weight of the garage door, each operating independently. If one of the springs breaks, it will cause your garage door to misalign.
It’s important to fix a crooked garage door as soon as possible. If not, the door could get stuck in the tracks—resulting in an even more costly repair.
10. A Loud, Banging Garage Door
The final garage door culprit is a loud banging noise when you open your garage door. Typically, this happens when one of the torsion springs breaks.
Torsion springs store a massive amount of potential energy. When they break, they release that energy in a matter of seconds.
Resultantly, a torsion spring makes a very loud bang when it releases its energy. The noise can prove quite startling.
In many cases, you can’t open your garage door after this happens. The best thing to do is to call a professional repair person to fix the problem right away.
Basic Maintenance for Your Garage Door
If you give your garage door some TLC, you can extend the life of the parts that help your garage to function correctly. With this in mind, you should give your garage a quick checkup every few months.
With the garage door open, you can begin by checking the metal tracks on your door. Make sure that they’re clean and free of debris.
Also, check the mounting brackets that hold the tracks in the walls. Make sure that you don’t see any loose brackets. If so, tighten up the screws to the brackets.
Now, close your garage door. Check the tracks for crimps, dents, and flat spots.
If you see any, you’ll need to bang them out with a mallet, hammer, or block of wood. If the tracks are badly damaged, you’ll need to have them replaced.
Now, you need to make sure that the tracks are properly aligned. Check the tracks with a level.
You may have a garage door with horizontal tracks. If so, they should slant slightly down toward the rear of the garage.
Alternatively, you may have a roll-up garage door. If so, make sure that the vertical sections of the track are perfectly plum. Also, make sure that the tracks are the same height on each side.
In some instances, you may find that the tracks are not aligned properly. In this case, loosen the screws slightly, but do not remove them. Now, tap the brackets into the correct position.
Next, recheck the tracks with the level. Make sure that they’re mounted in the right position. Once they are, you can retighten the screws.
Keeping Things Running Smoothly
You also want to keep your garage door tracks clean. You can wipe the tracks clean with a concentrated household cleaner. The household cleaner should suffice to remove any dirt or hardened grease.
It’s also important to clean the rollers thoroughly. After cleaning the rollers and the tracks, make sure that they’re dry. Wipe them down well to ensure that there’s no cleaning solution left on the surface.
Finally, check around for loose hardware. Tighten up anything that’s not secured properly.
If you have a swing-up door, check the plates for the spring mounts. Make sure that all the screws are tight.
If you have a roll-up door, check the hinges that hold the door sections together. Again, tighten any loose screws. If needed, replace any damaged hinges.
In some cases, you may find enlarged screw holes. If so, you can replace the screw with a longer screw of the same diameter. You’ll also want to use a hollow fiber plug dipped in the carpenter’s glue around the new screw.
Going From Manual to Motorized
A garage door is one of the most convenient gadgets you can have in your home. However, a garage door with an opener is even more convenient.
In most cases, it’s safer to hire a professional to install your garage door opener. A garage door weighs hundreds of pounds. If you don’t know how to install it correctly, again, you could seriously injure yourself.
Here’s what installing a garage door entails.
You’ll need to install the automatic garage door mechanism at the center of the door. Accordingly, you’ll need to mark the center location.
Use a tape measure to figure out the width of the garage door. You’ll make the halfway mark at the center of the measurement.
Now, open and close your garage door. As you do this, note its top point of travel.
Now, mark the location. You’ll need to mount the door opener with the rail higher than the top point of travel of the garage door.
Next, observe the area directly above the garage door vertical to the dividing line. This area must have enough support to attach the front end of the rail. If not, you’ll need to build the support.
Now, attach the rail to the motor unit as it rests on the garage floor. The garage door opener instructions will show you how to do this part of the job.
Raise the motor assembly to the point where the rail is horizontal or parallel to the door track. Finally, you’ll need to make any needed adjustments so that the door works properly.
DIY Garage Repair Versus Hiring a Pro When Your Garage Door Is Broken
A broken garage door can prove frustrating. However, ignoring the problem usually isn’t an option.
A garage door is the heaviest moving part of your home. If you have a problem with your garage door, you can hire a professional or fix it yourself.
You could save money by doing your own garage door repair. You may also learn something in the process.
However, a garage door is extremely heavy. Typically, a garage door might weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. If something goes wrong, you could suffer severe physical injuries.
Furthermore, garage door parts are very dangerous. Working with them requires expertise and skill.
Finally, most homeowners don’t have all the tools and equipment needed to repair a garage door safely. For this reason, it’s most often better to save time and energy by hiring a professional garage door service person.
Trust Us to Get Your Garage Door in Tip Top Shape!
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